Note: Answers provided have not been edited for grammar, misspellings or typos. In some instances, candidate claims that could not be immediately verified have been omitted.
Office sought: Wheaton Warrenville District 200 School Board (4-year Terms)
Family: Married to Ken for nearly 38 years. Our son, Mark, is a graduate of Wheaton Warrenville South High School, Hubble Middle School, and Wiesbrook Elementary School.
Occupation: Newly retired! Prior occupations include Development Management for non-profit organizations, Information Technology Consulting and Recruitment, and Information Technology Management for a major energy company (staff of 13, budget $7M)
Education: B.S., Mathematics/Computer Science, University of Illinois
Civic involvement: ? Member, Board of Directors, United Way of the DuPage Area (2004-2008) Milton Township Republican Central Committeeman (2000-2010) Board Member, Arrowhead Homeowners? Association (2000-2005); President, Arrowhead East Homeowners' Association (1994-2000) Board Member (past Chair), NorthStar Credit Union, a full-service financial institution with assets over $60M (1987-2005) Member, Wheaton Chapter of Infant Welfare Society of Chicago (2000-present); Board Member and Publicity Chair (2001-2003) Active participant in St. Daniel the Prophet Parish (inception to present) Roles have included: Lector, Renew 2000 Presenter and Facilitator, Religious Education Instructor, Member of Liturgy Committee, and Choir Member.
Elected offices held: Board of Education Member, CUSD 200, 2001-present
Have you ever been arrested for or convicted of a crime? If yes, please explain: No
Key Issue 1
Keep District 200 moving forward by improving student learning.
Key Issue 2
Provide value to our taxpayers and a high-quality education to current and future students by maintaining financial stability.
Key Issue 3
Provide our students safe, secure, and appropriate learning environments.
What do you think about the shift to the common core standards? How big a role do you think the board of education should play in setting the curriculum for students and what ideas do you have for changes to the current curriculum?
The shift to the common core standards will have a very positive effect on student learning in District 200. Unlike previous Illinois state standards, common core standards were developed and aligned from Kindergarten through 12th grade with college and career readiness in mind. District 200 standards in math exceed the common core, and language arts standards (under development) are expected to exceed common core also. The Board's role is to understand, review, seek community feedback, and approve standards and curriculum that satisfy the District's mission.
How satisfied are you that your district is preparing students for the next stage in their lives, whether it be from elementary into high school or high school into college or full-time employment? What changes, if any, do you think need to be made?
Based on my family's experience, testimonials I have received from students and their parents, and survey data, I am confident that we prepare students well. By any measure one could choose, we are doing a good job. Evidence includes test scores, numerous awards, participation in the arts and activities, and the quality of colleges and universities our students attend and successfully complete. Nevertheless, there is always room for improvement. Our mission, as developed through extensive surveys and conversations with the community, is: to inspire, challenge and educate all students to reach their highest level of learning and personal development. To fulfill our mission we must continue many things we have begun, such as: integration of technology into the curriculum; implementation of the common core curriculum as scheduled; increased offerings and participation in AP courses; improvements in our college and career counseling services, and continual improvement in teaching strategies at all levels. In addition, we need to ensure that all of our students are able to thrive within safe, secure and appropriate learning environments. Specifically, the Jefferson Early Childhood Center, the transition house, and other issues deemed critical in our facilities plan need to be addressed. Finally, a comprehensive study of our foreign language program should be conducted to determine if it is meeting the needs of our current students.
What budget issues will your district have to confront and what measures do you support to address them? If you believe cuts are necessary, what programs and expenses should be reduced or eliminated? On the income side, do you support any tax increases?
The State's fiscal situation remains a concern. Therefore, we are prepared within our five-year financial plan to take on a gradual pension cost shift to the District and to react to minor changes in overall State funding without needing to cut programs or asking for an increase in allowable tax rates. Assuming very little growth in new construction and stability in enrollment patterns, we expect, at most, an increase in taxes at the rate of the CPI.
As contract talks come up with various school employee groups, do you believe the district should ask for concessions from its employees, expect employee costs to stay about the same as they are now or provide increases in pay or benefits?
We recently negotiated a 3-year contract with our major employee group, the Wheaton Warrenville Education Association. Thus we have three years of very predictable salaries, with increases tied closely to the CPI. We continue to monitor and contain the growth in benefits expenses through the competitive bidding process and an emphasis on preventative care. Future contract negotiations should be predicated on providing what the community expects at a reasonable cost.
If your district had a superintendent or other administrator nearing retirement, would you support a substantial increase in his or her pay to help boost pension benefits? Why or why not?
As part of the most recent collective bargaining agreement, I voted to remove pre-retirement benefits of this nature from all D200 employment contracts to relieve the burden of such increases on the state's pension obligation. This practice was an historical perk offered as a bonus for many years of work at low pay. I believe it no longer applies.