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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: Mt. Prospect
Website: Candidate did not respond.
Office sought: River Trails District 26 School Board (4-year Terms)
Family: Married to George Nemcek 2 children (Brock 8 years, Sabrina 5 years)
Occupation: Candidate did not respond.
Education: Bachelor's Degree - Illinois State University - Middle School Education Master's Degree - National Louis University - Educational Leadership Library Media Certification - Northern Illinois University
Civic involvement: Euclid School PTC President - 3 years
Elected offices held: Candidate did not respond.
Have you ever been arrested for or convicted of a crime? If yes, please explain: No
Key Issue 1
I strongly feel that it is important that parents of children currently attending District 26 are active in the district. Having parents on the BOE makes the board more visible and in touch with what is going on in the schools. As taxpayers we are conscious of keeping any tax increases to a minimum, but as active parents we are in touch with what is needed to keep our high performing schools growing. We need to figure out a way to open the lines of communication and encourage active participation.
Key Issue 2
The District 26 community needs to come together and support one another as a family. We are fortunate to have a small district with such a diverse population. We need to embrace our diversity, celebrate what makes us different and unite as a community to keep all of our children safe and achieving. We need to build open, honest and trusting relationships. If the trust is there then any obstacle put before the district will be able to be conquered in a civilized and fair way.
Key Issue 3
We need to stay fiscally responsible. The district has worked hard to cut extra spending. This needs to continue. We are facing an uncertain future in regards to teachers pensions. The next contract negotiations are certain to be challenging and we must keep in mind that our number one priority is the students' education and safety. We are going to have to work together and possibly be creative to come to a contract that meets all the needs of the stakeholders.
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?
Shifting to Common Core is not a huge leap in regards to what children should already be learning. These standards are in line with the already established Illinois State Standards. The intent of the Common Core is to provide clear expectations for students, teachers and parents, as a national set of standards, so students are prepared for their future. I think the BOE should be informed as to the curriculum and possibly be asked for some input. However, I do not see it is the place of the Board of Education to set the curriculum. It is the job of the BOE to have a knowledgeable administration in place who will set the curriculum and guide the teachers toward achieving those goals.
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 really impressed with the college theme happening at Euclid. I fully support the idea that we need to be talking to children about the possibilities of college, trade school or a vocational education early in their education. I would like to see that philosophy adopted across the district. The shift to common core is going to be important in getting students prepared for high school and beyond. Being able to make connections between what they are learning now and how it will impact their future will give students more ownership in what they are learning. I feel that the curriculum in the elementary schools is giving a good foundation for a higher learning. Admittedly, my exposure to curriculum is limited to the elementary school. At the Middle School, I would like to see the students being asked to apply their knowledge and solve real-world problems, while learning.
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?
I am not comfortable making a blanket statement regarding what I would or would not reduce or eliminate if it is deemed cuts are necessary. There are many factors, which need to be considered when making those types of difficult decisions. I would be slow to cut programs that support our students most at risk. I also would not be in favor of cutting extra-curricular activities. As a taxpayer, I do not want to see my taxes increase. However, if an increase in taxes will keep class sizes manageable and programs in place, I would consider the option.
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?
It is important to remember that when it comes to contract talks, both the RTEA and the School Board need to be in agreement before anything is ratified. Both organizations need to be realistic and ready to make decisions that keep the quality of a D26 education high, keeping in mind that there is a finite amount of money to be spent. So if teachers making concessions to preserve low class size, educational programs and keeping up with technology will preserve the standard of education then that will need to be considered.
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 am not in favor of a pay increase, merely to boost pension benefits. With the budget challenges schools face, I do not think it is ethical to use money in this manner.