Jeffrey Spero: Candidate Profile
Maine Township High School District 207 School Board (4-year Terms)
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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: Des Plaines
Website: Candidate did not respond.
Office sought: Maine Township High School District 207 School Board (4-year Terms)
Family: Married, three children (2 students currently enrolled in Maine West)
Occupation: CPA; Operations Manager
Education: BS-Accounting, Jacksonville University, 1990 MBA-Tax Concentration, University of Notre Dame, 1991
Civic involvement: Treasurer, Immanauel Lutheran Des Plaines (since 2007) Member, D207 Community Advisory Council (since 2010)
Elected offices held: None
Have you ever been arrested for or convicted of a crime? If yes, please explain: No
Key Issue 1
Creating an environment free of hazing and bullying
Key Issue 2
Challenging our leaders and teachers to find the most cost effective and high achievement oriented teaching methods
Key Issue 3
Maintaining vigilance against future fiscal crises
What, specifically, can the school board do to prevent hazing at its schools?
Hazing occurs when any party that is capable of intervening in the situation does not do the right thing immediately. Administrators, faculty, staff, parents, AND students all play a part. We must take immediate steps to reinforce the concepts of right and wrong so that no one gets mixed signals. It must be clear that condones such an activity bears just as much responsibility as those that are directly alleged to be involved.
Would you ever support deficit spending in a District 207 budget? How can the district keep its finances healthy going forward?
Deficit spending may be necessary, but should only occur when ther is complete transparency on the conditions creating the deficit spending. Additional discussion should also take place to make everyone understands the reasons for the short-term deficit spending while also setting aggressive timelines for a return to surplus budgets.
Should the district tie teacher salary increases to CPI?
I am not in favor of tying teacher salaries to arbitrary indices like CPI. Teacher salaries, like any job in today's marketplace, should be a reflection of their achievement, their value in the market, and the employer's ability to pay. When times are tough, salaries may need to be suppressed. It's really up to the board and the unions to maintain a balance between salaries and the fiscal well-being of the district.
Discuss the health clinic at Maine East. Are you satisfied with how it is working? Should the idea be expanded to West or South?
I think the Maine East clinic idea has had some positive impact on the community and the student body. However, before we determine that it should be expanded to other Maine Township schools, the concept should be studied further. My concern is that the school may start slipping into areas that are out its core competency, eventually detracting from resources required to educate the student body.
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?
I believe the common core standards are a necessary step to help evaluate all schools around the country in a baseline fashion. However, I refuse to accept that D207 should ever aspire to being anything less than the highest achieving school district in Illinois. Today's college requirements and the global job market require us to challenge these students every single day. With respect to setting the curriculum, I believe that teachers are best equipped to lead the discussion on the types and methods of curriculum to be delivered. However, the board must be heavily involved in vetting those recommendations. The curriculum must balance high achievement and cost effectiveness.
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