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updated: 2/22/2013 6:22 PM

Renee Klass: Candidate Profile

Kildeer Countryside District 96 School Board (4-year Terms)

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  • Renee Klass, running for Kildeer Countryside District 96 School Board (4-year Terms)

    Renee Klass, running for Kildeer Countryside District 96 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



City: Buffalo Grove

Website: Candidate did not respond.

Office sought: Kildeer Countryside District 96 School Board (4-year Terms)

Age: 57

Family: Married to Michael Klass for 33 years Children: Shelley and Kenny Stolman Ira Klass Karen Klass one grandson

Occupation: Teacher. I currently substitute for Special Education of Lake County

Education: Bachelor of Science University of Illinois Urbana, IL 1977

Civic involvement: Keshet: An organization serving individuals with special needs Served on the Board for the past 15 years and currently serve as Board Chair Kildeer Community Consolidated School District 96: Served on numerous committees such as Referendum advisories, Search conferences and School Board (currently vice president).

Elected offices held: Kildeer Countryside School District Board: 2001-present

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

Candidate's Key Issues

Key Issue 1

To fulfill our mission of ensuring that every child achieves his or her maximum potential ensuring that we reach all students across the spectrum. It is essential that all students' needs are met, whether they have exceeded standards or have difficulty meeting standards.

Key Issue 2

We must continue to remain a fiscally sound district that is accountable to our taxpayers. We must be cognizant of trends that could affect our finances when making future decisions. Currently, in spite of late and missed payments from the state, we are one of the highest achieving yet low spending districts across the state.

Key Issue 3

As we shift from our current state standards to the new common core, we need to ensure that our staff receive the professional development needed for smooth implementation. As an entire community, we must be aware that achievement results may look different during the transition than our current state standards and clearly articulate the standards and process of reporting to the parent community.

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 common core standards are more rigorous than the current state standards and should provide a more rigorous framework to prepare our students for college and the workforce. There should be more uniformity across the country since most states have adopted the standards. I firmly believe that the Board of Education should approve the curriculum recommended by the professional educators. Lawmakers and special interest groups should not mandate curriculum. District 96 has continually modified its curriculum to align itself with the new common core. The staff which operates as a professional learning community assesses and modifies how it delivers instruction through the use of technology and through a coaching model in which many of our teachers have learned new methods from their peers to better educate their 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?

District 96 has continually improved the way in which students are prepared for Stevenson High School and beyond. The number of 8th grade students who place into honors classes at Stevenson has increased each year. In addition, more students have achieved A's and B's their freshman year. In addition to student achievement, our district is leading in the implementation of Social Emotional Learning standards which all students need. We need to evaluate methods of instruction. For example, our district has discussed the use of more technology by piloting a 1:1 device for middle school students. This is a necessary step in keeping up to date with trends in the workforce and life in general.

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 1st budget issue is the uncertainty of state payments;whether late or not being received at all. The 2nd impending issue may be the cost shift of the pensions to the districts. At this time, with our adequate fund balances, our district should not have to make program cuts. With the passage of the referendum in 2006, there was an expectation that there would be no tax increase until 2013. Because of careful and consistent budgeting, the anticipated date has been extended to 2019.

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 tied our last contracts to CPI which I believe is a fair model. When we negotiate contracts, we compare ourselves with a wide range of districts and we try to keep salaries mid range. My expectation is that teachers do need to be aware of current financial issues facing all districts at this time, but I feel it's essential to stay competitive with surrounding districts in order to attract and retain the most superior teachers. As we negotiate a new contract, I would expect it to cost the district, but be equitable to both sides.

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 am not in favor of large salary increases to boost pension benefits for any employees. With that being said, our district has followed TRS guidelines and believes in providing our administrators the same benefits as our teachers. I would never be in favor of paying a higher percentage for any employee which could incur penalties from TRS.