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Article updated: 2/22/2013 6:25 PM

Josh Howell: Candidate Profile

Cary District 26 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

 

Bio

City: Cary

Website: Candidate did not respond.

Office sought: Cary District 26 School Board (4-year Terms)

Age: 37

Family: Married, 3 daughters (7,5, and 2)

Occupation: Account Manager -- Telecommunications

Education: Bachelor of Science in Business Administration, Roosevelt University, 2005

Civic involvement: Crystal Lake Chamber of Commerce, Village of Cary - Home Value Assistance, Cary SD 26 - Community Engagement Committee

Elected offices held: Candidate did not respond.

Have you ever been arrested for or convicted of a crime? If yes, please explain: Yes; when I was 22 years old, I helped tear down a sign. I paid $100 in restitution. It was a foolish prank.

Candidate's Key Issues

Key Issue 1

Curriculum This is the roadmap to our children's education. We must challenge the students, but also work on how we attend to each child's learning needs. We have to insure learners receive a well-rounded education that addresses the whole person. Also, the District can better prepare our students for today's world by addressing their education in technology.

Key Issue 2

Infrastructure We should continue to address needed upgrades and repairs to aging buildings and the District's technology needs.

Key Issue 3

Fiscal Responsibility We have to carefully prioritize and wisely spend in order to live within our means.

Questions & Answers

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?

The common core is an opportunity for the District to reexamine and retool how it delivers education. While any change should be viewed with caution, especially one from a model which has served us well, all indications are that this is a good shift to more rigorous standards. The committee that reviewed and selected the new language arts program was made up mainly of teachers, with input from key administrators. They presented their findings at the last Curriculum Committee meeting, and it's apparent the process of implementing this program will benefit the district if done right. The role of the Board is to ask the tough questions about what was chosen and approve it or not. The Board sets policy under which the District operates.

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?

The students within Cary have tested among the highest in the state; however, I believe we?ve fallen short in addressing the whole student with the recent cuts in art, music, and other special subjects. Returning special subjects will provide a well-rounded experience that is important as learners focus on core subjects. We will see smaller class sizes in the coming years and that will help instructors give additional attention to students who need it and recognize gifted students for accelerated programs.

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 main budget issue the district faces is the state of Illinois. The State can, and will, make their mismanagement our problem. I expect there will be cuts in general state aid, cuts in support of programs Illinois mandates, or cost shifting as has been proposed as a fix with the pension crisis. We should prepare for possible negative effects through conservative budgeting and close monitoring of the state. I do not see an increase in taxes as a fix.

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?

Significant concessions were made during the last contact negotiation and I don't see further concessions needed. The most recent contracts were structured in what was affordable for the District; continuing a fiscally conservative approach can avoid another fiscal crisis.

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 would not support an increase in pay to boost retirement. That is gaming an already underfunded system to create an artificially higher benefit that would be otherwise achieved over the course of the administrator's career. This practice is one of the problems with the system.

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