Amy Finnegan: Candidate profile
Name: Amy Finnegan
Office sought: DuPage District 88 Board Member
Family: One child, age 11
Education: Bachelor's Degree
Civic involvement: PTA member, Girl Scout leader for 7 years, Girls on the Run Coach 3 years, community volunteer, member Villa Park Junior Women's Club
Previous elected offices held: None
Incumbent? If yes, when were you first elected?
What are the most important issues facing your district and how do you intend to address them?
I believe that having schools that perform well and meet the needs of all its students should be a continuing goal for our district. Producing graduates that are contributing members of their community and lifelong learners benefits not only the student and their families, but every resident. Our property values are directly related to the quality of our schools, so we all have a stake in their success. District 88 includes a diverse population of students with different needs and goals. I intend to do my best to ensure that we not only meet ALL their needs, but continue to adapt to bring out the best of every student and faculty member. My philosophy when approaching any new issue is to listen first, obtain all the available facts, and then assess all possible outcomes before deciding on a solution.
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?
I believe that District 88 is adequately preparing students for the next stage in their lives, but by the same token, there is always room for improvement. I would like to encourage programs to improve graduation rates and college accreditation by offering a variety of classes, such as those in Project Lead The Way, which requires district and community support. I would also like to improve access to education for all students, including special education programs, job coaching, and transitional life skills. Finally, I would like to see even more improvement in college attendance rates, continuing to offer AP classes to all students and building on what is currently being done. As times change the district needs to continue to adapt to new issues facing graduating students to prepare them to succeed as they move forward, wherever that path may take them.
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? Be specific.
Currently, I do not see the need for any tax increases. I expect that most budgetary issues will relate to the maintenance and upkeep of buildings and grounds, but I believe that each major expenditure has to be evaluated individually on its merits and weighed with the cost/benefit to students and taxpayers.
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?
I have never been employed by the school district, nor has any family member.
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 believe that when the staff feels properly compensated, their commitment increases and manifests a dedication to the institution and its students. That said, I understand that the district has a budget they must work with and tax increases must be viewed as a last resort.
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?
First of all, there is no circumstance I can imagine that would lead me to support an increase above the legal limit that would precipitate a fine to be paid by the district. As pension benefits continue to be an ongoing concern of funding, I believe any substantial increase in pay would not be to the benefit of the teacher's retirement system, and therefore not to the benefit of teachers currently paying into the system. So no, I would not support substantial increases to boost pension benefits.