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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: Mundelein High School District 120 School Board (4-year Terms)
Family: Married with two children, both are Mundelein High School students.
Occupation: Vice President in the financial services industry.
Education: Bachelor of Arts in Economics, University of Michigan, 1987. Masters of Business Administration, University of Michigan, 1996.
Civic involvement: Previously a Big Brother Mentor as part of Big Brothers Big Sisters of Metro Chicago.
Elected offices held: Mundelein High School Board of Education, 2012 to present.
Have you ever been arrested for or convicted of a crime? If yes, please explain: No
Key Issue 1
Increase student achievement as measured by higher standardized test scores. Student preparedness for 2 and 4 year college programs or the work force is gauged by these test scores. There is a growing proportion of Mundelein High School students that are not achieving at acceptable levels and this trend needs to be reversed.
Key Issue 2
Mundelein High School District 120 must continue to remain financially sound. The District 120 Administration has worked extremely hard over the past few years to materially enhance its financial condition. However, there is still considerable economic uncertainty coupled with an unpredictable Illinois legislature which could put stress on future revenues.
Key Issue 3
Continue the harmonious relationship between the District's stakeholders. Over the past few years, Mundelein High School District 120 has been able to make considerable investments into its facilities such as roof and plumbing repairs along with major fixes to its pool, track, and field. At the same time, District 120 has entered into fair contracts with its employee groups while increasing its financial position. It's very important to note that these achievements were accomplished during tough economic times without putting additional burden on the District's taxpayers. This is strong evidence that material improvements can occur within the District when the needs of all of the stakeholders are considered.
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 believe that the shift to the common core standards is a proper move because the standards are designed to ensure graduating students are prepared to enter 2 and 4 year college programs or the work force. Also, these standards are concise and therefore promote an aligned understanding of the requirements among parents, students, teachers, and taxpayers. The role of the board of education should be focused on making sure there is monitoring the district's performance relative to the standards and that there is accountability for results. It's the responsibility of the administration and staff to set the curriculum and prepare action plans to meet the standards. That said, I believe that the curriculum needs to be designed so that it ensures that all, and not just some students, are well prepared enter 2 and 4 year college programs or the work force.
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?
There is no doubt that Mundelein High School is preparing some of its students for the next stage in their lives. This is evidenced by the significant number of students that attend 2 and 4 year college programs, vocational training or the military. The problem is that State test results show there is a growing proportion of Mundelein High School students that are not achieving at adequate levels; and therefore I am not completely satisfied that the district is properly preparing all of its students. Prescribing changes would be premature at this time because the root causes for the growing level of under achievement have not been isolated. Therefore, I promote that the board supply the administration with the resources that it needs to identify the root causes of the growing level of underachievement and to develop action plans to reverse the trend.
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 good news is that Mundelein High School District 120 is in a very sound financial position and consequently has been assigned a financial rating ofRecognition? which is the highest rating awarded by the State. It follows that the district does not have to confront any direct budget issues at this time. Therefore there is no need for program cuts, expense cuts, or tax increases. However, if budget issues do arise in the future then I would support prudent spending by way of program prioritization and expense management over tax increases.
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?
Contracts with the various school employee groups were completed over the past two years and therefore the next scheduled contract expiration is not until the middle of 2014. Given that the district is in a very sound financial position, I do not expect that the district would need to ask for concessions when contracts begin to expire. When they do expire, I would expect employee costs to remain proportionately the same.
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 believe that the district should be fair to the superintendent or other administrator and compensate them based on their performance. In Illinois, a substantial increase in pay beyond a set threshold in order to boost pension benefits would result in a penalty that would need to be paid by the district. Mundelein High School has a very competent administration and I believe that some administrators have earned reasonable increases in pay prior to retirement. But I will not support substantial increases beyond the State of Illinois threshold because doing so would be punitive to the district.