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updated: 2/22/2013 6:37 PM

Juliann Pearson: Candidate Profile

West Chicago District 33 School Board (4-year Terms) (Republican)

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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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BioKey IssuesQ&A

 

Bio

City: Winfield

Website: Candidate did not respond.

Office sought: West Chicago District 33 School Board (4-year Terms)

Age: 54

Family: Divorced, one child

Occupation: Business Owner

Education: Candidate did not respond.

Civic involvement: Involved in numerous community organizations from Kiwanis,Lions Club, Rotary, Breaking Free, Suicide Prevention, Cancer Awareness, Autism Society and numerous education foundations

Elected offices held: West Chicago School Board of Education 2009-2013

Have you ever been arrested for or convicted of a crime? If yes, please explain: no

Candidate's Key Issues

Key Issue 1

Providing our students with the best possible education they can receive through quality teaching and programs

Key Issue 2

Fiscal responsibility

Key Issue 3

Continuing to create a positive image of the West Chicago school districts (both 33 and 94) and our community.

Questions & Answers

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, I feel, is the best approach in the educational field to date. By this form of measurement we are able to track a student's progress and address the needs immediately to take care of any issues with that student before it becomes a "problem" that cannot be taken care or is too late to address. By tracking the student from year to year we are able to not only help in areas of weakness, but also recognize and challenge the areas that are a student's strengths. The role of the board in this is to support our administrative team who have done the research, attended the training and are implementing the standards into the classroom. We should be fully aware at all times as to what is taking place in the school and classroom, so we understand what the teacher and student are experiencing. The Board also needs to be able to answer questions from the community as this new, innovative approach is rolled out. The future of our childrens' success is key and the common core standards plays a very large part in this.

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?

With our district being pre-K though 8, our goal at all times is to insure that we are preparing our students to go from one grade level to the next. Not only in academics, but we also need to address the emotional and social aspect of their lives to better prepare them for what the future holds. We have a great many programs to address all areas from the Common Core Standards to Sports and the Arts. This allows our students to grow not only in the academic area, but to help them grow to the best of their ability in all life has to offer. We also address the needs of the student/families that cannot financially afford to do so. While I wish we could do more I know we need to also be ever conscious of our financial responsibility to the community.

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?

As a school board our job is to look out for the best interest of the students, the community and the district as a whole. This is a job/position that I take very seriously and I try to do what is in the best interest of the district, students and community members. Our biggest problem that we face is the economic conditions in the State of Illinois which in turn effects our district. The state has cut much needed funding of all of our programs with little or no notice. The state does not inform us that they are not going to pay until after we have spent the money on the programs, programs which are mandated by the state. Without the funds coming in from the state we have to find other ways to pay for these programs and expenses, even going to the extreme of taking from our fund balance. I feel that cutting programs is our last resort. We look at where we can cut expenses first without any major impact on the education of the children. No one wants to see cuts in any area but we need to stay financially stable as more and more funding is taken away from us. A tax increase is something that no one wants to see as our taxes are high enough. The Board and administration has done a great job of running very lean across the entire district and will continue to do so. If cuts are needed, the administrative team takes them first and then looks to the rest of our bargaining groups to see where they can give.

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, as a district, need to work together in the tough economy we are living in. All bargaining groups along with the administrative team need to make concessions where necessary to keep the district financially sound while still providing a quality education for our children.

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, I would not support any inflated increase to boost benefits. All staff members have been compensated very fairly throughout their career in District 33.

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