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updated: 3/19/2013 8:58 AM

James Strezewski: Candidate Profile

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

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

    James Strezewski, 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: 43

Family: Married, 2 children

Occupation: Accountant - Commercial Real Estate

Education: Bachelor of Science - Public Accounting - Loyola University 1992

Civic involvement: Candidate did not respond.

Elected offices held: Board of Education - District 96 - Member

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

Candidate's Key Issues

Key Issue 1

Our focus is consistently on the children. By prioritizing the quality of their education, the children receive an irreplaceable experience in our District that maximizes their potential as well as their ability to interact socially.

Key Issue 2

We have been and will be committed to implementing the Common Core Standards. We also intend to challenge the Common Core platform by raising the bar within our district; the status quo should continually be challenged.

Key Issue 3

The Board continues to operate within the context of our fiduciary duty to the tax payers and will never lose sight of that. We have been able to historically develop and maintain financial stability for the District even under the recent, harsh economic conditions. We need to continue our trend of being fiscally responsible to the taxpayers while maintaining the high-quality education that is currently available to the 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?

The Board and Administration fully support the shift to the Common Core Standards. The Board's role currently, and in the future, is to make available the necessary resources to facilitate that shift. While it is the also role of the Board to understand the requirements of the Core Curriculum Standards and approve the process by which the District implements those standards, it is the role of the District's Administration to carry through with that plan. My professional background lends itself to maintaining control around the cost of that implementation and preparing for any unforeseen fiscal issues. I intend to continue contributing that expertise as we (Board and Administration) manage the implementation.

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?

Our District does an excellent job of preparing the children both academically and socially for each stage of their lives. From the public accolades down to the individual parental feedback received, the District proves it is a leader in that respect. The Board continues to support the District's efforts to lead the education community. The District also supports the Social and Emotional Learning (SEL) objectives into the curriculum which are specifically designed to help prepare the children for life's lessons outside of a pure academic process. This academic/SEL experience is constantly evolving and is something we consider critically important for the children's development.

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 Board constantly monitors the District's financial position and the taxpayers should expect no less. We monitor the historic, current and projected financial results of the District. This helps the Board maintain a proactive approach to the changing economic environment that we operate in. Stability is as important to us as it is to all taxpayers and we are determined to operate in as stable an environment as possible. This stability is also what helps prevent program reductions and eliminations and by being fiscally responsible, we can hopefully avoid those painful decisions. We are constantly monitoring legislative activity as States struggle to maintain current funding levels and are anticipating any affect it may have on 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?

The Board consistently tracks the compensation of surrounding districts, but also feels there is more to our District than a duplicative compensation plan. We added an element of compensation that is linked to anincentive-like? program encouraging District employees to engage in activities that collectively serve the best interests of the children. We also link compensation to the Consumer Price Index (CPI) to ensure that there is real economic growth.

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?

We do not think that an arbitrary increase in salary levels to boost pension benefits is necessarily in the best interests of the District at any level. As with any key employee departure, compensation discussions are very dynamic and based on the requirements of the position, the economic environment in which that decision is being made, and the non-monetary benefits the position has to offer each candidate; a pay increase is not the stand-alone factor in filling a key position.