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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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Office sought: Aurora West Unit District 129 School Board (4-year Terms)
Family: Married with three children and four grand children
Education: Bachelor of Science in History, Coe College, 1967 Master of Science in Education, Northern Illinois University, 1980
Civic involvement: IWCOA Hall of Fame Selection Committee, mid 1990s - present IHSA Individual State Wrestling Tournament Weigh-in Coordinator, 2005- present IHSA Dual Team State Wrestling Tournament Weigh-in Coordinator, 2004-present National Wrestling Hall of Fame-Illinois Chapter; Co-Chairman, 2001-2012 IWCOA Board Member, mid 1990s - 2010 Illinois Wrestling Coaches and Officials Association; President, 1977
Elected offices held: Orchard Valley Homeowners Association Board Member, 2005-2007 Orchard Valley Homeowners Association President, 2007-present
Have you ever been arrested for or convicted of a crime? If yes, please explain: No
Key Issue 1
Over the past few years I have noticed a significant number of staff have left District 129 and continued their careers at other academic institutions particularly at the building administrative level. I believe consistent quality leadership at the building level fosters a better educational environment. We need to foster the retention of quality staff/administrators by addressing such issues as school climate, adequate resources and/or compensation.
Key Issue 2
I am somewhat concerned that the high school has had two 'temporary? interim building principals (one every other day) for almost two years now. I comprehend a one-year circumstance, but two years of an every-other-day principal raises concerns relative to the absence of consistent building leadership. If we have been looking, why has the search gone on so long? If we have not been looking, why not?
Key Issue 3
Two new developments have recently appeared on the educational horizon: the development of Common Core Standards and the Danielson Framework for teacher evaluation. I believe both are positive endeavors currently embraced by the district. I believe that given the time, the training and the resources, the district staff will be able to dramatically improve its teaching and learning.
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 support the movement to the Common Core Standards. Additionally, the board of education should embrace policies that promote staff development regarding Common Core Standards training as well as strategies and resources for implementing these standards.
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?
I believe that my district is on the correct path for preparing students for the next stage of their lives. But educational development is a slow and ever-changing process and patience is essential. Instructional coordination is essential to success, consequently, academic leaders should be allotted appropriate time to move their respective curriculum towards the common core strategies.
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?
Given the current economic situation in Springfield, I can anticipate that the State of Illinois will continue its lack of adequate support for education state funding will probably be a serious budget issue to the district. Funding education via property taxes, I believe, is a flawed practice because of the variations property values from community to community. At this point I am not familiar enough with specific budget items to state if any areas should be cut. I am in a similar position regarding tax increases.
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?
It is my understanding and I lack most of the details - that the district employees have been under a voluntary salaryfreeze? (to some degree) for the past three years. I believe education is society'ssilver bullet? and consequently excellent academic institutions are essential to the prosperity of the community. As a board we must find a way to hire thebest and the brightest? teachers and administrators and retain them! This is fundamental to maintaining the tradition of excellence.
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 now prohibits any increase in salary beyond 6% each year towards pensions. I would oppose extending existingfringe? benefits beyond the superintendent?s/administrator's retirement (health care, etc.). Individuals signed on to the profession knowing full well what they would receive when they left. Additionally, retirement incentives were once implemented to promote higher salaried employees to leave so that districts could replace them with younger and cheaper staff. This strategy was once seen as a cost-saver for the district. This would not necessarily be the case with administrators/superintendents. Lastly, given the current system, it places a greater financial burden on the state.