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: Central Unit District 301 School Board (4-year Terms)
Family: I'm married with 4 children, ages ranging from 5 - 15.
Occupation: Information Management
Education: Timothy Christian Schools
Civic involvement: BOE CCUSD #301 Member since 2009, Central District Baseball League Coach
Elected offices held: BOE CCUSD #301, 2009 - Present
Have you ever been arrested for or convicted of a crime? If yes, please explain: No
Key Issue 1
It is very important to me that CCUSD #301 maintains fiscal responsibility. The State of Illinois is in the process of pension reform which will have a massive effect on school districts. As a resident of a district that relies heavily on property taxes for funding, it very important that CCUSD #301 remains fiscally responsible to continue the superior educational opportunities that have been afforded our community. As a professional with an accounting background, I am well suited to this task.
Key Issue 2
The introduction of the Common Core State Standards, and upcoming changes to mandatory State testing, will require the implementation of additional technology in our schools. It would be great to see our schools move toward one-to-one computing. Our children live in the age of information. To truly engage our students, to continue to promote college and career readiness, requires the use of technology in our classrooms.
Key Issue 3
It will come as no surprise to many, including the district administration, that I am a champion of the All Day Kindergarten program. My oldest son attended the last all day kindergarten program offered by the district back in 2002-2003. With the introduction of the Common Core, and the new rigorous standards being set by the state, and our district, the support of early education is very important.
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 has been adopted in 45 out of 50 states, and is now being implemented in CCUSD #301. I have been a member of the district's Curriculum Committee for the past four years. Our curriculum is developed by Subject Area Committees, which is comprised of teachers. This information is then reviewed and voted on by the Curriculum Committee, before being presented to the Board of Education. Recommendations for approval come from the teachers and administration. At this time, there are no plans for dramatic adjustments to our curriculum. While we will likely continue to add enhancements, I do not believe any major changes to our current structure is necessary. Our teachers and administration have done an excellent job getting themselves, and the students, ready.
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?
CCUSD #301 focuses heavily on college and/or career readiness - even in elementary school. As a member of the district's curriculum committee, we have spent a lot of time reviewing testing, achievement levels, and the required courses needed to encourage and support student success. I would continue to support these efforts and improvements if elected for another term.
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?
CCUSD #301 is fiscally responsible. Our current and past BOE members have done a great job of maintaining a balanced budget. Moving forward, the current state run pension system may be shifted to the responsibility of the district. This could create budget deficits. However, I am extremely budget conscious, and will utilize my background, to help make wise, well informed, decisions. Our district already relies heavily on property taxes, and I do not anticipate supporting any additional tax increases unless absolutely necessary.
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?
Our district entered into a new two-year contract with our teachers and staff this past summer. I was on the Negotiation Committee and worked with our union and administration toward a contract that met our district's needs. Unless there is a large shift in funding in the state (which is currently 50 out of 50 states in terms of funding of education), or a dramatic increase in available business taxes in the next two years, I would not anticipate any major changes in compensation for district employees. The issue of how the state funds our teacher's pensions, will definitely need to be taken into consideration in the coming years.
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?
Definitely not, that would be completely against my belief in fiscal responsibility not to mention being morally corrupt.