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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.
City: St. Charles
Office sought: St. Charles Unit District 303
Family: Married to Lisa, 3 children (Two sons, one daughter)
Education:Benedictine University (1985) Double Major - Accounting-PE/Athletic Training
Civic involvement: Scouting, multiple terms on the Executive Board of the Proviso Teachers Union
Soccer Chairman for the Illinois Coaches Association - 15 years
Board Member/Coordinator for the Illinois High School Soccer Coaches Association
Volunteer Statistician for the IHSA for almost 20 years
Elected offices held: None
Have you ever been arrested for or convicted of a crime? If yes, please explain: No
Key Issue 1
Transparency - I hope to provide more transparency regarding decision-making in the district. Often decisions are made without adequate time for the public to understand policy ramifications, both educational and financial.
Key Issue 2
Fiscal Responsibility - We need to balance high-quality, efficient education with fiscal responsibility to the community that largely funds that education.
Key Issue 3
Faculty Needs - We have an exceptional staff in our district. I have always maintained that the two most critical components for effective schools are competent teachers and motivated students. We are fortunate to have these assets in our schools. We need to make sure that the teachers have the necessary tools to continue to provide high quality education to our students.
Do you believe St. Charles Unit District 303 taxpayers should shoulder more of the responsibility to fund local teacher pensions? Why or why not?
I don't believe we should be asking the taxpayers to take on the burden of a pension system implemented and mishandled by others. The system needs repair and reform that should be handled where the problems began. It is too onerous a burden to expect this community to fund a set of promises made by politicians who wish to shift that burden. This is especially unfair when one considers that we would be required to abide by rules we did not make for managing these funds.
What is your opinion of transition to grade level centers for the former Davis and Richmond Elementary schools? Should that approach be used with any other district schools?
Living in the Davis-Richmond attendance area, I was extremely disappointed by the manner in which the decision to merge the schools was reached. While there are certainly many positives, there are negatives as well. Because of the way the decision was reached, there was unnecessary strife and division brought to two communities as they were asked to become one.
Certainly, a phone message the day before a meeting with the ominous message that there would be a meeting in such short order "to discuss the future" of your child's school can be distressing. As both a teacher and a parent of several children who were to be affected by this decision, I invested a great deal of time researching the proposed change. Typically, a change of this scale and scope would involve a two-year window, which would include measured community input. We were given scarcely over two months.
There was no time, and it seemed no interest on the part of many on the board, to adequately weigh the merits and weaknesses of the district proposal. There were, and remain, logistical and other difficulties with the current constitution of the schools. Among these were concerns that were raised and dismissed at the time, and acknowledged only after the decision was essentially made.
I do not see this as an advantageous system for several reasons: it separates siblings, it causes a logistical problem for transportation by increasing traffic at and between schools, and it ultimately presents parents with the difficulty of having a child needing to be awake an hour or more than would otherwise be necessary at a time of critical brain development when adequate sleep is particularly important. Additionally, grade level centers of this type disrupt the neighborhood schools that many parents prefer.
Should such an approach be considered elsewhere in the district, I would work to ensure transparency in the decision-making process, so that parents and other community stake-holders will be informed and afforded the opportunity for real, meaningful input.
Do you support the current financial plan to increase the overall tax levy for the school district by 2.5 percent every year for the next five years? Why or why not?
I am opposed to increasing tax levies while many in our community have seen housing values decline at a time when they have seen no increase, and in some cases, decreases, in their pay. Efficiencies need to be sought throughout the district's budget, prioritizing spending on educational necessities first.
Do you support the results of the Summit 303 process, which called for more foreign language classes, a wider range or electives and a computer for every student in the district? How would you pay for them?
I am in favor of providing electives and foreign language classes to meet the needs of students. We must be certain to address educational necessities. Much of this can be accomplished via staff movement.
I do not see computers for each student in a district this size as a necessary public expenditure. Many students already have access to computers at home, and computers can be made available at school, as they are currently.
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?
I see common core standards as a minimum requirement put in place by people removed from our situation. I believe we exceed those standards. The board should oversee the implementation of any proposed curricular changes, in order to assure that they meet community standards. Proposals should be initiated by those paid to do so, and should be presented clearly and completely to the board for approval.