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updated: 2/22/2013 6:22 PM

Thomas Weber: Candidate Profile

Wauconda Unit District 118 School Board (4-year Terms)

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  • Thomas Weber, running for Wauconda Unit District 118 School Board (4-year Terms)

    Thomas Weber, running for Wauconda Unit District 118 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: Wauconda

Website: Candidate did not respond.

Office sought: Wauconda Unit District 118 School Board (4-year Terms)

Age: 64

Family: Married, two grown children, three grand children

Occupation: Security Guard at Mundelein High School. Owner of The Nut and Candy House in Wauconda, IL

Education: Some College

Civic involvement: Past President Wauconda Booster Club, Served as Emergency Management Director for the Village of Wauconda for 15 years. Worked on The Wauconda Fest Committee for several years, Triathlon Volunteer,

Elected offices held: Board of Education Member since 1995, Served as president and secretary.

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

Candidate's Key Issues

Key Issue 1

Providing the best educational opportunities for all the children of District 118. To include not only academic opportunities but also opportunities to grow and be successful socially.

Key Issue 2

Finances, to work with the administration and elected state officials to obtain the funding that our district is entitled to. To continue to look for ways to obtain funding from sources other than property taxes. Another factor in fiances will be to help manage whatever changes are made to pensions for school employees.

Key Issue 3

To continue to work with our community to make the school district a strong part of the community. To work with other governmental agencies to provide opportunities for our students both in and out of school. Keeping kids active and involved will insure that they are ready to move on to the next phase of their lives. One of my goals has always been to provide our students with the education to be the leaders of our country. We need to work to provide leaders in the future that are a lot smarter than the people running the country today.

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?

I think the shift is good. It will help staff and community to be understanding of what is being taught at each grade level and what students are expected to learn from year to year.The board's job is not to necessarily design curriculum. It is the job of the board to work with the superintendent to have a strong, well qualified Curriculum Director and a staff of highly qualified teachers and administrators working in the district. They will bring the necessary curriculum changes to the board. They are the experts.

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 happy with the way we are preparing students for the future. However, there is always room for improvement. Our Graduation Rate is high and the number of students continuing their education after high school is also high. We have many students who get scholarships to very good schools. We have been fortunate to have a couple of National Merit Scholars in District 118. Our number of Illinois State Scholars has increased to a school record number the last two years. Many of our students who do not anttend college go into the work force for training and several students each year volunteer to serve our country as members of our Armed Forces. Our district staff does a good job of preparing our students for the future and teaching them that giving back to the community is impoortant. The students volunteer in the community through various clubs and community groups.

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 district faces the same budget issues as other school districts in the state. Lack of adequate state funding and a bad economy are making operation of the district difficult. District 118 has already cut several million dollars out of our operating budget to help the situation. We have cut maintenance, and supply budgets and made adjustments to our budget that have not affected the classrooms or programs offered to our students. We need to continue to be vigilant in our spending. We need to work with our state legislators to obtain the funding from the state that our kids are entitled to. In the past 18 years that I have served on the board, we have gone to the community several times for construction and education fund increases. Each time the community has given approval for us to increase our rate of funding. Costs are going to continue to rise in education, operational costs, technology costs, and maintaining a quality staff is important but it costs money. I believe that education of our students is the most important expense that we as Americans must pay, a good education will insure that we have the leaders we need to keep our country strong. I would when necessary, ask the voters to again improve a tax increase. I will continue to ask our administration to look for additional funding that doesn't involve tax increases, grants, corporate donations, and financial gifts from community members are a few places to look for funding.

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?

We have already gotten concessions from our employees. Our administrative, teaching and support staffs have all accepted contracts that contained a two year hard pay freeze. No increases in salary, benefits, or step were given. The staff also experienced a reduction in extra-curricular stipends. I applaud our staff members for working with the board and administration to make this cost savings to the taxpayers a reality. Future contracts will involve some pay and benefit increases, as a board member I will look at each contract as it comes along and view any necessary increases with extreme scrutiny. Increases need to fall in line with the economy at the time of negotiations.

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 all future retirement agreements need to be looked at regarding the increases that have been given in the past. Previous to this, these increases were given as a reward for service and low pay, they were legal and many districts gave them to retirees as a fringe benefit of employment. In my mind it was a way to keep quality people in the district because if you didn't you would lose staff to districts that were giving this benefit. I believe that in the case of our district, employees are being paid fairly and the wage and benefit package that we give should be sufficient to keep people in place until retirement. We must be fair and keep pace with other districts, while keeping the needs of the taxpayer in mind. All future contracts need to consider the taxpayer as well as the employee. What is done in the future will largely be based on what the state does with pension reform in the upcoming legislative session.