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updated: 2/22/2013 6:37 PM

Vincent Engstrom: Candidate Profile

Benjamin District 25 School Board (4-year Terms) (Independent)

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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



City: Carol Stream

Website: Candidate did not respond.

Office sought: Benjamin District 25 School Board (4-year Terms)

Age: 41

Family: Married, two children

Occupation: Engineer

Education: BA Applied Behavioral Science, National Louis University

Civic involvement: Civic responsibility has been important to me. While I have not affiliated myself with any specific groups the idea of giving back to our community is a belief I hold and hope to pass on to my children. My family has participated in many small ways over the years from preparing dishes of food for a local PADS shelter, collect food donations for food drives, or helping to collect funds for various charities.

Elected offices held: Candidate did not respond.

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

Candidate's Key Issues

Key Issue 1

Benjamin District 25 has a history of providing educational excellence. We need to provide the district with safe schools staffed by quality educators so that the students of today continue to achieve the fullest measure of their potential.

Key Issue 2

Maintaining fiscal responsibility by utilizing taxpayer money in the most efficient means possible while continuing to provide the high level of academic excellence our community expects.

Key Issue 3

In an ever increasing technical world our students need ever greater exposure to technology. The earlier and more frequent this becomes the greater the potential impact on their education. We need to make certain that students have access to available technology.

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?

We need to provide a benchmark that allows us to gauge performance and excellence against a common standard. The risk is that we lose out on a balanced and flexible educational system if lesson plans are steered too heavily to standardized tests.

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?

As a former student and longtime resident within the Benjamin school district, it has excellent history in preparing our students for the challenges ahead by providing a solid educational foundation. Going forward we need to continue the expectation for excellence as the district prepares the students for the challenges they faced ahead.

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?

Many of the financial concerns facing our district are the same issues facing many our surrounding communities. As enrollment appears to be on a continuing downward slope we risk being overstaffed or a rising cost per student. We also face uncertainty in regards to the future of funding available through the state of Illinois. I hope the appropriate staffing levels are sustainable through attrition and not through any required actions. The board and the district have been using funds responsibly however, as community and state economics change we may be forced into difficult decisions. Additional tax burdens to the community should be the last resort.

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?

Any employee negotiation is dependent upon the current economic climate and market. We should allow the existing market and economic conditions set the tone for needed concessions or benefit increases. Balance is required to fulfill responsibilities to the public while maximizing talent attraction and retention.

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?

The practice of increasing a salary with the sole intent of boosting pension benefits places an undue burden on the tax payers. I do not believe that artificially increasing pay before retirement is a proper practice for any profession as individuals should be paid for their work consistent with market demands and the value they bring to their profession. These increases threaten the security of the system and place undue burdens on the taxpayers.