Jonathan Reinoso: Candidate profile
Name: Jonathan Reinoso
Office sought: Grayslake Community High School District 127 School Board
Family: 2 loving parents, 3 younger brothers, and 4 dogs
Occupation: Zion-Benton Township High School District 126- Spanish Teacher
Education: Spanish & Portuguese Studies BA -University of Minnesota, May 2017;
Italian Studies BA -University of Minnesota, May 2017; Latin American Literature & Culture MA -Northeastern Illinois University, in progress
Civic involvement: D46 substitute teacher-Fall 2017; D46 Bilingual/ESL K-4 teacher-January-May 2018
Previous elected offices held: None
Incumbent? no. If yes, when were you first elected?
What are the most important issues facing your district and how do you intend to address them?
The apparent lack of communication from the school board toward the teachers union and the economic strain of high property taxes that impacts D127 families on a continual basis. The lack of communication is an issue due to the fact that it creates an unneeded uncertainty about the contract status of our educators and sends the wrong message to those individuals that work with our students day in and day out. My hope is that this issue is resolved by the time the next school board is elected. In the event that this isn't the case, I would put
this issue at the top of the board's priority list and encourage the rest of the school board to push the district to get their resolved in a timely manner. Moving forward, I would invite a representative of the GEA to every board meeting as a sign of my commitment to continual and effective communication between the board and the union. On high property taxes, I would address this issue by further supporting D127's decision to apply for the property-tax relief grant and seek out additional resources/approaches that would ease the financial burden of our high property tax rate.
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?
As I tell my students, there is always room for growth and through the many successes that our district has had over the years, D127 still has room for growth. The school district provides students with a wide array of programs, activities and classes that aim to prepare our students for the next step in their lives. Whether it be college representative visits directly at GCHS and GNHS, Tech Campus programs that train our students in the fields/careers they wish to pursue post graduation, or the district wide culture of putting an emphasis on actively preparing our students for the next step in their lives. Some changes that I'd like to explore with our district include a senior capstone project in lieu of a traditional final exam that allows students to present a portfolio of their high school experience and maps out the next few years of their lives, further support in the form of professional development for flipped and blended learning classrooms, project/problem based learning and racial consciousness & equity work, and a re-examination of the metrics that define a student's success during (and after) their time in D127.
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.
Over the last few months, the topic of a tax levy has been at the forefront of the minds of many D127 residents. Many D127 families don't wish to see yet another increase in the amount they pay in property taxes. Over the course of the next four years, the school board will have to continue to examine this topic and work toward providing tax relief for D127 residents, who already pay one of the highest tax rates in the county. As was reported in early January, D127 was selected for a property-tax relief grant and I support the current board's decision to have applied for said grant. If elected, I would continue to support D127's decision to apply for this property-tax relief grant moving forward.
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 am a high school Spanish teacher in Zion-Benton Township High School District 126.
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?
The school board should actively ensure that teachers and support staff are operating with an up-to-date and current contract. There should not be any span of time where teachers and support staff are operating under no contract/an expired one. This only demonstrates a lack of communication from the school board. As a teacher myself, I don't believe the district should ever ask for concessions in salary, sick days or health coverage. These metrics are just a few aspects that make a district appealing to potential new hires and helps retain experienced talent. In order to attract and retain the best talent in the district, it is important that our compensation package accurately reflects the values of the district and desire for student excellence.
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 an increase in pay of the superintendent's salary because I believe district funds would be better served elsewhere such as student services, for example.