James Goranson: Candidate profile
Name: James Goranson
City: Elk Grove Village
Office sought: District 59 School Board
Family: Wife, Shana, Son, Charlie (Grove Junior High), Liliana (Rupley)
Occupation: Sales Manager
Education: University of Illinois, Georgetown University
Previous elected offices held:
Incumbent? If yes, when were you first elected?
What are the most important issues facing your district and how do you intend to address them?
Our single biggest issue in our district is how we do not have a curriculum in place to help facilitate a learning environment that sets up the children and the teachers with success. Teachers are being pulled from there day to day operations to help formulate a curriculum instead of having a research based, tried and true, curriculum to work from. The teachers go to classes everyday stressed out from not having the resources available to adequately teach our children. The dual language specifically needs a researched based math curriculum immediately.
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 think that there are a lot of things the district does that helps prepare students for the next stage in their life. I also believe that there is a tremendous amount of opportunity for improvement as well. A strong home is built on a great foundation. Having a curriculum in place will help our great teachers connect more with our students and advance them in a way that prepares them for the next steps. Since the district does not have curriculum in place teachers are being burden every night to create something that should already exist. Our teachers need to focus on what they do best and that's teaching, not writing curriculum. Our building is failing because we have not put in place a foundation that allows our district to thrive.
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.
Our reserves are being depleted with special pet projects and unnecessary facilities that do not benefit the children. Experimental teaching practices have fallen short in resulting in positive student growth and achievement. There needs to be more transparency behind expenditures. One of the first things that can be done is creating a finance committee, which as of today does not exist. One of the responsibilities of the board is to have a clear understanding of how the administration is spending district funds. My priority would simply be answered with a question, "Does this benefit our students first?"
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. My daughter however is currently attending Rupley and my son is currently at Grove Junior High which gives me a perspective most on the board do not have.
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?
We can do this through multiple ways. These decisions are not binary. We need to be more fluid and creative in keeping our great teachers and attracting the best out there. We need to be able to provide upward mobility for teachers looking for that. Our salaries need to be competitive to attract that best talent. If we have someone like myself to lead this district, we can strengthen communication, reach out to the community and make this an attractive place where everyone enjoys working. I would like to do a simple audit of responsibilities throughout the district to better fit our needs. If there are redundancies then we need to fix those to make sure every dollar spent is going o our children.
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?
At this moment I would say no. I do not believe with his salary and the results we have had he has shown to the community and to the district that he deserves a raise at this point. If we are able to set specific goals that he is able to obtain, then we can certainly have a conversation then, but today no, I do not believe that is an expense that we should add on to.