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updated: 2/22/2013 6:06 PM

James Gaffney: 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



City: St. Charles

Website: Candidate did not respond.

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

Age: 65

Family: Married, 4 Children, 7 grandchildren, 2 great grandchildren.

Occupation: Retired, Past Owner/CEO of Electrical Construction Business

Education: High School Graduate (1965), Electrical Training (IBEW) Journeyman 1970/71. NECA Estimating, Business courses thru construction trade associations. IMSA Schooling (Traffic Signals & Work Zone). Licenses/Registered Contractor w/City of Aurora, Past Memb

Civic involvement: Been in the electrical industry since 1967. Board member CUSD 303 (past president) CUSD 303, Chairman of the Business Service Committee. Board member/trustee Fox River & Countryside, Fire/Rescue District. Past board member North Eastern Division of NECA. Past board member Private Bank & Trust, advisory. Past Paid on Call Fire Fighter. Shriner, Lions Club

Elected offices held: CUSD 303, board member (2003 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

To make sure every student who attends the D303 school system is educated to best of their abilities and they become a useful participants in our society.

Key Issue 2

To continue to hire the most competent educators, support personnel, and to always maintain a safe environment for our students.

Key Issue 3

Maintain a balance between the cost of quality education for the pupil and the cost to the taxpayer. Understanding that there are cuts/adjustments that can be accomplished - but - there are other costs that fall outside the control of the board. The adjustments must be made, if we are to maintain the quality of education our community expects.

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?

This is a difficult question, right now no one is sure what the legislators are going to do. As a business man, I have a hard time understanding how it seems as though the local taxpayer always ends up stuck for the failure of others to make good decisions. If you are in the private sector and your funds are misappropriated, there is no one to bail you out. Why then, should the local taxpayers be held responsible for bailing out the legislators for their bad decisions? So NO, it is not up to the local taxpayer to take on this financial burden to rescue the state officials, who made these bad decisions They must fix it -- without pushing it back to the local taxpayers.

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?

I was in favor of this. I felt it was well researched & presented by the district staff, including all the pro & cons. I felt this was the best solution to a concern of how to approach the decline in the number of students that Richmond was serving. At this time, the district is not incurring a down turn in population at the other elementary schools

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?

The tax levy is done on a year to year basis, and so while this coming year is 2.5%, subsequent years have not been decided. Administration presented a plan for the next five years, but the Board members must look at each year at the needs of the district and needs of the taxpayer. I did support this year's levy because I felt the need was there and being that the state is not picking up their financial end of the bargain. So, please understand,(in maintaining quality schools) that the districts only source of revenue, comes from Property Taxes.

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?

Yes, I do support the outcome of Summit, as the idea is to get direction from the community. The community spoke, and I, use this input in my decision-making. If any of these changes from Summit are proposed by the administration, the Board will need to look at how we will fund it within our current resources. We can't expect to add to the cost, but we can shift resources based on the community input.

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 am still researching and learning all I can about the common core shift, and before I come to final viewpoint I need to ask more questions. The Board of Education needs to review and discuss all the proposed changes, ask questions for clarity and understanding, and then make a decision on what is in the best interest of our students and their educational needs. While having good staff that have the expertise to make the recommendations to the Board is vital, it is the Board who needs to make sure, what is proposed fits our community.