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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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Office sought: Huntley Unit District 158 School Board (4-year Terms)
Family: Married to Mark Skaja for 38+ years Children: Melissa (married to David) Joshua (married to Kimberly) Emily
Education: Elgin High School graduated 1973 Elgin Community College (no degree) McHenry Coummunity College (no degree)
Civic involvement: Member of Huntley Chamber of Commerce Founding member, past president and current active member of Huntley High School Fine Arts Boosters District 158 Board of Education since 1995
Elected offices held: Consolidated School District 158 Board of Education currently secretary, previously vice president
Have you ever been arrested for or convicted of a crime? If yes, please explain: No
Key Issue 1
Expansion of the high school to accommodate 3000 students is the main focus
Key Issue 2
Continually improving educational opportunities for students
Key Issue 3
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?
The money should be used for capital projects and the payment of capital debt. The biggest project is the expansion of the high school to accommodate the expected growth to 3000 students.
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 am pleased with the shift to common core standards because it gives students and teachers clear, high academic standards that allow everyone to work together to help the students master the skills they need to succeed in college and in the workplace. The Board of Education oversees the process with the expectation of highly successful outcomes. Board members do not lead or create changes to the current curriculum.
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 satisfied that my district is preparing students for the next stage in their lives. Many important and successful changes have taken place in the last few years. A great example is the implementation of the freshman academy at the high school which has been instrumental in improving the freshman students' chances for success. However, as is true of anything, there is always room for improvement and I expect the staff to continuously strive for that improvement.
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 budgeted frugally over the past several years. The biggest concern stems from not knowing what to expect from the state. If they decide to shift the pension burden to us, it will create grave concerns. At this time, I do not believe cuts are necessary. Priorities are carefully considered at all times and only the highest are funded. I do not support any tax increases.
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?
Two of our administrators are retiring at the end of this fiscal year. No one has suggested a substantial increase or anything outside the ordinary increase for any retiring administrator. We do not operate in that manner. In the unlikely event that it should be suggested, I would not be in favor of it. I don't believe it is ethical.