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updated: 2/22/2013 6:28 PM

James Poskozim: Candidate Profile

Des Plaines Elementary District 62 School Board (4-year Terms) (Independent)

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  • James Poskozim, running for Des Plaines Elementary District 62 School Board (4-year Terms)

    James Poskozim, running for Des Plaines Elementary District 62 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.

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BioKey IssuesQ&A



City: Des Plaines

Website: Candidate did not respond.

Office sought: Des Plaines Elementary District 62 School Board (4-year Terms)

Age: 63

Family: Married for more than 40 years Father of 2 Grandfather of 2

Occupation: Attorney

Education: BS Electrical Engineering University of Illinois at Champaign/Urbana, 1972 JurisDoctor IIT/Chicago-Kent College of Law, 1979

Civic involvement: Des Plaines resident for more than 30 years Family and Personal contacts within the community

Elected offices held: This is the only office elected by the public I have been Chairman of First Northern Credit Union, elected by the members of that organization for more than 5 years.

Have you ever been arrested for or convicted of a crime? If yes, please explain: None other than Traffic stops

Candidate's Key Issues

Key Issue 1

Maintaining the Long Term Fiscal Integrity of the District. We are fortunate to be in better fiscal condition than many of our neighboring School Districts because we have consistently worried about the future. But continuing pressure and the potential cost shifting from the State to Local Government continues to be a concern and requires on-going efforts.

Key Issue 2

Educational Performance There have been many Legislated changes in recent years that will affect how and what we teach, and how we measure performance against goals. As we implement these requirements we must continue to focus all of our efforts on what actually works for our children. Making sure that each child reaches his or her full potential is why we exist.

Key Issue 3

Recognizing and dealing effectively with diversity Des Plaines is an extremely diverse community in every sense of the word, and this is a great strength, not at all a weakness. By focusing on each child's needs, we can continue to decrease any gaps in performance the disadvantaged or ELL groups may have when they enter our schools.

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?

I support a curriculum that focuses on the needs our children will have in the future. Our District has actually been preparing for this shift for a number of years and will be prepared to work within the new requirements. That said, we must make sure that we address the needs of our local residents, and that can best be done by people who live and work in the local community. It really is up to us to make sure that the needs of our own children are met.

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 believe our District is ahead of the curve. As stated above, we got a jump on thinking about and dealing with common core standards, as well as on implementation of measures intended to improve the performance of teachers through meaningful assessment of performance. Dr. Westerhold has been recognized as Superintendent of the year by a statewide organization, and this was only achieved because of the efforts of the entire district and all of its personnel; and the fact that all of us remain committed to doing what is best for each child within our care.

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?

We still don't know what the Illinois Legislature is going to do about Pension Reform, changes in Property Tax Law and many other potentially disastrous issues. Fortunately we are not as bad off as many of our surrounding communities, but fiscal constraint is and will continue to be an ongoing concern.

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 believe the benchmark for compensation of public employees should be what comparable jobs in the private sector pay. Benchmarking performance and pay should be objective and decisions made based on data, not belief.

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?

See my answer to the previous question. Whether dealing with the Superintendent, Teachers or Staff, the measure should be the same. Decisions regarding compensation should be based on what the Data shows, and be applied to any individual based upon a fair and accurate assessment of their performance .