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updated: 2/22/2013 6:22 PM

Sunit Jain: Candidate Profile

Stevenson High School District 125 School Board (4-year Terms)

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  • Sunit Jain, running for Stevenson High School District 125 School Board (4-year Terms)

      Sunit Jain, running for Stevenson High School District 125 School Board (4-year Terms)

 

 

 

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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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BioKey IssuesQ&A

 

Bio

City: Long Grove

Website: Candidate did not respond.

Office sought: Stevenson High School District 125 School Board (4-year Terms)

Age: 46

Family: Married, three children and a dog

Occupation: Partner

Education: MBA, Northwestern University Kellogg Graduate School of Management, 1996 MS Electrical Engineering, Cornell University, 1987 BS Electrical Engineering, Rutgers University, 1986

Civic involvement: Governing Board Member, Special Education District of Lake County (SEDOL) Advisory Board Member, Supporting Excellence in Education Foundation (SEED)

Elected offices held: Candidate did not respond.

Have you ever been arrested for or convicted of a crime? If yes, please explain: Candidate did not respond.

Candidate's Key Issues

Key Issue 1

Cost effective, quality education. Continue to strive to achieve that balance of providing the best education in a safe environment at the most effective cost as compared to our peer schools. The bestbang for the buck? for our residents. We should strive for national and state rankings yet keep our cost per pupil low. It is an extremely competitive world out there and we have to prepare our students to be the best they can be in a global economy. We also need to leverage technology where it makes sense to enhance the learning experience.

Key Issue 2

We have to continue to be good stewards of our taxpayers? money. Monitor year over year changes in operations and fund balances to ensure our high educational standards are being met in an environment where state funding continues to erode. Live within our means and strive to find areas where we can save costs and have a healthy balance sheet.

Key Issue 3

Continue to create a culture of communication & clarity. Our community consists of students, parents, teachers, administrators and the Board. Finding a way to continue to remove barriers to participation and getting people engaged in our common mission is important to me.

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 new standards provide clearer benchmarks for academic standards and 45 states have adopted them as well as some of the top performing countries. The division leaders and teachers are the experts on setting the curriculum for students and the board is responsible to reviewing their plans, monitoring results, and recommending improvements.

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 based on all the analysis and feedback we have received. From the academic excellence, to the extracurricular activities to the focus on social emotional learning, the district must continue to strive to prepare well-balanced and healthy students that can be successful in their next stage of life. The Student Achievement Data showing our good performance in areas such as PSAE, EXPLORE, PLAN, EPAS, AP, ACT, SAT, etc? and our Student/Alumni Surveys are important measures of the results and give us good feedback to make course corrections.

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?

Over the past five years, Stevenson has abated more than thirteen million dollars in taxes thus reducing the burden from the community, especially in a tough economic environment over the past three years. It is important to contain spending and find cost savings wherever possible while maintaining the quality of our education programs and facilities. Last year we were able to improve some of our facilities while achieving a $1,500,000 decrease in operating budget. Another good example of a recent cost savings was the renegotiation of our beverage contract, which will save us $500,000 during the contract term. We should avoid having to go to the taxpayers with large funding referendums that some of our sister districts have had to face. The most significant issue that is concerning is the looming pension obligations that will likely hurt all schools in our state. Transportation and General State Aid is also being cut for all schools drastically. We need to have a healthy balance sheet to absorb the ups and downs.

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?

The focus in any contract discussion must be on our mission ofSuccess for Every Student?. We should be fair and respectful in our talks with all the various employee groups that are involved and maintain healthy professional relationships, sound evaluation plans, competitive pay and benefits, and provide career development opportunities.

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?

Absolutely not. That is not an acceptable practice.

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