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updated: 2/22/2013 6:05 PM

Garrick Grizaffi: 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.

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BioKey IssuesQ&A



City: Batavia

Website: Candidate did not respond.

Office sought: Batavia Unit District 101 School Board (4-year Terms)

Age: 48

Family: Married to my wife Nanette for 22 years Daughter Miranda age 18 Son Benjamin age 11

Occupation: Assistant Superintendent for the Valley View School District 365U

Education: Bachelor of Science in Political Science from Illinois State University with a concentration in Public Service, 1986 Masters of Science in Education from Northern Illinois University, 1993

Civic involvement: Youth sports coach Referendum committee member for new elementary schools Past President of the Illinois Association of School Business Officials

Elected offices held: Candidate did not respond.

Have you ever been arrested for or convicted of a crime? If yes, please explain: No

Candidate's Key Issues

Key Issue 1

The financial climate of our state will continue to impact local taxing bodies. My background in school finance will help to navigate the impact of declining resources while maintaining the high level of services our families expect.

Key Issue 2

I believe District 101 has been well run over the years. It is my desire to continue to see the district serve our community and be a treasure the entire community will respect and support. That means continued connection with our business community and those residents who may not have children attending our schools.

Key Issue 3

Preparing students for post-secondary life requires planning and commitment from all stakeholders. The world operates on a global scale and we need to prepare students for this ever-changing world by helping them to become engaged, dynamic citizens of the planet.

Questions & Answers

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 standards are internationally bench-marked. This means that our standards will compare favorably to standards of other countries. The Common Core Standards will also allow comparison of standardized test scores accurately between all 50 states. The CC will increase the rigor in the classroom and thus better prepare students for college and the global workforce. However, this could mean that 4- and 5-year-olds will be expected to write 'informative/explanatory reports' and demonstrate 'algebraic thinking. This will be a challenge to say the least for most any five-year-old. While well intentioned, there are several drawbacks to the CC, such as the difficulty of the transition period from our current standards and the cost to school districts to administer the new testing regimen. Boards of Education will have to determine the impact to its current policies the common core movement will have, and act in both a proactive and reactive manner.

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?

The number of students who meet or exceed state standards on the PSAE test continues to hold or increase over the last several years. I believe there is room to grow, and the new Common Core standards and PARCC assessment will be a real challenge for teacher and student alike. I would like to see a greater emphasis the importance of technology. It is hard to imagine any facet of how we live our lives that doesn't incorporate some level of technology.

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 pension crisis is one of the biggest fiscal challenges schools will face since tax caps were mandated in 1991 for the collar counties. While the true impact will not be known until a solution is defined, you can be sure it will have an impact on local taxing districts, especially schools. In my opinion the beneficiaries of the pensions need to shoulder some of solution. The school district itself receives no direct benefit from TRS. Only after a solution is defined can the impact be measured. It may take both reductions of services and small tax increases to implement a solution that avoids draconian actions and reductions.

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?

I do not believe the certified and classified staff who work in D101 have a salary schedule or benefit structure that would be considered extravagant. If the revenue were sufficient to support an increase, and test scores remained at or near the top of the comparison group, then yes teachers and support staff should receive an increase. I believe our staff in D101 have recognized and adopted to the difficult times we have been living in.

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?

I do not believe in salary bumps or golden parachutes for the sake of pension-spiking to enhance someone's pension annuity. If a superintendent is performing above expectations, they should be rewarded based on their performance. Many people may believe pension-spiking caused our current pension-crisis, but it had a very minor impact. I still would not support the idea.