Amy Frantz: Candidate profile
Name: Amy Frantz
City: Green Oaks
Office sought: District 68 Board of Education Member
Family: Husband: Jeff Children: AJ (17) Charlie (15) and Lilly (11)
Occupation: Elementary Teacher
Education: BS Mass Communications, Miami of Ohio, MA in Teaching and Learning, National Louis University
Incumbent? Yes. If yes, when were you first elected? 2015
What are the most important issues facing your district and how do you intend to address them?
I think there are three key issues currently facing our district. First, we need to find the right Superintendent to take over for Dr. Lemon when he retires in 20-21. We need a visionary leader who can take our District to the next level, and help shape the new group of teachers who will be coming in as we go through a sizable number of our veteran teachers retiring. Second, I think we have to continue to look at the changing demographics in our community. It is important that our teachers receive training in teaching English language learners, but also how to be more culturally aware. Third, across all our local communities, we are seeing a lot more social-emotional and behavioral needs that differ from what we have seen in the past. We must be able to help our staff adjust to meet the needs of this changing population. There may be a point down the road where we need to hire new staff that have either an EL or an LBS1 endorsement in addition to a teaching certificate or are willing to get one within the first few years of working in the 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?
The District has historically provided a very high level of education as well as a nurturing environment for its students. We have continually delivered on our promise to provide our students with all of the best technology, so that our teachers can provide them with a 21st century learning experience that will prepare them for their future. With that said, this generation is growing up in a time where the ease and constant access to technology also provides them some challenges as they prepare for high school, college, and the workforce. They need to be explicitly taught how to be a responsible digital citizens in an ever-changing world. This is why we need to be purposeful about how and why we use technology as part of our curriculum. We also have an evolving, multicultural community, which closely mirrors the world they will be a part of beyond their years in school. We must continue to foster a learning experience that teachers them how to be responsible, global citizens.
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.
First, we will be negotiating a new teacher's contract next school year. This is always a large part of our long-term budget planning process. Second, we have some needs for updates to our facilities that we must consider as we look out at the next five years. As part of the Facilities Committee on the current Board, I can tell you that we have been proactively budgeting for annual maintenance expenditures over a 20-year period, something that was never done in the past. With that said, I know that we do have a couple larger projects that we know are coming, but as always, we have to consider the overall budget needs as we prioritize expenditures. I am never in favor of reducing or eliminating student programs in order to meet our budget as anything other than a last resort. In my tenure on the current Board, we have seen very minimal increases to our property taxes as a result of this School District, and no programming has been reduced or eliminated. I am committed to keeping it that way.
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 currently an Elementary Teacher in Aptakisic D102 in Buffalo Grove.
None of my direct family members have ever been employed by Oak Grove School District.
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?
As we approach contract talks next year, I think the School Board needs to take a posture of collaboration, as we have in the past. We know there will potentially be some budget issues that we must anticipate and confront. Through transparency and open communication, the two parties need to determine what is financially necessary to meet the District's budget requirements. We do have the advantage that there will be a number of retirements occurring over the next five years, which will reduce the overall salary expenditure for a period of time. Any proposals or decisions made by the Board need to be thoughtfully discussed and reviewed before asking for concessions from the staff. Facts like comparable teacher compensations from other similar districts, percentage of compensations in the total budget, and anticipated benefit expenses across the next few years should be used to guide the talks and decision-making.
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 large pay increase for anyone in either the public or private sector for the sole purpose of bolstering pension benefits. I believe that salary increases should be proportionate to merit and performance. In my tenure on the current Board, this has always been my approach.