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updated: 2/22/2013 6:22 PM

Barbara Oilschlager: Candidate Profile

College Of Lake County School Board (6-year Terms)

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  • Barbara Oilschlager, running for College Of Lake County School Board (6-year Terms)

    Barbara Oilschlager, running for College Of Lake County School Board (6-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



City: Grayslake

Website: Candidate did not respond.

Office sought: College Of Lake County School Board (6-year Terms)

Age: 64

Family: Married 43 years, two grown children, two grandchildren

Occupation: Regional Career and Technical Education Administrator for the 16 High School districts in Lake County--retired.

Education: Antioch Grade School and Antioch Community High School Bachelor of Arts (with honors), National College of Education Master of Education, University of Illinois, 1990

Civic involvement: Rotary-Charter member and past president, Grayslake Rotary. Past member of the Board of Directors for the Lake County Community Action Project (CAP) and the Lake County YWCA. Gubernatorial appointment to the Illinois Workforce Investment Board. Member and past president of the Illinois Community College Trustees Association (ICCTA) and the Illinois Association for Career and Technical Education (IACTE).

Elected offices held: College of Lake County Board of Trustees, 1989 - present.

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

Candidate's Key Issues

Key Issue 1

FISCAL STABILITY. Balancing needs with limited dollars; whether it is bricks and mortar, technology, software, equipment, faculty or staff, while at the same time providing exemplary educational opportunities for the residents of Lake County.

Key Issue 2

AFFORDABILITY and ACCESS go hand in hand. Keeping CLC affordable and accessible for each and every person in Lake County is what CLC is about. Whether it is face to face courses, on-line courses or courses in new technologies--we need to continue to help our students be competitive in not only the job market but also when they transfer to complete four year degree programs.

Key Issue 3

COMPLETION. Research has shown that students who complete their degree or certificate over a reasonable amount of time will be more successful. It doesn't matter if you're 16 or 102, CLC will continue to promote completion where appropriate and clarify student responsibilities and expectations.

Questions & Answers

CLC has been touting so called green initiatives. Is this something you support? Why or why not?

CLC has been a leader in the state and on the national level in green initiatives. New technologies have emerged and along with that new programming is required in order to keep our students competitve in the job market. Many jobs now and in the future will require specific training in green technologies. I support this direction as long as it does not cause a financial burden on CLC students or taxpayers. We must continue to balance and monitor the needs of the community and our business/industry partners.

With enrollment up at many community colleges, it can be challenging to keep pace as far as available classroom/lab space, the number of qualified teachers and available course work options. How would you manage that?

On an on-going basis, the Board of Trustees engages in very in-depth short and long term strategic planning including a Master Plan. This intensive planning allows us to project our needs based on changing demographics and job markets for up to 10 years. As we plan for the future we also look at projected revenues vs. expenses so that we can balance needs and services in order to provide the best possible education to our students.

Community colleges provide many services to a diverse population. Is there a service your college should be providing that it is not, or reaching a segment of the population that it is not?

College of Lake County is the community's college. Many think community colleges should be all things to all people and for the most part we try to do that. Some of the services we provide could be improved upon--such as reaching out to high school students at a younger age so they know what being "college ready" really means. Enhancing articulation and dual credit opportunities for high schools students is also an area that can always be improved upon. The more college credits a student earns while in high school the less that student (or his or her parents) has to pay for a college degree. Our research also shows that minority populations at CLC are in some cases under-represented. When we compare the population of Latino, African American and Asians in Lake County to the corresponding percentage of students, faculty and staff at CLC, in some case there is a mismatch. We need to continue our outreach and recruitment efforts to students, faculty and staff to help ensure that they are representative of our community when compared to market share.

Student credit-hours fees have been going up over the past few years. What's your position on the fee structure? Do you think other cuts should be pursued to hold the line on fees? Please elaborate.

I am already on record as voting "no" when the President recommended that we increase tuition this past year. Every time tuition is increased, access to higher education is decreased. The President made this recommendation to increase tuition at the same time he enjoys a very lucrative quarter of a million dollar a year contract. Please note that I also voted "no" when it came to approving his last two contracts. There are other ways to remain fiscally strong without putting additional burdens on our students. We also know that for some courses, books are very expensive. Currently students purchase new or used books. To help decrease this financial burden on our students, we have implemented a pilot book rental program. This pilot program will be evaluated this year for possible expanded implementation.

Is a tax rate increase needed and, if so, how do you justify it?

Housing values in Lake County have decreased over the last few years with little hope of improving in the near future. Along with this is the decrease in assessed valuation which in turn decreases the revenue going to CLC from the tax base. Community colleges basically receive funding from three revenue streams; state revenue dollars, tuition and local property taxes. Because of the state's financial shortfall, CLC is not receiving its state revenue dollars as expected and this has continued for several years. Then every time tuition is increased, access to higher education is decreased. This only leaves the third revenue stream, local property taxes. Lake County is under a tax cap so additional dollars from this revenue stream is limited. Community colleges are a very labor intensive entity where approximately 85-90% of our budget goes to salaries/benefits for our faculty and staff which in most cases is a multi-year contractual obligation. This leaves very few dollars for discretionary purposes. The community has told us that CLC has had a positive impact on folks in Lake County. In order to continue providing the valuable educational and other services to the community they say they want and to stay consistent on the revenue side, an increase of some sort may be needed. That increase can come from several different sources. One source could be an increase in the tax rate, however other sources could include private donations or fundraisers. Another option could of course be a decrease in spending. With that said, I am always open to any new ideas or other thoughts.