Sue Locke: Candidate Profile
Batavia Unit District 101 School Board (4-year Terms)
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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.
Website: Candidate did not respond.
Office sought: Batavia Unit District 101 School Board (4-year Terms)
Family: I have been married to my husband for 22 years. We have 2 boys in 5th and 3rd grade at Alice Gustafson Elementary School.
Occupation: I am a full time mother of 2 young boys. I also run a small business with my mother. We conduct Estate and Moving Sales and appraise antiques.
Education: Bachelor of Arts in Psychology, Aurora University, 1994
Civic involvement: I have been very active in both church and school activities. In the past I have served as a member of our church Council, served as a member of the Evangelism Team and presently help with the LOGOS program. I also currently serve as a Ways & Means PTO Board member at Alice Gustafson Elementary School. I have also served as Room Parent and on various other committees at the school including the Fun Fair and the Clothing Sale.
Elected offices held: Candidate did not respond.
Have you ever been arrested for or convicted of a crime? If yes, please explain: No
Key Issue 1
I believe that fiscal responsibility is the number one issue facing all school districts and governments right now. District 101 has gone through some major budget cuts over the past few years and that has been difficult on everyone. Teachers, students and parents have all made sacrifices. I do not want those sacrifices to have been made in vain. I believe it is the duty of all board members to preserve the fiduciary integrity of the school district.
Key Issue 2
Over the past several years due to budget cuts in District 101 class sizes have steadily risen. Although the research is mixed as to whether class size has an impact on test scores, that criteria alone cannot be the only criteria in determining student and teacher achievement. I would like to at least see the Board begin a dialog about reducing class size.
Key Issue 3
As a Board member it will be my responsibility to listen to the voice of the parents, teachers and community members and represent their voice. Communication between the Board and the public has been problematic in the past. Steps have been made to rectify this and I would like to see this continue and improve.
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?
Overall, I see the shift to the common core standards as a positive move for both schools and the children they educate. If today's children are to compete in a global marketplace, they must be competitive on both a national and international level. It should be the role of the board of education to work hand in hand with educators and parents in setting the curriculum for students. I like the fact that the standards are being phased in over a period of time, allowing students to adjust to the new curriculum. I would like to see more information available to parents regarding the common core curriculum and its' role in the school.
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?
District 101 has made great progress preparing students for the future, but there is always room for improvement. There is a great gifted and talented program in the elementary school level that I would love to see expanded beyond just reading and math. I would also like to see more trade classes come back in the high school.
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?
The way I understand it, the incoming board will be the first board in several years to actually have a surplus. This will be difficult to deal with because in the past it was easy, just say no to everything. Now some difficult decisions will need to be made. What programs get money, what doesn't, does something get reinstated? It will be extremely difficult. As to tax increases, the only way I can see supporting a tax increase would be regarding the pension situation and what Springfield decides to do. Then, I do not see that there would be an alternative, but I would be open to listening to any and all options.
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?
We are very fortunate in District 101, over half of our school employee groups actually live in the district. Therefore, they have a vested interest in the outcome of both contract negotiations and quality of life in Batavia. In recent years, teachers did give some concessions to the board and as a parent I was extremely proud of how the teachers and the board were able to work together and resolve issues. In this economy, there must be some give and take on both sides in order for progress to be made.
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?
As it happens our superintendent is retiring this summer, and as much as I wish him well, I do not support a substantial increase in his pay to help boost pension benefits. State law allows for only a 6% increase and one only needs to look at Schaumburg Township Elementary District 54 to see what a mess that District has gotten into by trying to do this very thing. I can understand why this was done in the past, but times have changed and this definitely needs to be addressed as a part of pension reform. In the future it is the local citizenry that is going to be paying a portion of the retirement pension on their tax bill. It is the school board's responsibility to be good stewards of the district's money, not only for the student's in the schools, but also for the community as a whole.
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