Charles Wentworth: Candidate Profile
DuPage District 45 School Board
Back to DuPage District 45 School Board
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: Villa Park
Family: Wife and 4 kids (14 to 2)
Education: Honors BA History, Math Minor (Univ of Utah, 2001) Juris Doctor (Univ of Utah, 2004)
Civic involvement: VPYB baseball coach (off and on, 2007-2014) Assistant Scoutmaster (2012-Present) Co-President University of Utah Alumni Association (2014-Present) Actively involved in Glen Ellyn Chamber of Commerce (2010-Present) Sunday School Teacher (off and on, 2006-Present Held various positions as Youth and Adult leader at Church
Elected offices held: No public offices, but have held multiple offices in different civic and religious organizations (see Civic Involvement, above)
How satisfied are you that your school district is adequately 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?
My children have attended District 45 schools since we moved to Villa Park eight years ago. My wife and I have generally been very pleased with each of the schools they attend and feel that they are being prepared well to move on to the next level of their education, and look forward to helping ensure that the District continues moving in the right direction.
What budgetary issues will your district have to confront during the next four years and what measures do you support to address them? If you believe cuts are necessary, be specific about programs and expenses that should be considered for reduction or elimination. On the income side, do you support any tax increases for local schools? Again, be specific.
I am a business lawyer and often discuss with my clients balancing competing interests in making decisions about what course of action to take in a given situation, whether it is deciding to file or settle a lawsuit, or negotiating contracts with employees and other parties. I would take this same approach to budget issues. For instance, I recently attended a school board meeting during which they discussed taking out new bonds to complete various building projects. Although I believe we should have good facilities and may support the issuance of bonds for capital improvements (or other projects that may come up), I also believe that the District should set aside funds (whether in the form of cash or unused bond issuances) to address emergencies and unforeseen expenses. At that meeting, the person discussing bonds showed a chart that was presented seemed to indicate that the bond measure presented would have taken up all of the remaining credit available to the District. Assuming that is in fact was was being proposed, I would not feel comfortable voting for such a bond issuance for capital improvements or any other non-emergency issues unless I knew that (1) there were other funds set aside, or (2) there was credit available for potential emergencies or other unforeseen events. There will always be a give and take for any budgetary issues, and I will draw on my experiences in the business world and as a District 45 parent to inform my approach to these matters.
Are you currently employed by or retired from a school district, if so, which one? Is any member of your direct family - spouse, child or child-in-law - employed by the school district where you are seeking a school board seat?
As contract talks come up with various school employee groups -- teachers, support staff, etc. -- what posture should the school board take? 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 would approach contract negotiations the same way I would budget issues (see answer above), using my experience as a business lawyer to balance competing interests presented to the District. Among the factors I would consider in making any contract decisions are: (1) what other districts in DuPage County are paying their teachers and staff; (2) what types of increases they have received in the past; (3) how much revenue the District receives locally and from the State; and (4) the extent of any pension liabilities, and whether those would be paid locally or by the State. I have been very pleased with the teachers and staff at my children's schools and would expect them to be paid as well as possible. And I also expect the District to live within its means, and for the Board members to be wise stewards with the funds entrusted to them.
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 would not support a boost in pay for anyone simply to help increase their pension benefits. Increases in pay for anyone should be in line with what other similarly situated individuals receive, and should take into account how well that person has performed for the District and how much the Board anticipates the District will be able to pay in the short- and long-term.
What other issues, if any, are important to you as a candidate for this office?
My family's experience in the District has, on the whole, been very good. I'm sure, however, that others have encountered difficult situations. I will always be open to listening to people's concerns and looking for ways to make sure that they are addressed.
Please name one current leader who most inspires you.
Although not Catholic, I am impressed with Pope Francis. He seems to know what is important to the Church, while remaining understanding of others' situations.
What's the biggest lesson you learned at home growing up?
When you fall down, you get right back up and keep going.
If life gave you one do-over, what would you spend it on?
I would have started earlier saving for a home rather than assuming the money for a down payment would be there when I needed it.
What was your favorite subject in school and how did it help you in later life?
In high school it was math, which gave me strong analytical skills. In college it was history, which helps me see things from others' perspectives.
If you could give your children only one piece of advice, what would it be?
Do what's right and work hard, and things will work themselves out.