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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.
City: Glendale Heights
Office sought: Marquardt District 15 School Board (4-year Terms)
Family: Married, to Constance Barreras with two children, Bradley and Victoria
Occupation: Leadership, Information Technology
Education: University of Southern California - Los Angeles, California
Civic involvement: Marquardt School District 15, Pancreatic Cancer Action Network, Glenbard East High School Citizen Advisory Council, Glendale Heights Youth Athletics
Elected offices held: Marquardt School District 15 Board Member, 2002 to Current
Have you ever been arrested for or convicted of a crime? If yes, please explain: No
Key Issue 1
The boards? first and primary responsibility is to meet and exceed our client's expectations of educational growth and equity for all students that we service. We must continue to do this through creativity in the identification, development and implementation of the most beneficial program for our students while continuing to enhance are existing portfolio of services. Core, early childhood, special needs, enrichment and summer program to name some. This will always remain a focus in an attempt to supply each student the foundation and the tools to be successful in their continuing education and in life in this highly competitive world they are sent into.
Key Issue 2
The safety of our children and staff continues to loom on everyone's mind. Insuring the most appropriate facilities, technologies, staff and student training is installed and maintained on an ongoing basis. This is an area of constant change and requires the appropriate resources to be current and fresh. Continued Review, refinement and enhancement through collaboration with other community organizations and public services are instrumental to the overall success. This will produce the use of best practices, shared resources and the type of coordination that will help preempt and advert any current and future threats to our students and educators.
Key Issue 3
Innovative and conscientious financial stewardship of community resources through the continuing economic pressures of the times of diminishing revenue sources, increasing expenses and unfunded mandated programs. While these issues are not unique to school organizations, it does impact a very precious resource. The children that represent this countries future. Give these children the inspiration, opportunity and the tools and you provide our country with the passion, innovation and capabilities for success. Identifying alternative revenue sources, aquiring more for the same or less and yes, removing waste when and where identified. Financial health brings with it opportunity and flexibility. While removing expense alone may help districts to survive another day it limits and potentially eliminates the opportunity for those students during their time in the sun.
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?
Referencing and summarizing the State's Common Core's mission statement, providing consistency in what students are to learn, setting expectations for teachers and parents in order for them to help, making them relevant in today's world for the students and insuring future success in the global economy. I believe in the philosophy with continued collaboration with the school communities. A common set of metrics is needed to measure progress across a state. The focus must be on each child's individual growth. While the metrics should be used for the identification for areas of opportunity, methods and awareness. Program must continue maintain the flexibility to be adjusted in real time to meet the needs of the diverse student populations to whom we service. I believe the boards responsibility is to provide its administration and educators the resources and the support to be heard in the forums that develop and will interpret the results of the standards. The board should achieve this by insuring that a superintendent is put into place to create an agile organization of leaders and professionals that are capable of strengthening the delivery of the core standards while enriching the content of the supporting curriculum.
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?
Our district and the team are never satisfied, but proud of the strides that the team has made over time. Ongoing change will be determined through the metrics we collect on each student, evaluation of the organization, parent surveys and mandated changes. There are no sweeping changes that should be made at this time. Each change will be identified and given careful consideration based on the anticipated impact it will derive. The administration and staff continue to identify some exiting opportunities for the future that will be communicated as they are further developed.
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 school district is in a healthy state as audited and reported in the annual report and attaining recognition for financial excellence. However, revenues and expenses are continually monitored closely along with any newly mandated and/or unfunded programs that may appear unexpectedly. There is no need for a tax rate increase at this time due to the support of the community and it's residents. However, if it were in the best interest of the students I would support reaching out to the community if it were necessary. This would be with the premise of insuring the most effective use of current funding had been enacted while clearly articulating the application of newly requested funds and the intended results.
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?
It depends on the current state of the district and the benefits it provides. In the spirit of partnership and common goals I do believe districts should ask for concessions if they are needed for sustained financial health and they are discussed in a collaborative manner. I believe through my experience that addressing such a question through an interest-based approach as opposed to a positional based approach has yielded far more effective and desirable results. However, it does provide a level of organizational maturity. As long as each party is striving to work in the best interests of who they represent , there is an understanding of what resources are available and clearly what is attempting to be accomplished for the future this approach should produce a favorable outcome.
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?
I would not support a substantial increase for the pure mechanics of it due to current pension issues on the table. However, if the individual has demonstrated through their performance and a direct and positive impact to the district by producing sustainable benefits from those actions, then yes. A district that is addressing compensation in a timely and appropriate manner would have little reason for a substantial increase. It is important to recognize a total compensation approach when looking to attain quality educational leaders.