Margaret (Peg) Larson: Candidate Profile
Round Lake Unit District 116 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.
City: Round Lake Beach
Website: Candidate did not respond.
Office sought: Round Lake Unit District 116 School Board (4-year Terms)
Family: Married with seven year old twins.
Occupation: School Social Worker
Education: Bachelor of Science in Psychology, Benedictine University, 1996 Master of Social Work, Loyola University, Chicago 1998
Civic involvement: Candidate did not respond.
Elected offices held: School Board Member, Round Lake School District Appointed April 2012
Have you ever been arrested for or convicted of a crime? If yes, please explain: No
Key Issue 1
Improving the education of the students to better prepare them for post secondary education and competitive employment.
Key Issue 2
Improve AYP while maintaining educational integrity and fiscal responsibility.
Key Issue 3
Continuing the positive movement of the Round Lake School District reputation.
Do you believe the district needs to pursue a Round Lake High School expansion and other improvements? If so, how should this be financed? Please explain.
Yes definitely. The school is overflowing already and enrollment does not appear to be going down. With overcrowding there is less learning happening and more potential for student drop out. It has been proposed that if we do a referendum to purchase bonds then the district will be able to redistribute the money we owe and will be able to keep our bond and tax rate steady over a longer period of time.
How satisfied are you that your district is adequately preparing students for the next stage in their lives, whether it be high school, college or full-time employment? What changes, if any, do you think need to be made?
I feel that when the district was under state financial control, education was put on the back burner. now that we are out from under the finance authority we need to focus on what our students need to achieve academically in this competitive society. Articulation is a must both vertically and horizontally for curriculum to be aligned correctly. Curriculum alignment is an absolute necessity to help our students achieve academically and is critical to student achievement on all levels. Alignment must be along all class levels and buildings. For example, we need all first grades learning the same things, all the fifth grade learning the same things, etc.
What budgetary issues will your district have to confront during the next four years and what measure do you support to address them? Be specific. On the income side, do you support any tax increases for local schools? Be specific.
I see our district like all in the area, being required to do more with less money. The future of funding for state and federal programs is constantly up in the air and there is no telling what will be decided for the future of pensions and how that will impact the district. We will also have a contract negotiation in the next few years. The housing market and economy is still struggling. All of these impact school funding so we must prioritize where we spend our money to help the students the most and bring our district into the future. With regards to tax increases, no one wants them, nor do I personally, but if it is the only way to get the funds we need to get the job of educating our kids into the future safely then if we have a solid plan, with specific goals that are monitored closely and we are held accountable then I would have to do what is in our students best interest and vote for it.
Do you support the health center proposed for Round Lake High School? Why or why not? Please elaborate.
Yes for many reasons. In my professional carer I see a great number of youth who are not getting the health care or mental health care that they need due to lack of access to services. In the hard economic times many families cannot afford more than one vehicle, or even the gas to get to the doctor. In other cases I have seen many students whom have to miss school to go to the doctor or to take care of a sibling who is ill because their parent cannot get them to the doctor. These kids could be in school learning instead of being out of the learning environment. If the health center is located at the high school then kids do not need to miss school, parents do not need to miss work to get them to the doctor, and there would be professionals centrally located to help our families in need.
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 believe the shift to common core standards is a very good thing for our students. It will help to align the curriculum to the higher standards that are measured by the ACT. If we align all of our curriculum from 12th grade down to the Kindergarten level with these higher standards we will see an increase in our students abilities and achievements over time. We will be meeting AYP, and we will be preparing our students for successful futures. I believe the school board has faith in the people we hire. I believe the administrators and the teachers are the experts in the field of educating our students. We need to let them research what curriculum aligned with the common core is best for our students, and we need to help find the ability to get that curriculum for our students. The school board watches over the schools and administrators. The administrators work with the teachers. The teachers work with your children. The parents elect us to watch over things. It is supposed to be checked and balanced.
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