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updated: 2/22/2013 6:26 PM

Jan Hope: Candidate Profile

Lake Villa District 41 School Board (4-year Terms)

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  • Jan Hope, running for Lake Villa District 41 School Board (4-year Terms)

      Jan Hope, running for Lake Villa District 41 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

 

Bio

City: Lake Villa

Website: Candidate did not respond.

Office sought: Lake Villa District 41 School Board (4-year Terms)

Age: 45

Family: I have been married to my husband Brian for 11 years and we have a nine year old daughter. I also have two "hairy children" a dog, Rudy and a cat, boo boo.

Occupation: I am currently a stay at home mom. I worked from 2009-2012 in the Martin school kitchen. Prior to having my daughter I worked for 14 years in finance as a Regional Credit manager for the largest electronic component distributor in the United States.

Education: Associate in the Arts Degree, The Art Institute of Atlanta 1997 with honors.

Civic involvement: I assisted with my daughters Girl Scout Troop for 3 years.

Elected offices held: none

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

Candidate's Key Issues

Key Issue 1

Our children. Our children deserve a well rounded education that includes art, gym, and music. Cutting expenses should not start with our children, it should start with administrative costs. Our children need to have the things afforded to them that students coming from other districts in Lake county have. In a time where the first lady of the United States is pushing for healthy eating and healthy school lunch programs it hardly seems reasonable to then turn around and eliminate gym class/physical activity for our children.

Key Issue 2

Fiscal Responsibility. For a district our size we need to take a long hard look at our administrative expenses. We are spending far to much tax payer dollars on things that do not directly benefit our children or enhance their education.

Key Issue 3

Communication. The district appears not to be forthcoming enough with their information. For a taxpayer with no children in the school system there is no effective method of communication with regard to appropriation of tax payer monies. This is important because people have moved into our district because of the excellent schools, it is something Lake Villa has been able to pride itself on.

Questions & Answers

District 41 faces a large deficit and tough financial choices. Name one step you would push on the board to address the situation. Please explain your idea.

We need to start from the top and work our way down. For the immediate future I believe administration needs to be thinned out and the remaining administrators should, at the very least put pay freezes in place and bonuses should not even be in the equation.

How satisfied are you that your district is adequately preparing students for the next stage in their lives, whether it be high school, college or full-time employment? What changes, if any, do you think need to be made?

I think our schools do an excellent job, but like anything else there is room for improvement. One change I would like to see is in the area of Bi-lingual studies. I feel every single student should be afforded the opportunity to take Spanish when they are entering 7th grade. In our society being bi-lingual is becoming more of the norm. Many colleges and companies will chose a candidate who is bi-lingual over the person who has the same qualifications but only speaks English. Currently a student may be an "A" student but if he doesn't score well on a particular test he is denied the opportunity to take Spanish. High school is far to late in the game to start a second language and even if you have an average student that student just may excell when it comes to another language, it shouldn't be assumed that the A student will do well and the C student won't.

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?

Ideally administrators, board members and teachers should work together collectively to make decisions regarding our childrens education Each entity has expertise to bring to the table and together decisions can be made utilizing the best ideas. Administrators know the budget, teachers know what the children need, and the board should be the voice of the parents/community members. As for the relationship now I don't know that our board has been transparent enough for me to be able to fairly answer this question.

As contract talks come up with various employee groups what position should the school board take? Should the district seek concessions, expect employee costs to stay about the same now or provide increases in pay or benefits?

Concessions need to be made, but I think it needs to start at the administrative level. If you want a quality education you need quality teachers. In order to attract quality teachers you need to adequately compensate them. Based on what I have previously stated, teachers should expect to receive compensation and concessions need to be made elsewhere.

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?

There absolutely should be accountability in our schools and common core standards will assure this. We need to be certain our teachers are properly trained and not just thrown into it with nothing more than a manual and a pat on the back. With or without the common core approach I feel teachers should be able to teach students by being creative in their approach. In my opinion not every student learns in the same way and teachers should be able to reach each student in a way that is effective for that student. Afterall, the teachers are the ones who know our children and work with them every single day. I think we need to let the teachers who are the trained professionals set the curriculum and perhaps the board could work on checks and balances. As for the current curriculum, I think it has been extremely confusing for students, parents and teachers alike to have a "new" method to teach reading every year, and a "new" method of doing math two times in as many years. I think consistency should be paramount.

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