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updated: 2/22/2013 6:21 PM

Mary McNeill: Candidate Profile

Antioch District 34 School Board (4-year Terms)

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  • Mary McNeill, running for Antioch District 34 School Board (4-year Terms)

    Mary McNeill, running for Antioch District 34 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: Antioch

Website: Candidate did not respond.

Office sought: Antioch District 34 School Board (4-year Terms)

Age: 58

Family: Married with two daughters. My oldest daughter is married and a local attorney. She and her husband adopted their thirteen year old son when he was twelve so I'm having fun as grandma. My youngest is a junior at Loyola University.

Occupation: I retired this past summer having been a principal at both the W.C. Petty Elementary School and the Anioch Elementary School for twenty years. Prior to that I was a teacher in District 34, Fremont, and for SEDOl. I worked with students from Kdg. - 8th.

Education: Bachelor of Science in Educatiion, Master's Degree in Education, and Certificate of Advanced (CAS) Study in Administration

Civic involvement: I have been a Trustee on the Antioch Public Library Board since May 1995. Currently, I serve as Secretary of the Board. I am a member of the Antioch Woman's Club having recently joined this organization.

Elected offices held: Trustee for the Antioch Public Library - 1995 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

Ensuring our students have a curriculum designed to challenge them, and incorporating more technology as a tool into the curriculum for use by our students who already have a high comfort level with its use and will be competing for jobs in a global marketplace.

Key Issue 2

Continuing the District's goals to upgrade, maintain, and expand building facilities.

Key Issue 3

Communicate more effectively to and with our community stakeholdes. We all have a vested interest in making our schools the best they can be.

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 common core standards are rigorous, grade level specific standards, unlike our former Illinois Learner Standards, and more cimprehensive. The common core standards provide a framework for instruction as well as a way to compare our students' progress with other students in the other states who have also adopted these standards. Curriculum development is the role the teachers and professional educators should have. Input and direction from stakeholders including the Board is important. The curriculum is currently under going review to incorporate the common core standards and to make techniology more accessible to our students.

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 don't think i am ever satisfied with things as they are in the schools. I believe there are always things to mprove upon. Both of my children received a quality education from this District. However, then and now, there are ways to improve. I would like to see more focus on using and accessing technology and improving reading skills. I also believe that the adoption of the common core standards and the focus on meeting individual student learning needs through guided reading and other differentiated practices are the right pathways to continue to improve student learning. The focus, and student access to more technology is paramount for our students as is their capability to read and research the volumes of information at their fingertips.Their higher education and future job success require them to have a comfort level and an ability to use technology with ease.

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?

Currently, our District has been fortunate to maintain current programs and staff. Our biggest budget issue will be funding building upgrades and considering building new structures to eliminate the need for portables. The District currently has portables that allow for 16 classroom spaces. The portables are separated from the main buildings forcing students to walk in and out of the buildings for bathrooms, lunch, computers, and some specials. Funding sources may need to be explored, in the future, including looking at current fund balances to eliminate the need for portables and continue needed renovations.

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 three year contract was settled this past summer. Both the administration and the teachers made and supported compromise to settle negotiations. I was a part of that process and experienced first hand the compromises made and the consideration given to what was fair and within the confines of the District resources.

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, I would not support substantial pay increases prior to an administrator's retirement. Salary increases should be based on performance. Pay enhancements for administrators, tied to retirement, have, in part, contributed to the pension issues the State of Illinois is experiencing.