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updated: 2/22/2013 6:28 PM

Zeev Walny: Candidate Profile

East Maine District 63 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.

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BioKey IssuesQ&A



City: Morton Grove

Website: Candidate did not respond.

Office sought: East Maine District 63 School Board (4-year Terms)

Age: 34

Family: Married, three children

Occupation: Principal Consultant, Ignyte Strategic Solutions, Inc.

Education: Masters in Health Administration, Tulane University, 2004 Bachelors in Kinesiology, University of Illinois at Chicago, 2001.

Civic involvement: I have been a volunteer coach for the Niles North CEC basketball team. I was also a Junior Board member for the Gift of Adoption Fund.

Elected offices held: N/a

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

Candidate's Key Issues

Key Issue 1

Making sure that the schools in the district run efficiently, effectively, and to the benefit of all students and teachers.

Key Issue 2

To be proactive in making sure our students are safe and secure in their schools while getting the best education possible.

Key Issue 3

Making sure that the taxpayers are getting the most "bang for their buck," and ensuring fiscal responsibility.

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?

The shift to common core standards allows for a clear, direct path for parents, teachers, and students to team together and work towards educational success. The board of education should play a role in making sure that the standards are met in the same way across every school in their jurisdiction, but should leave the major teaching decisions to the educators who have much better insight and knowledge into what their students learn.

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?

So far, East Maine District 63 is doing a very good job preparing their students for the next level of education. However, there are always improvements that can be made. The most important thing that needs to be done is to improve communication between teachers, parents, and administrators, especially during transitional years (elementary to junior high, junior high to high school.) This will allow for smoother transitions, increase the engagement between current and future students/parents and school staff, and give everyone a stronger foundation with which to work. The more a student is engaged, both personally and peripherally, the more interested and focused they are in their education, more completely preparing them for their future.

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?

With continual rising fixed costs as well as, the need for significant infrastructure improvements at all schools in the district, there continues to be a need for a better balance between income and expenditures. Without proper research and a deeper knowledge of every upcoming issue, guessing at what programs and expenses should be reduced or eliminated would simply be conjecture. As for tax increases, I can't support any until I'm sure that there are no other options for increasing revenue. Tax increases should be the final measure in revenue increases and only after a careful look at all budgetary measures, making sure all redundancies and unnecessary expenditures have already been trimmed. Ideally, no essential programs should be reduced or eliminated and the budget should be balanced without an increase in taxes.

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?

The district needs to engage in good faith negotiations with its employee groups, making sure that all parties feel like they've come away with a fair agreement for both sides. Going into a negotiation with preconceived notions and intents not only goes against the ideals of a good faith negotiation, but sabotages the entire process before it even starts.

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 superintendent or administrator needs to be paid at the same rate as others working under the same general circumstances. To simply boost pay to increase pension benefits wouldn't be fiscally responsible nor fair to teachers, other administrators, and taxpayers.