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: Trout Valley
Website: Candidate did not respond.
Office sought: Crystal Lake High School District 155 School Board (4-year Terms)
Family: Married to Todd Somers, six children, two grandchildren.
Occupation: Somers-Stanton, Inc. - office management, accounting
Education: Northwestern University - BA UCLA - Certificate in College Counseling
Civic involvement: CHSD #155 Board of Education, Leona Farms Questers, Trout Valley Book Club, SS Peter & Paul Church, Trout Valley Building Committee
Elected offices held: CHSD #155
Have you ever been arrested for or convicted of a crime? If yes, please explain: No
Key Issue 1
To provide the highest level of quality, yet measurable academic achievement to our students while maintaining prudent financial standards and minimizing additional cost burdens to our taxpayers.
Key Issue 2
To prepare our students for post-secondary academic endeavors, whether it is a 2 or 4-year college, vocational or technical training, or the military. With the introduction of Project Lead the Way, more AP and Dual-Credit classes, Chinese, and more rigorous math and science class tracks, we feel all our students will be prepared for college, even if they choose a different direction after graduation.
Key Issue 3
Candidate did not respond.
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 curriculum has always been more demanding than the common core standards and we feel our curriculum director and the board work cooperatively in making any changes to our curriculum. Any changes have widespread effect because we want to guarantee quality courses in all four of our schools. Changes or new additions are considered very carefully, with supporting data and cost impact.
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?
College guidance has been one of my most passionate interests as a board member. Our guidance counselors manage full loads of students' schedules through each semester, yet they also have to be experts in the college admissions process for their juniors and seniors. They have excellent tools, including Naviance and our College and Career Centers, but the students and their parents have to be engaged to take full advantage of all our resources.
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 have been in a budget crunch for a few years and we have been reducing costs in many areas. There's not a lot of fat left, but we are more selective in any reductions that affect our students' academic education value or safety. We try to keep costs at a point where we would not increase 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?
We will be getting our talks underway with the Teachers' Association soon and we expect the same high standard of negotiation that we have had in the past. There is always some compromise on both sides, yet I fully expect both parties to emerge with a win-win outcome.
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 in support of salary increases that are tied specifically to performance, merit or additional service.