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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: Libertyville-Vernon Hills High School District 128 School Board (4-year Terms)
Family: Married, 3 children
Education: Bachelor of Arts in English, University of IL, 1982
Civic involvement: Reading tutor North Chicago D187, SEDOL governing board representative, D128 Foundation for Learning board member, Community Christian Food Pantry volunteer, Libertyville Covenant Church member
Elected offices held: Board of Education District 128, 2009-2013
Have you ever been arrested for or convicted of a crime? If yes, please explain: No
Key Issue 1
I want to insure that the students of District 128 continue to receive an excellent education in the safest environment possible, where they can learn at their greatest potential and participate in a wide range of valuable activities.
Key Issue 2
With the uncertain future of education and pension funding in our state, it is imperative that the BOE, along with the administration, keep a careful watch on education legislation in Springfield and respond accordingly.
Key Issue 3
Our district needs to be fiscally responsible to the taxpayers, while providing the students with an excellent education. We should continue to have a clear short and long range financial plan to accomplish this, and be able to adapt to the changes that may come in the years ahead.
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 cautious, but hopeful that the decision to adopt the common core standards in the State of IL will be beneficial to the students of our state and District 128. It has spurred debate over national vs local control of education, and some question if enough research has been done and input given by expert teachers to insure that these new standards are better than those already in place in many states. I think the BOE has a responsibility to rely on the expertise of the administrators and teachers in our district to choose an appropriate and challenging curriculum for our students and to verify that measurable growth is continuing, as it has in the past.
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 very satisfied that District 128 is preparing its students well for the next stage of their lives. We offer curriculum that is both challenging and broad in its scope. Guidance for the future is provided for each student through resources such as individual counselor meetings, the college resource center and the post high school planning guide. I expect to see our schools continue to be progressive in providing excellence in these areas.
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 budget issues that will impact District 128 stem from the very serious financial crisis facing our state. Right now there is great uncertainty in many areas. Pension costs and additional transportation costs may shift from the state to the district. The state may again attempt to consolidate districts without local consent. Preparing for these unknowns and others is a difficult task. The good news is that we are in a strong financial position with a healthy reserve, which will allow us to handle the unknowns from a position of strength. We have an administrative team that keeps a close eye on what is happening in Springfield and is committed to communicating the District's needs to our state legislators. We have a well constructed long range plan for the district which keeps academic excellence at the forefront and our facilities in great shape. Continued careful management of funds should allow us to avoid cutting programs for our students. Although it is impossible to know the future, with so much economic uncertainty in our state and nation, the district was able to keep taxes flat for our taxpayers last year and I would like to continue to do so in the future if possible.
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?
District 128 and its teachers began a 3 year contract this year. It is of utmost importance to hire and retain the very best teachers in order to provide the highest quality education possible for the students of District 128. Our teacher contracts must be competitive with other high performing districts, while taking into consideration current economic conditions and the tax burden on the residents of the district.
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 support a fair and equitable increase that was both representative of the quality of performance of the administrator and reflective of the impact on the district's current and future budget.