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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.
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Office sought: DuPage District 45 School Board (4-year Terms)
Family: Widower, one child, three grandchildren
Occupation: Director of Finance, Regional Office of Education, DuPage County
Education: Bachelor of Science in Accounting, Walton School of Commerce ( 1965 )
Civic involvement: Currently--Treasurer-Villa Park Rotary Club, 2nd Vice President-Lombard Citizens Police Academy Alumni Association, Member- Finance Committee, Village of Lombard, Member- District 45 Foundation for Excellence in Education, Illinois Parent Teacher Association, Lifetime Member, Chairman of the Board, West Suburban Association. Past President Illinois Association of School Boards,Member Illinois Association of School Business Officials.
Elected offices held: Board of Education Member Villa Park/Lombard School District 45 ( 1979-2001 ), President of the Board of Education ( 1981-1995 )
Have you ever been arrested for or convicted of a crime? If yes, please explain: No
Key Issue 1
Pension Reform--Unless there is a resolution to this problem educational funding and it's impact on school district budgets will not be known. The state because of a lack of funds is behind on it's payments to school districts, the credit rating of the state has been downgraded which means the cost of borrowing will increase and pension reform could bring a shifting of costs from the state to local districts along with higher rates.
Key Issue 2
School Safety--We must review current practices measured against the highest safety standards. I feel that more practice lockdowns should be required along with a a discussion of the rules to be followed by both students and staff. For example, during a lockdown drill school room doors should be locked, during passing periods students should never open a door to let an adult or another student into the building and school doors should never be propped open. Schools should be a safe haven for both students and staff.
Key Issue 3
Unfunded Mandates/Mandated Categoricals--The state legislature continues to pass bills that are not adequately funded or are exempted from the mandates act. I've listed a few examples. Special Education which is funded by both the state and the federal government is well below the costs incurred by the district. These important services which are mandated should be funded at the levels that are required by both the state and the federal government. Transportation is another mandate that is never funded at 100% and is constantly being prorated.
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?
Certainly Boards of Education need to be aware and ask the right questions. Ultimately the goal of any educational system is continuous improvement. The Common Core State Standards, a mandate, are intended to give our students the knowledge and skills to be successful in high school and college and ultimately become productive members of society. School districts hire a superintendent and other administrators who are the experts in the field of education to facilitate these changes.
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?
Currently meetings are held on a regular basis with administrators from the elementary districts and the high school district to insure that students are prepared to meet the expectations of the high school staff. In addition, meetings are also held with department heads at the middle schools and high school to discuss curricular issues in various content areas. As I said in the previous question the goal of any education system is continuous improvement. With the articulation I mentioned above I feel we are and we will continue to strive to make sure every student can be successful through college or full time employment.
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?
I believe the financial issues in the state will cause a review of the allocation of assets. A pension reform bill that shifts the cost from the state to the district could be a major problem. A review of cuts already made and a list of other potential areas that could be cut should be completed and then reviewed based on the impact to students. A tax increase, if we mean a levy increase, I would support especially if the state continues to be behind on payments to the district. When it comes to a tax rate increase ( referendum ) I would evaluate the cuts that have been made, future cuts to be made and state and federal funding before I would go to the taxpayers.
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?
The district has recently settled three year contracts with the teaching staff, custodial and maintenance staff. When it comes time to negotiate a new agreement with both groups a review of the district finances, the finances of the state and any other critical issues should determine whether the district should ask for concessions, keep things the same or allow an increase in benefits and pay. If conditions were the same as they are today a concession or asking them to stay the same would be appropriate.
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?
No. The district has not supported retirement bumps in the past. We have to be accountable to the taxpayers in how we spend the money that they have provided us with to educate the students in the district. This is not a proper way to spend those funds.