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updated: 2/22/2013 6:06 PM

Clare Ollayos: Candidate Profile

Elgin Community College School Board (6-year Terms) (Independent)

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  • Clare Ollayos, running for Elgin Community College School Board (6-year Terms)

    Clare Ollayos, running for Elgin Community College School Board (6-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: Elgin

Website: Candidate did not respond.

Office sought: Elgin Community College School Board (6-year Terms)

Age: 58

Family: Married, husband: Scott R. Fladland, D.C. No children.

Occupation: Chiropractic physician since 1988.

Education: St, Edward Central Catholic High School Class of 1972 attended Smith College autumn 1972-spring 1974 BS Health Sciences Summa Cum Laude Boston University 1977 Doctor of Chiropractic, National University of Health Sciences Aug 1987

Civic involvement: ECC Board of Trustees 1995-present; ECC Foundation Board 94-95,(capital campaign co-chair) Community Chair for Grand Opening,ECC Visual and Performing Arts Center, 1993-94. Elgin Cultural Arts Commission 1991-98, including two years as Chairman; YWCA Board 83-87,89-91; Elgin Public Museum Board 1993-present; Independent Players Board of Directors 1979-89, Altrusa International 1989-present, Elgin Chamber Enhanced 911 referendum. Gail Borden Public Library referenda (2), New Century Partnership for Elgin (early '90's), Advisory Boards of: Elgin Youth Symphony Orchestra, E.C.C. Massage Therapy. On U-46 community committee for building the Larkin High School Performing Arts Center. Fox Valley Arts Hall of Fame selection committee 2004-present. Larkin Center ad hoc committee. Have chaired and MC'e events for Altrusa, Fox Valley Beaux Arts,ECAC, Women of Grace and Dignity, Elgin Symphony League, YWCA, Sister Cities Russian Cultural Exchange "Poteshki". Performed with Lisa Boehm Ballet Theatre 1970-76and 1980-2002. Fundraised as Chair of Elgin Area Performing Arts 1981-1989 to have the ESO Play for the annual Nutcracker at Hemmens. With Illinois Community College Trustees Association (ICCTA, have served as Sect'y, VP- President, Awards Chair, Gov Relations Committee. Currently serving term on national the national community college trustees board (ACCT.) Have testified before a state legislative task force on CC's and on Health Education grants.

Elected offices held: District 509 ECC Board, first elected in 1995, re-elected 2001 and 2007.

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

Candidate's Key Issues

Key Issue 1

Student success and completion. ...The national dialogue concerning post-secondary education at community colleges in particular has progressed from "access and affordability" to "success and completion". (The three key campaign issues listed are actually interwoven.)

Key Issue 2

Fiscal responsibility: best use of our resources through planning, and financial literacy for students. Fiscal responsibility has local, regional and national repercussions. Financial literacy and review of program of study and paying for it has both short and long term repercussions for students, too.

Key Issue 3

Strengthening opportunities for internships/business partnerships/responsiveness to area businesses. This is a part of student success and completion, and is also interwoven with fiscal responsibility, as internships can lead to better career placements and a stronger workforce for employers.

Questions & Answers

With enrollment up at my many community colleges, it can be challenging to keep pace as far as available classroom/lab space, the number of qualified teachers and available course work options. How would you manage that?

The college engages in an ongoing thorough and vigorous planning process. As trustees, part of our role is to be involved with national and international trends, including career trends and best practices. We also engage with the community to see what is needed by our businesses, students and potential students. ECC has recently been recognized for several best practices: a) financial planning with students, so they access scholarship and grant money and so they don't take on more student loan debt than necessary; b) our budget and financial transparency; and c) our College Readiness Alliance, which works with our K-12 disctrict schools to align high school graduation requirements with college entry standards. (It was one of my biggest "AHA!" moments as a trustee to fnd out that high school graduation requirements did not fully align with preparation and ability to do college basic math, reading and composition.) It should also be said that the actual management per se of the three areas you listed is the responsibility of the college president working internally with input from deans, faculty, and staff, and externally with community members and employers. Trustees have the big picture/vision role.

In tough economic times, many students (and working professionals) turn to a community college for its educational value. How do you ensure that a person's financial sacrifice results in an educational benefit?

There are several ways that is addressed: Career counseling and assessment helps to make sure the student is properly focused and enrolled. Our courses are accredited and/or meet standards of professional associations, so they are recognized as quality courses, and are taught by outstanding, properly credentiale faculty. As noted above, ECC works with students to make sure if they are eligible for grants or scholarships, those are accessed first whenever possible. We have worked hard to keep our tuition affordable. Many of our programs have advisory committees made up of working professional in the field, and we have been continuing to ramp up internships.

Is a tax rate increase needed and, if so, how do you justify it?

E.C.C. does not drive the tax rate. We levy a dollar amount. Each County Clerk's office determines the tax rate for their portion based on each individual county. We are still issuing bonds from the 2009 capital referendum.

Community colleges provide many services to a diverse population. Is there a service your college should be providing that it is not, or reaching a segment of the population that it is not?

We identified that students needed financial counseling in order to better manage their schol experience, complete sucessfully and not have amountain of debt when they finish, or drop out and have debt they can repay. We continue to have a signficant number of students of all ages who are the first in their families to go to college, Many are members of various ethnic minority populations. Partof the college's work through the College Readiness Alliance, Youth Leadership Academy and partnerships with community organizations such as the YWCA, Boys and Girls Clubs, and Hamilton Wings to name a few, work to develop leadership, academic and hands on skills and college focus. We have noted that African American males as a group are showing low high school graduation rates.

If you are a newcomer, what prompted you to run for the community college board? If you're an incumbent, list your accomplishments or key initiatives in which you played a leadership role.

1)Achieving the Dream (we have recently been designated a Leader School- the only Community College in Illinois to be designated such.) 2) College Readiness Alliance I do need to point out that a couple other trustees were more directly involved in these two initiatives than I was, but I was fully supportive and was serving in ICCTA and ACCT officer or committee capacities as my focus. 3) In my previous role as Trustee Liaison to the ECC Foundation, I had a leadership role in helping forge a more focused working relationship between the Board of Trustees and the ECC Foundation. 4) As President of the Illinois Community College Trustees (ICCTA), our state association made up of all districts, I led the effort to revisit the state funding formula and also to have it affirmed in state law that community colleges are units of local government, because wording in one state law contradicted another law which put us in an ambiguous position. One of my other functions as the President was to support initiatives by other trustees, one for a Board Chair roundtable(which has been very successful) and also to do an "economy of scale" multiple person registration discount for schools to better afford the best practices continuing education for more trustees. That, too, was not my idea but I led the Executive Board to approve it as a pilot program. That also proved to be successful. I was elected to the Association of Community College Trustees (ACCT) in October of 2011 as a culmination to work on multiple committees and advocating along with my colleagues to preserve and strengthen federal programs to benefit community college students and their families.