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.
Website: Candidate did not respond.
Office sought: Antioch District 34 School Board (4-year Terms)
Family: Married 32 years, wife Kristine, 2 children, 2 grand children,
Occupation: I have and continue to work in the Information Technology field for over 30 years. 15 years of which was as an administrator in a large public school, the remainder in the private sector.
Education: Candidate did not respond.
Civic involvement: Candidate did not respond.
Elected offices held: Candidate did not respond.
Have you ever been arrested for or convicted of a crime? If yes, please explain: No
Key Issue 1
Financial responsibility. Current school district projections show that at current spending levels we will be borrowing money in the next 4 years or so to meet daily expenses. This needs to be turned around now.
Key Issue 2
Consistancy in our curriculum. We have had 3 curriculum directors in the last 4 years. Along with 2 superintendents in that same time. Each has brought their own approach to curriculum direction in the district. We need to have a curriculum plan that will stay intact when staff in these and other positions changes.
Key Issue 3
Representation, trust, transparency and respect for the citizens of the school district. The school district has been down graded financially by the state, we are one step away from being put on an academic watch list for at least one of our schools and we are deficit spending with the possibility of borrowing money to meet daily expenses in the coming years and we have recently given pay raises of up to 25% to the administrative staff. The general public most likely does not know this, as the school board while meeting their legal requirements chooses to not make this information very public. The school board has put together several plans for a building referendum. The plans range from 30 to 47 million dollars. The board has narrowed it down to two plans, starting at 30 million dollars. I never saw a 5, 10 or 15 million dollar plan. The current plans have a lot of wants and wishes in the plans. We need to concentrate on the actual needs. I believe that the portables in the district can be replaced with less than 30 million dollars. I believe the school district can do better in getting good information to the citizens of our community than posting the information on thier website. Taking into account the economic condition the last several years, now is not the time to push for a 30 million dollar referendum.
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?
This question represents the current plan from the state. What about next year or 4 years from now? Is this plan sound and has it been proven? We have a vast ammount of knowledge and expertise within out teaching staff that I feel is under utilized and under valued. Remember "No Child Left Behind", it was found out that the information in that plan was skewed/manipulated to support the plan. If the district has a good curriculum plan in place, the common core standards would most likely already be within the plan. While small tweaking here and there may be required to fully comply, we should not merely jump at the next big thing to hit education.
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?
There is always room for improvement. We need to be more consistant with curriculum and teaching methods. We need to utilize the knowledge and experience our teaching staff has to offer. We need to make sure when we implement changes that they are fully thought out implemented and evaluated over a measurable time.
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?
Lack of full funding by the state. The concern of the state pushing the pension responsibility to the schools. Administrative salary expense increases of 15%-22% this year. Hold the line on administrative positions and salary increases. Look at all staff positions that have been added in the last 3-5 years and determine if they are still required. Make sure that these positions have a clear need and set clear goals for the future (3-5 years). I don't support a tax increase. However if you cannot make up any deficit with cuts the public should be given the choice of approving a tax increase or making additional cuts. Board members need to represent the community, and not always make the choices for them.
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?
What group of working people can say that their goal is to never get a pay increase or benefit increase? This is an ongoing issue with everyone from small to large companies as well as the public sector. The answer is to achieve a common goal in this area while being financialy responsible.
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?
No. This practice only increases the current pension problems. I believe that the pension system should have caps. If a school district wants to pay a superintendent a very large salary thats fine, however his pension would be capped at some reasonable figure.