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.
City: Lake Zurich
Office sought: Lake Zurich District 95 board
Family: Married to Bill Pemstein with three boys -- one at Isaac Fox, Middle School South and Lake Zurich High School
Occupation: Vice President of Laws and Regulations and Public Policy Support at Zurich North America
Education: BA from DePaul University and J.D. from DePaul College of Law. I have several insurance designations from the Insurance Institute of America.
Civic involvement: : Volunteer with Lake Zurich Baseball and Softball Association and Flames football organization
Indoor Air Quality member for several schools in district 95
Zurich Ambassador -- a volunteer position to help coordinate Zurich North America Charitable Giving campaign
Elected offices held: None.
Have you ever been arrested for or convicted of a crime? If yes, please explain: No
Key Issue 1
Maintain the Fiscal Health of District 95 through prudent budgeting and fiscal planning
Key Issue 2
Better management of our Facilities
Key Issue 3
Continue to improve all communication throughout the district. I would like to see a more customer service attitude toward all communications with the public.
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 shift to the common core standards is not without controversy in that key stakeholders seem to have been missing from their development. The Administration should be mindful of the evolving needs of all of our students in determining the curriculum and ensure that all required courses for college admissions are offered fully as needed by our students.
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 do think we are doing a better job preparing our students for the next level. Our ACT scores have steadily risen over the last several years. The biggest challenge our district faces in that regard is technology. Our district is facing the same concerns as many other districts as well as much of Corporate America. I do not support a tax increase to enhance our capabilities in that regard. It is however, a consideration should we have surplus funds.
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?
Our state's financial crisis as well as the state pension reform measures could significantly impact all school districts across the state. Our district is no different. Once there is more certainty around these state issues we will have a better idea of where District 95 stands. Our district is in a respectable starting point to absorb these state budget issues.
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?
As the economic times we are living in are very uncertain, it is unrealistic to expect taxpayers to fund large increases in the largest cost our district faces -- employee compensation. I would like to see compensation tied to the consumer price index and we need to be open to employees paying an increased share of medical benefits.
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 not support this practice as it is not a sustainable practice at either the state or local level and it ends up being an unjust windfall unsupported by the contributions made into the pension plan over the course of a career.