Raabia Khan: Candidate profile
Name: Raabia Khan
City: Green Oaks
Office sought: Oak Grove District 68 School Board Member
Family: Spouse: Azmat Mohammed; Children: Razi (13), Aafiya (11), Sayf (8), Fayz (4)
Occupation: Former Montessori teacher; currently stay at home mom
Education: Bachelors in Arts Degree from DePaul University; Montessori Certification from Seton Montessori Institute
Civic involvement: Urban Muslim Minority Alliance Center Gala Co-chair (2016-2018); OGS Strategic Planning Committee Member (2017-2018); OGS Multicultural Committee Member (2017-present); OGS Junior High Book Fair Chair (2017-present); OGS Grade Coordinator (2016-2018); OGS Room Parent (2015-present); Islamic Foundation North Social Media Chair (2015-2017); Islamic Foundation North Girls Basketball Coach (2018-present); Feed My Starving Children Volunteer; Bernie's Book Bank Volunteer; PADS Volunteer
Previous elected offices held: None
Incumbent? No. If yes, when were you first elected?
What are the most important issues facing your district and how do you intend to address them?
Two important issues facing Oak Grove are (1) the retirement of talented and experienced teachers and (2) steadily increasing enrollment, which impacts class size and classroom space. Oak Grove has created an environment for teachers to flourish. We have been fortunate to have amazing teachers help us innovate our curriculum and "ignite a passion for learning in pursuit of excellence" in our students (OGS Mission Statement). It is imperative that the district finds and cultivates that high level of excellence and passion in new faculty. The board should support the administration's efforts to bolster the mentorship program for new teachers and prioritize hiring in the budget so that Oak Grove can attract the very best educators. In 2007, projections showed Oak Grove would have dwindling enrollment. Instead, we have seen the opposite as enrollment continues to steadily grow. Growing enrollment impacts both classroom space and class size. The board should hire a visionary superintendent who can guide the district to find creative solutions for our enrollment challenges and prioritize these issues that have a direct impact on education from a budget perspective.
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?
As an Oak Grove alumni (class of '96), I know first hand that OGS prepares students for high school by creating an environment for high achievement and excellence. The administration at Oak Grove works with Libertyville High School to ensure our students are prepared and successful in their next educational step. As we continue to explore curriculum options it is key that we find the right curriculum development to ensure preparedness and readiness for OGS students to successfully compete in high school.
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.
If Oak Grove's enrollment continues to grow as it has in recent years, the district will confront budgetary issues associated with maintaining small class size. However, at present, I do not support any tax increases. I believe funds can be found within existing and future budgets from various sources, including the retirement of senior teachers in the coming years as well as the satisfaction of the district's loan from D70.
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 I am not currently employed by a school district. None of my direct family members are employed by the 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?
I believe it is the role of the school board to provide an environment of open and respectful negotiations. It is the role of the school board to do what is best for the students, school, and community at large while being fiscally responsible.
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 do not believe that we should have salary increases based on boosting pension benefits but rather on merit and performance.