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updated: 2/22/2013 6:21 PM

James DeVito: Candidate Profile

Big Hollow District 38 School Board (4-year Terms) (Independent)

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  • James DeVito, running for Big Hollow District 38 School Board (4-year Terms)

    James DeVito, running for Big Hollow District 38 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: Round Lake

Website: Candidate did not respond.

Office sought: Big Hollow District 38 School Board (4-year Terms)

Age: 46

Family: Melissa my wife of 22years Sons Jonathan and Ryan Jaxx a lab border collie mix (rescue) Morgen a pug

Occupation: Lieutenant with the Round Lake Fire Protection District where I have worked for the past 19 years.

Education: AAS in Fire Science from College of Lake County In fall of 2013 i will have a Bachelor degree from Southern Illinois University in Fire science management

Civic involvement: I Sit on the Board of Directors for the National Athletic Club (NAC) in Fox Lake

Elected offices held: Big Hollow District 38 Board Member from 2004-2008 and from 2010 to present

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

Candidate's Key Issues

Key Issue 1

Safety.. There is nothing more important than protecting our students and faculty in school.

Key Issue 2

We, as a Board, need to maintain continuity and stability in the school district. Our district has been gradually improving, yet at the same time staying financially conservative. My objective is to help keep that sensible attitude.

Key Issue 3

We need to focus on school district-community cooperation and involvement. A big part of that concern is to enhance the quality of education to each and every student in the Big Hollow district. We have to assess and improve our curriculum and technique of teaching. We can only do that is through better communication, and more up-to-date technology.

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 impact of the Common Core Standards will loom large as this is perhaps the biggest shift in educational philosophy in history. In sports, it is said that the coach gets too much praise for winning and a lot of criticism for losing. This will likely hold true for superintendents and principals when it comes to the Common Core Standards. The school's achievement or failure with the Common Core Standards in the end falls back on its leadership and there accountability. It is vital that administrators know what they are dealing with when it comes to the Common Core Standards. They need to have a plan for success in place that includes providing professional development opportunities for teachers, so they can be prepared in areas such as technology and curriculum. They also should find ways to get the community to welcome the significance of the Common Core. This will call for a shift in how and when some things are taught. The school board should not play a role in setting the curriculum for students; that is the job of the administrators and teachers.

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 am tremendously satisfied that the students of Big Hollow are well prepared for the next step. We have been focusing on our curriculum

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?

It is important that the board and the administration balance the needs of our students with the financial ability of the taxpayers who support our district. The secret is to work hard for our students with the means that taxpayers can afford. With all the changes that come out of Springfield it will be a big challenge for the board and the administration to be monetarily responsible and meet the needs of our children. Government mandates and fiscal limits present the board with a considerable challenge. The state places limits on the levy, for example, but there are no limits on our expenses such as utilities, insurance, and other expenses we have. We will need to be creative and thriftier, but at the same time, we need to do more to educate our children. That's a rough balancing act, and one that I believe I am capable to do based on my experience. If cuts have to be made, we will work with our Administrators, Teachers and Parents to prioritize the cuts, and to prioritize the return of services. This will be a big learning curve, and that's why experience will be critical. I have that experience.

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 we might be starting contract negotiations with the Teacher's Union soon, it is inappropriate to comment on this item at this time.

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?

Based on the experience of following the industry standard and state laws, I would not support the practice of providing salary increases to help boost their pension. Being generous to individuals comes at the expense of the taxpayers instead of the local district. It is very easy to be generous with someone else's money. It is painfully obvious now that none of us can afford it. This is not the policy of the board to engage in these practices. I have never voted for, or ever will, engage in this unethical practice.