Gary Percy: Candidate Profile
Elgin-Area Unit 46 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.
Office sought: Elgin-Area Unit 46 School Board (4-year Terms)
Family: Married since 1984, 2 children, a 13 year old daughter, and a 16 year old daughter
Occupation: Aircraft Maintenance Crew Chief with American Airlines
Education: Graduated high school, attended the University of the District of Columbia; attended various training programs through AA, both technical, and workplace related, such as 737 school, 777 school, The Oz Principle, and 7 Habits of Highly Effective People.
Civic involvement: Citizens' Advisory Council of School District U-46, former State Representative Ruth Munson's Legislative Roundtable, former U.S. Congresswoman Melissa Bean's NCLB/Education Advisory Committee
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
Getting a handle on the budget, with more regard for the taxpayers of U46. That means looking at every item. It also means working with area legislators, both State and Federal, to reform programs where needed, and providing a stable revenue stream without raising taxes.
Key Issue 2
In order to tackle priority 1, pensions MUST be addressed, and soon. Unfortunately, the condition of the public pensions in Illinois is so abysmal that there are no easy fixes, everyone will hurt. Since taxpayers are already taxed to the limit we need to be creative, while involving ALL stakeholders.
Key Issue 3
Being active and involved with legislators at all levels of government to reform funding, such as Title I at the federal level, and unfunded mandates at the state level. Also, looking at school code reform, I think 1794 pages is somewhat excessive, in the process returning more control to local school boards.
With the racial discrimination lawsuit set to wrap up as early as February, do you think the district needs to do anything differently when it comes to addressing diversity in and among the schools?
I am not sure what you mean by address diversity. The District is obligated to educate every child. U-46 is pretty diverse now. I do think regardless of the lawsuit, new boundaries, and evaluation of school utilization is long overdue.
What do you think about the district's response to the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School? How is the district on safety, more generally?
I think the District's safety policy is fine, perhaps a little fine tuning here & there, but, overall the District does a fine job. Kudos to Mr. Heiderscheidt and his staff.
What do you think about the district's progress in getting more students to take AP classes and succeed on AP exams? Do you think it's a good strategy to urge more students into those types of classes?
The more that are able to take AP and Honors, without "dumbing down" the curricula, the better, however, we CANNOT lose sight of the vast majority of kids "in the middle". After reading a few posts on the district facebook page regarding AVID, it is suggestive, and implied by some that the program has, or is, morphing into something different than what it was intended to be, namely, a program for middle kids who are struggling, but haven't fallen through the cracks yet, at least that's the way I understood the program.
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?
In this competetive, globalized world, nationwide emphasis on voluntary common educational standards is a good thing. However, in order to produce a well-rounded graduate, you need a well-rounded curriculum, selecting courses and curricula just because someone is a Nobel Laureate is absurd. In any field there will be differences, those differences are what should be explored. Selecting any curriculum written by an advocate of 1 theory in that field, by definition gives short-shrift to opposing points of view.
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 think the academy programs are a great way to start students on their life path. Common-core hopefully will help students adjust to the global world as well. However, to be blunt, not every student can/should or will go to college, those are the students we need to reach, there will always be a need for HVAC people, auto mechanics, plumbers, carpenters, etc, basically, the "trades". Every student should have the opportunity to attend college, but, not every student will.
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