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updated: 2/22/2013 6:28 PM

Richard Bokor: Candidate Profile

Palatine District 15 School Board (4-year Terms)

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  • Richard Bokor, running for Palatine District 15 School Board (4-year Terms)

    Richard Bokor, running for Palatine District 15 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: Palatine


Office sought: Palatine District 15 School Board (4-year Terms)

Age: 65

Family: Married three children (District 15 and District 211 graduates) six grandchildren

Occupation: retired secondary school educator currently working for National-Louis University as an adjunct professor-supervising student teachers and teaching Methods classes for M.A.T. students

Education: BA Political Science/Secondary Education DePaul University 1969 MA Political Science Northeastern University 1973 50 hours of course work beyond Masters Degree in curriculum 1979-1992

Civic involvement: Incumbent School Board member. n Master Board Member Recognition Sutton Park Place Homeowners Association Secretary and President 2003-2011 Palatine South Little League 1977-1979 The Bridge Youth Services- Peter Cunneen Golf Outing co-Chair 2011

Elected offices held: Palatine CCSD 15 School Board 2009-2013 Sutton Park Place Homeowners' Association Secretary and President 2003-2011

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

Candidate's Key Issues

Key Issue 1

Long term Facilities Planning. What is good for today might not be good for tomorrow

Key Issue 2

Long Term Stability at the Administrative and Staff levels. Organizations function best with long term stability rather than constant change.

Key Issue 3

Equity versus equality in the decision making process. Each school should be treated as an entity unto itself based upon its needs, rather than all twenty schools being treated the same.

Questions & Answers

In recent years, Dist. 15 has had contentious relationships between the board and teachers, teachers and the administration, and on the board itself. What is the root cause of this, what problems has it caused, and what must be done to improve it?

Relationships between successful groups are based on the two key elements of TRUST and RESPECT. During my tenure on the BOE, I have always tried to listen to and talk with people of varying viewpoints in an attempt to seek compromise solutions. I believe in the concept of WIN/WIN by treating my critics and opponents with civility and respect. I do not believe in the concept of WIN/LOSE by constantly demeaning and degrading my critics and oppoonents. I grew up remembering when the words "bipartisan" and "compromise" were not "hate speech." All employees and stakeholders in District 15 need to have that mutual understanding-that mutual respect- where they work hard together for the good of the district and not just arguing over how right they are.

Should District 15 continue to hold onto the 40 acres in Inverness that was originally intended for a new middle school, or look to sell it?

The parcel of land owned by District 15 in Inverness is the largest underdeveloped parcel of land in Palatine Township. I would be very opposed to selling the property right now until a long term facility needs study is completed. Out district currently is very heavy on property on its east side and very light on property on its west side, where the parcel of land is located. Today the Ela Road property is insurance for the possibility of future facility needs.

How do you think District 15 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?

During my four years on the BOE, I have encouraged and supported balanced budgets, despite great uncertainty at the state and federal funding levels. Illinois state debt issues have certainly placed future state aid payments in jeopardy. Despite late and/or lower stae aid payments coupled with reductions in federal funding for education, District 15 has not had to increase local tax rates. The future of educational funding is uncertain, and District 15 is going to have to continue to be creative in keeping up its quality of education without placing more of a tax burden on its stakeholders.

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 BOE has the sole responsibility of hiring and evaluating the District Superintendent. The BOE also has the responsibility of providing all staff (which would include administration, teachers, and support personnel) specific direction through its annual adoption of Board and Superintendent goals. The electorate chooses individuals to the BOE, but, when elected, those individuals become part of a 7 member team that functions collectively and not individually to move the District forward in ever-changing times.

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?

Our expectations for what students must learn and know are very different than what he expected of our students in 1997, which was the year that Illinois adopted its last set of educational standards. The new Common Core Standards were developed by analyzing the strengths of top performing industrialized nations as well as examining the strengths and weaknesses of the 1997 standards. Benchmark standards have been established for academic progress that should be attained by students at the end of each grade level. These standards will allow our trained professional staff to determine the optimal conditions in their classrooms to help their students meet the academic standards. Mary Zarr, our Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum along with her outstanding staff have been working on curriculum changes since 2010 when they were made aware of the Common Core Standards implementation time lines. Curriculum development and recommendations for change are the responsibility of the administrative leadership team. These recommendations for change should be made upon receiving input and recommendations from principals,the teaching staff, and community members. The role of the BOE is to evaluate and to act on ALL administrative curriculum recommendations. Personally, I would support any administrative recommendation for all day kindergarten classes in our high risk schools, provided there is ample space and proper funding.