Ray Chaidez: Candidate profile
Name: Ray Chaidez
Office sought: Education Board Member, DuPage High School District 88
Family: Wife and 3 kids
Education: Associates Degree in Business
Civic involvement: Tax Payer, Registered Voter, Park Pride Volunteer, Coach Softball & Basketball
Previous elected offices held: None
What are the most important issues facing your district and how do you intend to address them?
As a longtime resident of Addison, Illinois and as a parent and member of the community, I can identify several issues that our school district is facing and should be addressed immediately and soundly. These issues can be classified in three categories: 1) Infrastructure, 2) Budgeting and, 3) Staff Benefits
First, we must invest capital to provide a safe and secure environment for our students, staff and community members. We want to ensure that our schools can provide a positive culture for learning and a safe work environment for our staff. Second, we must wisely and responsibly balance our school budget to protect educational opportunities, salaries, physical infrastructures and budget for unforeseen expenditures. Finally, we must protect staff benefits. With many uncertainties affecting our budget as the result of less revenue, unfunded legislative mandates, unexpected changes in tax appropriations levels, we must, as a Board, be financially sound to meet these challenges.
I will work collaboratively with the School Board and listen to residents to responsibly make good and sound decisions, prioritizing and addressing the important issues facing our school district.
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 we have a very sound school district with ample academic and social opportunities for our students to succeed at any school level. I say this as a parent of three children who have been attending this school district for years. I recognize the good job that the district is doing in preparing our students for the future. However, we must not fall into a state of complacency. We must not become stagnant. We must continue to research new academic programs and curriculums. We must also develop our teachers through continued learning opportunities so that they are able to continue pushing our students to excel at any challenge. We must also recognize the diversity of the student body and embrace their needs as key factors in preparing them for the fields of their choice, whether it be attending a higher education institution or preparing them to enter the work force through vocational programs.
I will advocate for an increase in technology and engineering programs, including math and science curriculum in our school district.
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.
As mentioned before: The three main issues facing our school district are infrastructure, budget and staff benefits. However, I believe infrastructure will affect most schools at one time or another. Our buildings are in need of renovations, updates, repairs and daily building maintenance costs will continue to rise as schools continue to age. The budget must include substantial fund appropriations for infrastructure projects, which are of larger costs.
As a board member, I will not be an advocate of cutting programs immediately. We must first evaluate every program, look at it overtime and measure its effectiveness and the impact that it has on our students. The decisions to cut programs prematurely I believe can be detrimental to our students and may lead to them becoming disengaged.
Our school district depends on property tax, this is a fact. At this time, it is early for me to support or not to support a tax increase. But, what I know is that property tax increases in the past have put a burden in home owners' pockets. Instead of talking about a property tax increase, let's talk about demanding an increase in state funding. Let's talk about balancing the budget responsibly.
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?
My family and I have never been employed by the school district of which I am seeking a school board seat. We have been proud residents of Addison IL, for 20 years.
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 imagine each situation is different during the contract talks. It may be necessary to discuss concessions, pay increases, or keep employee costs the same. What is important is to ensure that our students continue their education uninterrupted because of prolonged contract negotiations.
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?
As a board members, we are selected to look for in the best interest on fiscal responsibility to our school district. I could not substantiate an increase for anyone unless they merited the increase.