Kristine Bolin: Candidate Profile
Antioch District 34 School Board (4-year Terms)
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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.
Website: Candidate did not respond.
Office sought: Antioch District 34 School Board (4-year Terms)
Family: Husband,Roy; son,Ethan; daughter,Paige; son-in-law, Dave; and 2 grandchildren
Occupation: retired teacher
Education: Masters +26
Civic involvement: Board secretary for the Festival Arts of Antioch not-for-profit organization Conductor of the Antioch Festival Arts Chorus
Elected offices held: Antioch School district 34 school board member
Have you ever been arrested for or convicted of a crime? If yes, please explain: NO
Key Issue 1
Key Issue 2
Key Issue 3
Safety of our buildings
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 shift toward common core standards will help to align schools not only across the state but across the country to some degree. Students who move are sometimes negatively effected because schools do have different curriculum. It makes sense that all students should have basic knowledge of subject matter and skills. I believe is it important for boards to be fully informed about the changes and what impact it will have on students, curriculum, and the districts finances. Students at the elementary level need to not only master curriculum, but I believe that they need to be exposed to subjects and ideas as well. This is the level where most students are very open to new ideas and I see it as an opportunity at the elementary level to spark that interest. The curriculum should be balanced between reading and math, which seem to take up the lion's share of the curriculum at this point, and science and social studies. The last two curricular pieces have been somewhat side stepped with the focus on reading and math and the students have been shortchanged. You can teach reading and discuss and enhance reading with science and social studies. Curriculum should be integrated so that the students can see how all of the pieces fit together. District 34 has done that in the past and it was very successful. I believe that it may be moving in that direction again. Most importantly, there must be a plan that is visited often and revised as necessary without throwing out the entire plan. There are certain aspects that will always be true in education; children need repetition, challenge, no matter at what level they are performing, support in their efforts and teachers who are willing to "go off script" if necessary to help the student learn.
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?
With the change to common core it somewhat remains to be seen. My main concern is that the district has had 3 different curriculum directors in the past 4 years. There has been no real consistancy of what the currciulum should be and how it should be delivered. Our current curriculum leader is doing an outstanding job getting teachers to pull together and get our curriculum on the right track and aligning that curriculum to the common core and Illinois state standards. There are parts of the curriculum that are good, it may just not match with what the common core is now asking of our teachers and students. As I mentioned above, I believe that an integrated curriculum is a must. I also believe that the current practice in reading, not the what, but the how, should be looked at and addressed in possibly a different way. Best Practices need to be explored, but we shouldn't forget to examine what is working in our own district. Best Practices should be viewed as guidlines not gospel. We need to utlize the expertice of our teachers and staff to the fullest in order to make this district what I know it can be.
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?
As of now our budget is in pretty good shape, but that may not always be the case. As with other school districts across the state, the state is not meeting its financial obligation to the districts. Cuts, such as those to transportation, have also taken a toll. One of our budget dilemas is how do we get students back into our buildings instead of being housed in portables. This is not only a budget issue, but one of safety as well. The other is simply our payroll costs. It takes many people to educate students. How do we keep qualtity teachers and staff members, yet work within our budget? We will, again, need to be creative and thoughtful in how the district accomplishes this. I don't see the need for cuts to programs at this time, but an overall evaluation of programs, staff, professional development, and other things, such as how and where we spend our money, need to take place on a year to year basis. I have a difficult time supporting tax increases with so many people facing their own financial problems. We need to beging to look at our resources and think of creative ways to stretch our dollars. Instead of looking to outside sources for professional development, do we have staff with the expertise to lead some of these PDs? It would not only save the district money, but many times staff members are more likely to take on a project that is promoted by their peers. It has worked in the past in this district. We also need to look at what items that are necessary and directly impact students and their learning as opposed to what we would like to have. Unfortunately we are at a time when we need to look at doing more with less and I believe that we have people with the vision and creativity to accomplish that.
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?
Just this past summer the teachers' association and the board settled on a new 3 year contract. The teachers agreed to a soft freeze in this contract. The board needs to be aware that everyone will need to tighten their belts a bit as we face the future. All district staff will need to be willing to the give somewhat on what they would like to see in terms of raises and other benefits. There are creative ways inwhich to "reward" staff for their service without it being a monetary amount.
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 would not agree to a substantial increase. Districts across the state can not continue to boost raises of those making 6-figure salaries because the money isn't, or soon won't be there. At this time our state and retired employees are facing an unprecidented deficit in the retirement system. By boosting salaries of those making 6-figure salaries puts more burden on those that are already retired and threatens to system for those who will in the future be retiring in this system. This pension system is not a choice for those in education, but those that hold the purse strings can begin to be more responsible with how we spend those dollars so not to further endanger the system. The state needs to look at capping the total amount of retirement benefits and those making 6-figure salaries (or even smaller) need to look at other forms of retirement investment to supplement what they receive from the state retirement system.
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