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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: College Of DuPage School Board (6-year Terms)
Family: Married 43 years to Kay Agustin Two adult children; Michael & Emily One son-in-law; Jesse Irwin
Occupation: Retired Architect Veteran U.S.Navy (1961-1965)
Education: Bachelor of Achitecture, University of Illinois at Chicago Circle, 1973
Civic involvement: Naperville Township Democratic Organization Precinct Committeeman, Precinct 006 NTDO Precinct Committeeman of the Year 2012
Elected offices held: Committeeman Precinct 006, Naperville Township Democratic Organization
Have you ever been arrested for or convicted of a crime? If yes, please explain: No
Key Issue 1
As a retired architect with more than 30 years of on-site field observation and project management for major construction projects, I have the necessary skills to bring to the Board in monitoring construction expenses, change orders and construction management of the current and future projects at the college. The taxpayers of District 502 deserve to have an advocate when it comes to the expenditure of their tax dollars. It would be my duty as a Board Trustee to ensure that those dollars are spent wisely.
Key Issue 2
The mission of the college is to be a center for excellence in teaching, learning and cultural experiences by providing accessible, affordable and comprehensive education for any who want it. Educating our students for their futures involves being aware of new opportunities that are or will become available for their benefit. New technical skills are being required everyday in both the classroom and in the workplace and it is the responsibility of the college to be able to provide those necessary skills. Whether preparing for additional university education or technical training for the workplace, courses taught at COD can be a benefit to any who participate in them. COD has joined the Illinois Network for Advanced Manufacturers (INAM), a consortium of 21 community colleges, to determine future trends and needs in order to provide the proper educational experiences so that students can be prepared for these challenging new technical jobs. Over 50,000 jobs in our state remain unfilled because not enough potential employees are trained in the skills required for these positions. COD can and will through theEarn and Learn Advanced Manufacturing Career Lattice Program? provide that training so that individuals seeking additional training can do so while simultaneously working in the industry. As a Trustee, I would like to ensure that the programs at COD are maintained to be current and relevant with the ever growing needs and requirements in the world of business and industry.
Key Issue 3
I would like to work with Dr. Breuder, the president of the college, and with the Board to further maintain and enhance the auxiliary enterprises at the school. Programs such as the New Philharmonic orchestra and the Buffalo Theater Ensemble will need to be aggressively promoted once the renewed McAninch Arts Center is completed. Fine Arts programs should be encouraged as their impact remains with each of us throughout our lives. The radio station WDCB, The Inn at Water's Edge, Waterleaf Restaurant and Business Solutions also provide training on campus for careers after COD and should be maintained adequately to continue serving in the student's behalf. This action would also improve the ability of these facilities to generate revenue to cover the cost of programming thus minimizing the use of tax dollars.
The college last year engaged in a lengthy legal battle with the village of Glen Ellyn over local building codes and jurisdictional matters. As a board member, what would you do to avoid such lengthy conflicts in the future.
By really listening to the issues at hand from all parties and not the rhetoric being tossed about, one can learn the real problem to be resolved. The Board of Trustees can offer input to the resolution of issues by understanding the points of view for each faction involved in the situation. I have been involved in disputes that have arisen in development and construction projects during my career which are usually due to a misunderstanding of portions of the situation. Clear communication of all the facts of the issue to the participants can serve to resolve the conflict in an amicable and professional manner.
What steps should COD take to improve its relationship with the faculty?
The Board is available to all constituency groups such as the Faculty Association to remain current with ongoing issues. By keeping an open channel of communication with the faculty, the relationship can only improve between the Board and faculty.
In tough economic times, many students (and working professionals) turn to a community college for its educational value. How do you ensure that a person's financial sacrifice results in an educational benefit?
The Board of Trustees will do all in their power to provide the proper facilities, faculty, coursework, counceling and advising to each student to assist in their education. The ultimate responsibility to ensure successful results remain with the student. The educational benefit will be a direct correlation to the effort put forth by the student. Programs are set to assist the student throughout his or her time at COD to make their education a worthwhile and beneficial experience.
Is a tax rate increase needed and, if so, how do you justify it?
Taxes need not be increased as long as budgets are realistic and maintained. The goal of being revenue neutral is the correct guide to follow in economic situations. Monies should not be committed or spent when they do not fall within the parameters of the current funding available. The school exists for the benefit of the student and that must be the determining factor in establishing and maintaining the budget.
Community colleges provide many services to a diverse population. Is there a service your college should be providing that it is not, or reaching a segment of the population that it is not?
The fastest growing demographic in District 502 with 10,000 new members each day is the generation of baby-boomers. The continuing education programs at COD can serve this populace within the district at the main campus or at the 5 regional centers located throughout the county. Lifelong learning can be valuable for everyone, either learning additional skills, maintaining physical health or for the mere intrintic value of learning. Too much of this growing population is not making use of the facilities available and reaching out to these people would serve both them and the college well.