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updated: 2/22/2013 6:06 PM

Corinne Pierog: Candidate Profile

St. Charles Unit District 303 School Board (4-year Terms) (Independent)

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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.

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BioKey IssuesQ&A

 

Bio

City: St. Charles

Website: Candidate did not respond.

Office sought: St. Charles Unit District 303 School Board (4-year Terms)

Age: 61

Family: Married Three adult children Three granddaughters, two of whom will be attending St. Charles Schools

Occupation: Consultant and Educator

Education: MBA in Business Management, Roosevelt University, 2005. Master of Arts in Arts Administration, San Francisco State University, 1979. Bachelor of Arts in Theater & Television, University of California Irvine, 1974.

Civic involvement: State of IL Social Enterprise Task Force - Business Enterprise Committee. Show You Care Kane Referendum in support of Individuals with Developmental Disabilities- Volunteer. City of St. Charles Housing Commission - Appointed Member.

Elected offices held: St. Charles D303 School Board, Elected Member 2009- 2013

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

Candidate's Key Issues

Key Issue 1

Strong schools create a strong community which develops a strong local economy.

Key Issue 2

Ensuring that all of our students regardless of ethnicity, economic means, or talents is given the opportunity to succeed to the best of their ability.

Key Issue 3

Stewarding the limited tax dollars of the community to achieve maximum results.

Questions & Answers

Do you believe St. Charles Unit District 303 taxpayers should shoulder more of the responsibility to fund local teacher pensions? Why or why not?

While shifting the state's normal cost obligations onto school districts may provide some relief to the state's budget it will not mitigate these financial obligations, and will instead push them onto school districts that, on average, already derive the majority of their revenue from local sources. One of the grave concerns I have about this proposal is that Springfield seems perfectly content to shift all of the costs onto school districts while maintaining legislative control over the design of the benefits package. Going forward it is vitally important for school districts to be prudent fiscal partners with the state by developing economically sustainable pensions which eliminates the retirement sweeteners for future retirees

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 ther district schools?

The Davis - Richmond School merger was unique to that neighborhood and will not be repeated in any other primary school in the district. The merger of these two schools has blended two unique neighborhoods separated by Prairie Street in to one contiguous learning community. A burgeoning and overcrowded Davis School now has room to support its early learners with an emphasis on literacy. The underutilized Richmond School has now become a center for foreign language development, computer assisted learning, enhanced science curriculum and a longer school day. The success of these two schools has recently been recognized by the Illinois State Board of Education Academic Excellence Award for 2012 as one of 81 statewide recipients of the ISBE Academic Improvement Award for 2012 for making substantial gains in student performance. I voted in support of this merger and am proud to have done so.

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?

Supposedly, there are two things in life we can't avoid -- death and taxes. Illinois is ranked as the 7th highest property taxed state in the United States, and the primary recipients of local property tax dollars are our public schools. Currently Illinois ranks 49 out of 50 in its level of funding support for public education. The proposed 2.5% increase in the tax levy has been developed as a method to create fiscal integrity to the school district's budget by keeping pace with the estimated increase in the cost of living. There are fixed costs which the district can control such as salaries, but cannot control the costs of variable expenses such as utilities, gas, oil, electricity, etc. If these fixed costs increase and if the district's budget is held flat over an extended period to time, the increase costs will be diverted to the fixed budget which ultimately will reduce staff and potentially increase class sizes. Education funding can either support our families, or slam the door on their economic future. While we desperately want tax relief the actual change must come from Springfield. Springfield has been promising to repair the way Illinois funds its schools for over a generation. It is now time that they live up to their pledge.

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?

Summit 303 was convened in 2011 to assist the Board of Education understanding of the community's beliefs, aspirations, desires and priorities related to public education; to provide an avenue for reaching community consensus on issues concerning how declining enrollment and the current economic conditions affect allocation of resources; and to invite and involve the community in District planning and decision making. Summit 303 focused on 21st Century learning and the skills students need to compete successfully in the world-wide employment market place through innovation and creativity while having access to 21st Century learning tools. The community reaffirmed the pride it takes in the quality of our schools and recognizes the need for students to develop these skills. The community identified Foreign Language instruction, access to technology across all grade levels, and middle school EXPLORE program enhancements as highly desirable. The community expects District 303 schools to meet the changing needs of students and pursue these enhancements, but to do so in a fiscally responsible manner. The community charged the district to seek the addition of programs which deliver instruction in and develop 21st Century Skills such as collaboration, creativity, project-based learning and the ability to evaluate data; act in a fiscally responsible manner in adding additional programs; the phasing of new programs is preferable to seeking new sources of funding to support the implementation of the programs. As a school board member I am helping the community to achieve their goals.

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 State Standards provide a consistent, clear understanding of what students are expected to learn, so teachers and parents know what they need to do to help them. The standards are designed to be robust and relevant to the real world, reflecting the knowledge and skills that our young people need for success in college and careers. A major effort of our schools is to consistently improve student learning and achievement. Rigorous academic standards are in place to define what students should know and what students should be able to do grade by grade. The content and performance skill statements align with the Common Core standards in Literacy and Math provide a structure for a program of quality instruction and assessment. The Common Core Standards uses a computer program called Acuity which enables teachers to accurately target instruction to the Common Core Standards in reading and mathematics. The Common Core Standards launched in 2010 will be fully implemented in 2013 -2014 and measured by the Illinois Standards Achievement Test (ISAT) which is administered yearly in grades 3-8. The Board of Education continually works with its educators, administrators, content experts, professionals and parents in developing a robust curriculum for our students preparing them for a technological and diverse 21st century work-place

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