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updated: 2/22/2013 6:22 PM

Geoffrey Guttschow: Candidate Profile

Antioch-Lake Villa High School District 117 Board Member (4-year Terms) (Independent)

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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



City: Antioch

Website: Candidate did not respond.

Office sought: Antioch-Lake Villa High School District 117 Board Member (4-year Terms)

Age: 35

Family: Married, five children of grade school age

Occupation: Police Officer, Sergeant

Education: Associate of Applied Science, Criminal Justice, Gateway Technical College, 1998.

Civic involvement: Former member Burlington Jaycees

Elected offices held: None

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

Candidate's Key Issues

Key Issue 1

I believe that the Board of Education has one of the greatest responsibilities in our community; helping plan the education of our children. The decisions they make affects the lives of students, parents, and staff that the District employs. It certainly has an economic impact on the community they serve and has a responsibility to all of those aforementioned. As a father and a member of this community, I have a desire to see our schools achieve the highest level of academic excellence possible. I believe that for our children a good education is one of the greatest opportunities we can provide for them to help them achieve rich and full lives. Public education has long been one of the cornerstones of our society, and I believe that continuing to improve our schools, benefits not only our children, but our community as a whole. In these challenging economic times, we have a greater obligation than ever to make sure that we provide a strong educational system so that our children can learn the skills that will help shape their lives and lead them to success.

Key Issue 2

I am not aware of any current pressing issues in front of the Board of Education. I know the future may require some very tough decisions relative to a potential shift in responsibility of teacher pensions from the State to the local taxing bodies. I want to do my civic duty to ensure actions taken are fiscally responsible to all involved. I am the parent of grade school age children that will one day enter into the system. I feel that this is the right time in my life to do my part in order to help ensure that the District remains in a good position financially and educationally, for the children of our community.

Key Issue 3

I will use my 14+ years experience in law enforcement to help keep our schools safe. Unfortunately, we live in a time that there is no guarantee of safety within our schools. However,I am confident my professional experience will be beneficial in supporting a safe environment for our children.

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?

With regards to the common core standards, from a layman's point of view, it seems to be a much more logical way of measuring the progress of students; and the delivery of the course or curriculum by the teacher(s). I think the curriculum itself is best designed by the educators, who are the trained professionals in this area. The Board of Education should play a roll in setting the curriculum in that they should act in an oversight capacity to be sure the standards of education expected from the community are being met.

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 think our District is fortunate to have the well trained and passionate staff that it has. The District staff is dedicated and works hard to help our children prepare for the next steps in life. As with anything in life, there are always areas we can improve upon, and if elected I will do my part as a Board Member to make sure our children are being given the best education our District can provide them.

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?

I have taken the time to look at the District's budget on-line and did not see anything that "jumped out," as an immediate area of concern. The areas of budgeting and tax levies are something that I think any new Board Member would require some time to study and review, with assistance from the Assistant Superintendent of Business and the finance committee, in order to have a firm understanding of the financial operations of the District.

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?

I understand that there is still more than another year left on the current contract with the Teachers Association and that talks have not commenced regarding the next contract. I am aware that when the last contract was negotiated the staff did in fact make some concessions. I believe that all of the District staff are fully aware of the current state of our economy. I am confident they would work not only in the best interest of themselves, but also for the students of the District to come to an agreement that will make sense in today's economic times.

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 realize that these practices may unfortunately be common for many government jobs, but this is certainly not a practice I would ever support as a Board Member. I would hope this practice is not something that the District or the Board would consider supporting.