Miriam (Mimi) Cooper Spickard: Candidate Profile
Northwest High School District 214 School Board (4-year Terms)
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Miriam (Mimi) Cooper Spickard, running for Northwest High School District 214 School Board (4-year Terms)
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: Arlington Heights
Website: Candidate did not respond.
Office sought: Northwest High School District 214 School Board (4-year Terms)
Family: Married, one daughter
Education: Bachelor of Arts Juris Doctor
Civic involvement: Board Member, Township High School District 214 Governing Board Member, Northwest Suburban Bar Association Trustee, Community Education
Elected offices held: Board Member, Township High School District 214
Have you ever been arrested for or convicted of a crime? If yes, please explain: No
Key Issue 1
The most important issue is to provide students with high quality, excellent education. At District 214, we strive to offer multiple learning opportunities to engage students in furtherance of their high school education. This includes a comprehensive curriculum that will help prepare students for post-high school education and careers. I never want to sit back and rest on past educational successes, I believe you must always try to do better.
Key Issue 2
The 214 Board is committed to offering educational possibilities in the most financially prudent manner. We insist on a balanced operating budget, and constantly look for ways to educate our students and keep costs down. We owe that to our students and the community. Also, given the financial condition of the State of Illinois and the pension issue, we may be pressed to address a cost shifting from the State to the District.
Key Issue 3
Given recent events, safety of staff and students is always an important concern. When people enter our buildings, it is our responsibility to have safety measures in place.
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?
As a board member, I do not design nor set the curriculum. We have education experts who do so. I do have to make certain that our curriculum is aligned with common core standards. Common core standards provide a method for high educational benchmarks. I believe that my role is to be aware of trends in and best practices in education. Our students already perform academically above the national and state levels.
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?
I am satisfied with the educational progress in our district. That being said, we must always try to do better. We offer many pathways to engage our students in the classroom with our rigorous curriculum, service learning and multiple opportunities for certification in different fields. I do not anticipate any major changes to the curriculum, but we must be on constant vigil for what will help students loan, grow and prepare them for the next steps that they may take.
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?
District 214 is in sound financial condition. I have been on the Board for 23 years, and we have not had a referendum during my tenure. We have made a balanced operating budget as one of our goals, and we maintain that goal. We do so with our planned, controlled cost-cutting measures, such as insurance changes, even in the light of decreasing revenues from our sources. On the horizon, we see the possibility of pension reform which may directly impact us, and we have to be prepared to deal with that challenge.
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?
I have been active in contract negotiations in past years. At this juncture, we know that all facets of our contracts are likely to be examined and may be negotiated. We work hard at collaborating and maintaing our relationships with our employee groups, and look forward to continuing to do so.
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 do not believe that we should support a substantial increase to enhance an employee's pension boost.
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