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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: Lake in the Hills
Website: Candidate did not respond.
Office sought: Huntley Unit District 158 School Board (4-year Terms)
Family: Married, two daughters (aged 12 & 9).
Occupation: Systems Engineer
Education: Masters in Business Administration, Keller Graduate School of Management, 2002. Bachelor of Science in Engineering Physics, University of Illinois at Chicago, 1992.
Civic involvement: McHenry County Deputy Voter Registrar
Elected offices held: Board Member, Consolidated School District 158, 2009-2013.
Have you ever been arrested for or convicted of a crime? If yes, please explain: No.
Key Issue 1
Striking a balance with efficiently spending money on needed high school improvements and stretching the remaining dollars for property tax relief over multiple years.
Key Issue 2
Continued fiscal prudence in light of anticipated pension reform.
Key Issue 3
Continued improvements to technology infrastructure.
How would you use the $39 million state capital development award that the district finally received last year, after being notified of the grant in 2002?
As a current board member, I am involved in the discussions regarding how to best utilize these funds. As such, I support the early plan to use the money to both (a) expand/improve Huntley High School to accommodate the anticipated population of 3000 students in approximately five years, and (b) provide property tax relief to the community. The preliminary targeted budget for the high school project is in the neighborhood of $12 million, with the plan for the remaining funds to be applied toward property tax relief over a period of a few years.
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 expect the Board of Education will continue to play a pivotal role in working with administration to insure curriculum alignment as Common Core standards are enacted. During my current term, our district has providedout of the box? thinking to meet the needs of our 21st century students. At the high school level, Chinese language and a medicalacademy? have been implemented, blended learning classes (mix of online and classroom) are offered and AP class offerings have expanded. This year, One-to-One (1:1) learning (with tablets being used to deliver the reading curriculum) was piloted for our digital natives at one elementary school and this program will be expanded next year. In my opinion, a Board of Education's number one goal is to prepare students to compete in the global market. I believe we should continue to be innovative in what material is presented to students to enhance their learning opportunities. Our medical academy concept could become a model program for similar topical academies in engineering or law, for example.
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 that by fostering an environment ofLife-Long Learning?, we convey a message to students that education is an on-going process of self-improvement. Our district's commitment to continual growth is reflected in our 5-Year Strategic Plan. Our students? academic achievement data (from ACT scores to MAP scores, honor roll lists, Advanced Placement enrollment and completion, Illinois State Scholars, etc.) is a reflection not only of our student's commitment to their academics, but also of the dedicated faculty who work with these students year after year. Our students should continue to be challenged with a rigorous curriculum that prepares them for the global marketplace, and in that respect, academic offerings and programs must change to meet our student's future needs. For example, I expect our medical academy to grow further with the anticipated arrival of the Centegra Hospital in Huntley. I would like to see similar academy paths students looking at careers in law, science and technology. With the expansion of the high school, I expect new and improved learning environments allowing students to grow the collaboration skills they will need for their next phase. As was mentioned previously, I anticipate teaching strategies and methodologies will also change, influenced by common core standards, technology and community expectations.
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?
The largest challenge to our future budgets will be pension reform as the Illinois legislature tries to push their obligations back to local districts. Until such legislation is passed, we can only speculate as to how that will impact our school district. Additionally, our general state aid has also been reduced in recent years as the state has prorated the amounts we receive. As a result, our district scrutinizes how every dollar spent. I believe District 158 has learned to live within its financial means and provide a cost-effective education for students. Recently, we have restructured our long-term debt, passed a zero increase tax levy and taken district-wide measures to increase the efficiency of energy usage in buildings. At this time, I do not believe cuts are necessary, though restructuring is always a possibility in order to meet the needs of the changing student population. I support the current conservative mindset that our present board has regarding budgeting and I would advocate that same mindset going forward. I understand the public's strong desire to keep taxes low and I would scrutinize any potential increase to insure that the need is fully justified and necessary. While I do not favor tax increases, I am also not in favor of unfunded mandates. Time and again, we see new regulations, expectations and mandates placed on school districts, yet the financial means do not follow. As a result, school districts must alter their budgets to pay for the new demands on financial resources.
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?
Fortunately, this outdated practice does not exist in our school district, so it is not an issue. If this practice did exist, I would not support it because I believe the practice is unaffordable and unsustainable especially in today's financial climate. Such money would be better used addressing student needs.