David Weisberg: Candidate profile
Name: David Weisberg
City: Long Grove
Office Sought: Board of Education, Lincolnshire District 125
Family: Wife, Cydney, son, Brian
Education: Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering, University of Illinois (Champaign/Urbana
Civic Envolvement: Stevenson High School Board of Education; Temple Chai Board; Stevenson Foundation Board Member
Previous Elected Offices held: District 125 Board of Education (8 years)
Incumbent: Yes. Elected in April, 2011
What are the most important issues facing your district, and how do you intend to address them?
To ensure Stevenson maintains its positive momentum toward educational excellence; To ensure Stevenson remains the "gold standard" (both locally and nationally) among its peer group that it is today; To ensure our kids are able to compete on a global basis in the future. I think this would be best accomplished by staying the course.
How satisfied are you that Stevenson is preparing it's students for the next phase of their lives? What changes are needed?
With full knowledge that you can never rest on your laurels, and that there's always room for improvement … I'd have to say that I'm pretty satisfied. All the metrics and awards we receive (on a national basis) speak directly to that. It would be hard to argue that we're not doing a lot of things right. However, the one area that I do think is reaching a new level of importance is Social Emotional Learning (SEL). The SEL initiative speaks to the emotional development of the students. As the world we live in becomes ever more competitive, and technology enables us to run faster and raise the bar higher … we must remember that we're dealing with kids here, not machines. How they integrate into society emotionally as adults is every bit as important as how good their test scores are, or how well they understand the latest device that technology has to offer. I'm very proud Stevenson recognizes this and is leading the way (nationally) in SEL.
What budgetary issues will your district have to confront over the next four years and what measures do you support to address them? Do you support any tax increases?
Issues … none. Stevenson continues to benefit from the ongoing excellent financial stewardship of its Board and I intend to continue that legacy. The recent $30 Million building addition scheduled to come on line this fall was completed with no tax increase to the community or referendum. In fact, we haven't needed a referendum since 2002 and there's none planned for the immediate future. I addition, Stevenson continues to enjoy a AAA bond rating … among the very few in our country, and not easily done in today's environment. All this is possible because we've always remained sensitive to the balance between the school's needs and our levy to the community. In 3 out of the past 8 years, we actually abated tax increases back to the community. However, if needed, I support moderate tax increases.
Are you or any member of your family currently employed by a school district?
No. My background is in manufacturing, and am now retired. I am the founder of Actown Electrocoil Inc …. 32 years in my own business, the company was acquired by Actuant (ticker: ATU) in 2006. Actown manufactured coils and transformers. Our primary location was in Spring Grove, IL, with manufacturing locations in Baraboo WI, Mexico and China. We employed approx. 750 people. No one in my family has been employed by a school district.
As contract talks come up with various school employee groups, what posture should the school Board take? Do you think 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?
It is imperative to always have an open an honest dialogue with our people. We are in this together and it's important that both sides are (and remain) well intentioned. If things get out of whack (up or down), adjustments should to be made. The key driver is the compensation paid by our neighboring school districts (the marketbasket). On one side of the coin, our people understand our responsibility to the community and they respect that. On the other side, we understand the need to always remain competitive. Stability is in everyone's best interest, and both sides at Stevenson have always demonstrated that. I enjoy working with our people, their salary range remains in the upper quartile of our marketbasket and I think they deserve every penny they get. The Stevenson Staff after all, make us what we are.
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?
No. Even though it was a common practice years ago, I have been on the opposite side of that argument ever since I became a school Board member 8 years ago. Management (or any other positions) should simply be paid market.