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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.
City: Vernon Hills
Website: Candidate did not respond.
Office sought: Diamond Lake District 76 School Board (4-year Terms)
Family: Married to Michael Seaver. 2 Sons, 4 grandchildren
Occupation: retired high school Theatre Director/Teacher freelance consulting company T.E.A., Ltd. (Theatre, Education and the Arts) Caregiver for my grandchildren
Education: Bachelor of Arts in Theatre Education, Knox College, 1973 Master of Arts in English, Purdue University, 1995 post-graduate work in directing, Purdue University
Civic involvement: fundraising for Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS Indiana Thespians: former Adult Executive Board member
Elected offices held: District 76 Board of Education member (2009-Present)
Have you ever been arrested for or convicted of a crime? If yes, please explain: No
Key Issue 1
My Number 1 campaign issue is making sure that District 76 continues to provide the best education possible for all of our students through a dedicated commitment to supporting our staff and providing them with the tools necessary to individualize instruction and maximize educational outcomes for our students.
Key Issue 2
My second campaign issue is to provide outreach to the community so that our constituents understand how and where their tax dollars are being used. Through a transparent, interactive relationship with the community, the Board will be better able to be held accountable for our financial decisions and educate our District 76 families on the importance of community support, both financial and through volunteerism.
Key Issue 3
My final goal as a Board member is to secure the future of the district through wise management of our financial and personnel resources.
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?
As an educator for over 30 years myself, I view the shift to the Common Core Standards as a positive step, making it easier for administrators to hold teachers accountable for instruction and for teachers to more accurately assess the progress of their students. The role of the Board in the implementation of curriculum is to hire the best possible Superintendent (we have!), and to rely on all of our administrators to serve as leaders in curriculum development with the staff as we make the transition to the new standards. Based on staff and administration recommendations, the Board must be willing to provide the funds for new textbooks and materials adoption to provide our staff with the tools they need to align our District with the Common Core Standards. The Board does not set the curriculum--that is the job of the administrators and the competent staff they have hired by doing their jobs to the best of their abilities.
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 believe the District is doing a good job, but we would like to see some aspects of our educational program improved. Certainly, in the area of technology, upgrades are critical. Alignment with the Common Core Standards and our curriculum review are all designed to move our students forward and improve the educational platform of the District as a whole.
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?
Clearly, in all school Districts, upgrading and maintaining the physical plant and technology are expenses for which we must budget. With the decline in the economy and the devaluation of many homes, our tax revenues and philanthropic support are down. Attempting to maintain an adequate fund balance and provide for unforseen expenses makes a balanced budget a challenge. District 76 is known for the excellence of our extracurricular activities and I have fought in the past and continue to fight for them in the future when budget cuts are discussed. I would rather see us use some smart technology and materials-saving strategies to reduce energy costs and materials waste rather than cut programming to our students. As far as taxes go, I believe that our community must realize that in order to keep our school district competitive with other districts, to appeal to prospective new families in the community, and to maintain the integrity of our academic program, our constituents must be willing to find a balance between their desire to keep their taxes as low as possible with their desire for their school to provide a top educational experience for their children.
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?
Our dedicated District 76 employees understand that limiting pay increases and benefits is never being undertaken as a display of a loss of faith or respect for the jobs that they do. Rather, I think they understand that we are doing everything we can in these difficult economic times to support our staff and acknowledge their efforts. Even small pay increases go a long way to validate our staff and assure them that we are on their side!
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?
Administrators' salaries are commensurate with the work they are required to do. Artificially bumping up salaries in the final year or two does increase pensions benefits, but when we are struggling to keep ahead of the financial tide, I do not feel that these substantial increases are the best use of our funds.