Mark Turk: Candidate profile
Name: Mark Turk
Office sought: DuPage District 88 Board
Family: Wife Denise 40 years; Children Sara (D88 grad 2005); Matthew (D88 grad 2009) his wife Diane (d88 grad 2008) grandson Jaxon 18 mos.
Occupation: President/CEO International Label & Printing Co., Inc.
Education: BA Eastern Illinois University 1977; MS Eastern Illinois University 1982
Civic involvement: Addison Trail HS CAC Co-President 2005-2009; Co-Chair Building the Future Committee (D88 2007 Referendum) 2005-2007; Member Addison Unity Task Force 2009 (appointed by Mayor); Current President, Addison Center for the Arts; Current Board Member Partnership for Inspired Foundation (PIE); Current Board Member DuPage HS D88
Previous elected offices held: Current D88 Board Member 2nd Year
Incumbent? If yes, when were you first elected? Yes. Was appointed to fill an unexpired term August 2017
What are the most important issues facing your district and how do you intend to address them?
Ensuring all students receive the finest, most comprehensive education possible, given the financial and staff resources available, and best prepare them to succeed at the next level, whether it be a 4-year college, 2-year college, trade school, or professional job market. We intend to do this by keeping focus on par with our mission to work for the continuous improvement of student achievement. This includes the implementation of the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) and other initiatives. The educational funding imbalance in our state is a constant issue and our district is affected even more dramatically. Current statewide funding for education provides about 25 percent of total school revenues, with local funding carrying the majority of the load. In our district, the state contributes only about 12 percent of our revenue. That leaves a tremendous burden on our taxpaying community. Our challenge is to give them the best value possible for their money, while controlling costs and actively monitoring financials.
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?
Our district high schools are both nationally recognized as "top tier" public educational institutions. Our students graduate with the best preparation possible to attain the next level. We do not, however, rest on that recognition, or any other accolades. Our goal is to improve our district with the same intensity that we expect from our students. So in that respect, we can never feel satisfied. There is an old saying in coaching that nobody stays the same -- you either get better or you get worse. By staying the same, others around you will get better and by virtue of staying the same instead of improving, you just got worse. We endeavor to keep getting better and making improvements wherever and whenever possible.
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.
Keeping a workable balance between the quality of education we provide and the ability to successfully fund that education. Minimizing spikes, or extreme highs and/or lows in spending and borrowing is critical. Very similar to what many in our taxpaying community do -- invest for the long run. We pride ourselves on doing what is best for our students first and foremost. The battle for state money appears to be a long-running endeavor. We have already applied for the state Property Tax Relief Grant and made other efforts to reduce costs for taxpayers through cooperative purchasing and sharing services.
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?
No and no.
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?
Our board has always taken the posture of negotiating in good faith and striving for the betterment of our students and our district. Along with that comes balance and fairness on both sides. Our contract increases are all tied to the Consumer Price Index (CPI), so there is very little to disagree with regarding raises in salaries. Obviously, we want the best educational staff we can afford. We owe it to our students and our community.
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?
The issue of fairness must be the rule in this instance. I believe we should provide virtually the same benefits for teachers as we do administrators and vise versa, while operating within the guidelines of the law.