Kimberly Cavill: Candidate profile
Name: Kimberly Cavill
Office sought: Township High School District 211 School Board member
Family: Married with two children, ages 6 and 8
Occupation: Contract Health Educator for a Teen Pregnancy Prevention grant initiative, writer, and podcast host.
Education: BA English Education from Iowa State University, BA Disability Studies from Deakin University (Australia), Certificates in Health/Fitness training from the YMCA Victoria (Australia)
Civic involvement: Volunteer work through my church, Countryside Unitarian Universalist and advocacy work with Arise Chicago
Previous elected offices held: None
Incumbent? If yes, when were you first elected? N/A
What are the most important issues facing your district and how do you intend to address them?
1. Ensuring we meet the needs of students who intend to pursue careers in trades and postgraduate vocational education. The educational clusters initiative has been very successful and I intend to build on that success by ensuring the tracks for students interested in trades and postgraduate vocational education are as much as an administrative priority as tracks for students intending to go to four-year universities. 2. Ensuring the 10 year capital improvements plan continues to be executed while remaining debt-free and with respect to taxpayers. Kitchen renovations, Auditorium renovations, and roof repairs are among the improvements we expect to finance. With proper planning and competitive bids, we should execute those plans efficiently and without debt. 3. Hiring a new superintendent is of utmost importance and I intend to be part of a rigorous recruitment and hiring process ensuring our district has a dynamic, highly-qualified superintendent following the retirement of Dr. Cates. 4. We should improve our use of data the district already collects in driving policy decisions. Specifically, our schools already participate in the YRBSS and we should be using that data to drive conversations about policies regarding school climate, wellness programming, parent education seminars, and student experience.
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?
1. In general, District 211 succeeds in preparing students for life after graduation, especially those heading to university. We can certainly make improvements, however. Attainment of critical learning standards in Math shows room for improvement, as does academic achievement for English language learners. The district made great strides in boosting AP course enrollment and number of students graduating with as many as 15 college credits, which is a real achievement, and offers robust career clusters/academic tracks. Some improvements can be made by undertaking a review of those clusters to ensure they remain current with career requirements and including overlooked pathways for professional care services, such as disability care, elder care, and childcare services.
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.
The Life Safety Study results are expected in Spring of 2019 and it will detail various future expenses. However, the ten year capital improvements plan has already used careful financial planning to ensure the district can undertake those expected improvements without debt, which I support, as it is the least expensive way to fund such projects over the long-term. I support levying taxes at levels that keep up with inflation and meet legally mandated reserves.
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 to all of the above.
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?
Because our district is self-funded, contract negotiations necessitate compromises from both employee groups and the school board, as just recently occurred. Both sides came to an agreement and though it was obviously a difficult process, the agreement reflects everyone's commitment to valuing our schools and staff while remaining financially stable. Teachers will pay higher premiums for health insurance and an increased portion of their tuition costs for graduate education, while the board approved salary increases. This is an example of the sort of good faith negotiations I expect our board of education to participate in.
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?
No, not without data showing the clear need for a substantial salary increase, or the failure of the recruitment process to attract high-quality candidates. According to ISBE and in comparison with other districts, the remuneration is comparatively high.