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Office sought: Central Unit District 301 School Board (4-year Terms)
Family: Married, 4 children
Occupation: Recently retired teacher,Central Unit School District #301
Education: Bachelor of Science in Education, Illinois State University, 1972 Masters in Teaching, Aurora University, 1998
Civic involvement: PRESENT: St. Charles Borromeo Church, Hampshire (currently a lector; formerly a Eucharist minister and member of the Education Council) PAST: Volunteer at PADS (Public Action to Deliver Shelter), DeKalb, IL Volunteer at Safe Passage, an organization that assists victims of domestic abuse, DeKalb, IL
Elected offices held: Secretary of Walden IV Estates Association
Have you ever been arrested for or convicted of a crime? If yes, please explain: No
Key Issue 1
FISCAL RESPONSIBILITY. Core standards, state mandates, student performance, buildings and transportation, and extra-curricular offerings are just some of the important considerations that every school district budget must address. Add to these our state legislature's indecision about funding teacher pensions, and we have an unclear fiscal picture. Budget discussions should be driven by core values and decision-making guidelines agreed upon by the Board to guide its financial decision making.
Key Issue 2
COMMUNICATION & ACCOUNTABILITY. As a unit school district, we must be accountable not only to the State of Illinois but, I believe just as importantly, to all stakeholders who assume a vested interest in the success of District 301. Therefore, I look forward to respectfully sharing open dialogue with everyone from parents and students, to teachers and support staff, to building and district administrators, to members and businesses of the community-at-large. Communication that is open, honest, and transparent is, I believe, essential to being accountable.
Key Issue 3
STAFF SUPPORT. I am extremely proud of District #301. For years, home buyers seeking good schools for their children have selected District 301. Our reputation, in large part, has been due to a productive synthesis of the Board of Education, administrators, and staff members. Today, additional expectations at all levels -- federal, state, and local provide added challenges both inside and outside of the classroom. On a daily basis, teachers address the wide range of academic, social, emotional, behavioral, and safety needs of their students. Likewise, other school personnel -- aides, nurses, bus drivers, lunchroom supervisors, maintenance workers, and office staff play very important roles in the everyday lives and successes of our children. As valued members of our educational community, they deserve our gratitude, respect, and support. In addition, our decisions as a Board should be guided by how we can best facilitate this support of staff members in meeting the needs of every student who walks through our doors.
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?
Ultimately, core standards provide focus, direction, and consistency within and among schools and school districts. The process of applying these standards is a monumental task spearheaded by the Director of Curriculum and involving scores of teachers and administrators at all levels. As a recently retired District 301 teacher, I am familiar with this ongoing process. My teaching experience of 28 years, I believe, provides me with the knowledge to discuss, question, and understand the impact that core standards can and should have on curriculum, class scheduling, instruction, and student performance.
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?
Kudos to District 301 for its efforts preparing students to advance successfully from elementary to middle school, middle school to high school, and beyond high school. The articulation of our curriculum accounts for much of this. Teachers understand what academic expectations await students at the next level. Career and college readiness begins early in the elementary grades and continues through high school. Also, various presentations, building tours, parent meetings, and literature help to prepare both students and parents for milestone transitions from elementary to middle to high school. Our exceptional elementary and middle school ISAT scores, repeatedly recognized by the state, are a clear indicator of successful student readiness. Our high school graduation numbers are high, as are the number of students who further their education or training beyond high school. Of course, the career and college readiness program should be revisited and re-evaluated on a consistent and ongoing basis to assure its continued success.
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?
District 301 has managed its revenues fairly conservatively over the years, which has proven beneficial in maintaining the success of its programs. Illinois school districts are currently in a holding pattern as they await the state legislature's decision regarding pensions. Once thatmissing piece? is provided, the Board will be better equipped to discuss the district's financial future. Increased taxation is not currently on my radar.
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?
Contractual talks should always be held in good faith. Whatever agreements are made should be fair and financially sound. Compromise and agreement can be reached with integrity from both sides of the table. Agreed upon salary freezes over the past several years indicate a level of understanding and cooperation between teachers and the district. As both an educator and parent, I believe it important that District 301 remain competitive in the Fox Valley area in an effort to attract good teachers.
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?
The state has placed a limit of 6% on such pension increases. I would not support anything beyond that parameter.