Penny Kazmier: Candidate Profile
Barrington Unit District 220 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: South Barrington
Website: Candidate did not respond.
Office sought: Barrington Unit District 220 School Board (4-year Terms)
Family: Married, four children.
Education: Candidate did not respond.
• Current District 220 School Board Member, VP
• Chairperson - District 220 PTO Presidents' Council 2003-2005
• Vice Chair-person – Projects District 220 Educational Foundation 2002-2005; Accomplishments include:
"Beyond 220"- Adult Community Education Program, Star Lab—portable planetarium, "Helping Hand" & "Opportunities for Excellence" Grant development
• Chairperson, "Protect Our Investment In Education" referendum committee 2003-2004
• District 220 Advisory Committees: Middle School Advisory Committee , Middle School Focus Group, Community Leaders Committee, District 220 Strategic Plan Advisory Committee
• Grove Avenue School: School Improvement Team
• Barrington Middle School – Prairie: School Improvement Team
• Citizens Alliance 220 (CA 220): Education Committee Member
• St. Michael's Episcopal Church: Board Member, Co-Chairperson, Capital Fundraising, Co-Chairperson, Annual Stewardship Campaign
• Little Angels Christian Preschool: School Board Member, Bylaw Review Committee,
• Barbara B. Rose Elementary School PTO: President 2000 – 2003, 1st Vice President – Fundraising, School Board Representative, Budget planning, By-Law Creation & Review Committees, Membership & Nominating, Webmaster
• BMS – Prairie Campus PTO: 1st Vice President, 2nd Vice President, Staff "Wish List" Committee Chairperson, Membership & Nominating Committee, Bylaw Review Committee
• Grove Elementary School PTO: Vice President, Carnival Co-Chairperson, Secretary, Buildings & Grounds Chairperson, Bylaws Review Committee Member, "Wish List" Committee Member
• Barrington High School PTO: Welcoming Committee Co-Chairperson, School Board Representative
• Parent & Child Education Society (PACES): Vice President, Finance Committee Member, Ronald McDonald House Representative
Elected offices held: CUSD 220 Board Member 2005-2013, VP for last six years
Have you ever been arrested for or convicted of a crime? If yes, please explain: NO
Key Issue 1
I believe one of the most important issues before the board and community is to protect and maintain our excellent schools. I see this as a high priority for the entire community, whether or not we have children attending our schools. The benefit of excellent schools extends far beyond an individual classroom and into our community as it is the number one reason people chose to purchase real estate in the area. This can only be accomplished through careful budgeting and planning, along with continual monitoring of programs for effectiveness.
Key Issue 2
I believe the more community members engaged in district happenings the better and I am in complete support of the upcoming community engagement committees being established to review and provide input on a number of Strategic planning related topics. Issues such as changing the school calendar to allow high school students to take mid-term exams prior to winter break should not be decided without significant community input, as such change impacts more than just BHS families, but those of other levels, along with park districts and organizations like BASA, BYB/SB and Barrington Youth Football. Future topics to be studied may also include BHS start times and all day kindergarten options and how these changes might impact the rest of the community. I am part of the board committee that designed the Barrington 220 Enrollment Monitoring Committee. The EMC brought together a group of over 30 community members to evaluate and make recommendations to the board regarding the redrawing of elementary school boundaries a number of years ago. While some may not have been happy with the final committee recommendation, there was overwhelming support for the community based process. My hope is that future engagement committees will be worthy of similar support and respect within the Barrington 220 community.
Key Issue 3
I also believe protecting the investment the community has made in our district facilities is also a priority. Within the past fifteen years the community has approved millions of dollars to build and update district buildings. We need to maintain all of our buildings in order to protect this significant investment. Providing safe and adequate district facilities is also necessary for a proper educational environment. As a member of the Facilities Committee, I am aware of the expense involved in maintaining our buildings. The district spends hundreds of thousands of dollars on roof repairs every year, along with many other maintenance items not easily visible to the community. It is important to continue this ongoing and proactive maintenance, as repairs made later always lead to more expense and disruption.
How do you think District 220 has handled budgetary pressures in recent years? Amid the uncertainties of outside funding sources, are there ways the district could be more in control of its own destiny?
I am committed to a balanced budget and believe District 220 has handled recent budgetary pressures fairly well. I have participated in the annual budget planning process during the last eight years and am proud of the conservative approach taken to building the district budget. Under the boards leadership the district has experienced savings in expenses including, but not limited to, energy, food service and transportation through careful contract negotiations and changes in daily practices. In addition, the board annually reviews and prioritizes district spending to ensure precious community tax dollars are being allocated properly. It is this conservative and thoughtful planning that has allowed the district to maintain the majority of its excellent educational and extracurricular programs, in spite of the need for recent budget reductions. The best thing the board can do to maintain control of its destiny is to continue budgeting conservatively. Recent budgets have not included the expectation of full government funding of the past for many programs, and in some cases has actually budgeted a decline. The board keeps itself well informed about possible changes in state and Federal funding and has budgeted accordingly. I believe the board should stay its course and continue its commitment to balanced budgets through careful planning.
How should the district balance the providing of unique programs or classes with being fiscally conservative?
The district should balance providing unique programs and manageable class sizes while being fiscally conservative by carefully evaluating the effectiveness and demand for all programs. One of the attributes of District 220 that attracts many to our community is the breadth and depth of our educational, cultural, and extracurricular programs. The district ability to offer more than basic core programs is what makes it unique. The high participation in our exceptional BHS Fine Art program, BHS TV, or pre-engineering Project Lead the Way engineering program at the high school level are examples of programs that are not considered "core" educational programs by many, but provide an opportunity for students to have unique first hand experiences outside of the "core" classroom. It is these opportunities that address the "whole" student and not only the reading, writing, and math side of education. At the middle and elementary level the district offers the highly sought after Spanish Dual Language, Hough and "pull-out" extended, and Chinese Immersion programs, along with other unique interventions and opportunities to students. This also includes the outdoor education program at the fifth grade level along with numerous clubs and sports. I believe it is the fiscally responsible board that weighs the value of each and every program when planning its budget and determines the value, both economically and educationally, to each to the participants and community as a whole.
How would you define the ideal working relationship between a school board and its administrators and teachers? To what degree does your school district represent this relationship now?
The ideal working relationship between the board and administration is one of balance. The boards roll is to make policies that enable the administration to make every day decisions. The board also approves the budget and makes decisions regarding resource allocations. The board has one employee, the superintendent, and is repeatedly cautioned by the Illinois Association of School Boards to not be on the dance floor with the administration and staff. I believe our board does a pretty good job of maintaining a good balance of staff and board rolls. However, I do believe it is important for board members to properly question daily school events in order to be fully informed and educated.
Do you see a present need for redrawing the school boundaries? If so, explain where the need is and how you would go about it. If no at present, will there be a need in the future?
I do not see a current need to redraw individual school boundaries, with the exception of perhaps the middle school boundaries within the Rose attendance area in order to provide a more even number of students to attend each middle school. This has been a request of parents for a number of years. I believe when the board agrees to look at any future boundary changes the current community based Enrollment Boundary Committee should be used.
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 common core standards is admirable and one that will require a great deal of support for staff as changes are made. I do not believe the board should be part of designing curriculum, but do believe we should recognize the need for possible additional resources and changes in current practice. District 220 has always held itself to a high standard where curriculum is concerned and I have confidence this will continue during the move to common core. I do believe providing education to the community will serve helpful during this time of change since we will not only see changes in the delivery of education, but also testing. It is important for everyone involved to have a thorough understanding of what is happening.
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