Steven Rosenblum: Candidate profile
Name: Steven Rosenblum
Office sought: Township High School District 211 Board of Education
Family: A resident of Schaumburg for over 20 years, I grew up in northeastern Ohio the son, grandson and nephew of teachers and community volunteers. It was in this environment that my roots and lover of education and helping others came to be part of who I am. Married to Ellen for over 30 years, we have two children. Ellen is an education professional and has been a paraprofessional in Schaumburg Elementary School District 54 for over 10 years. Both of our children graduated from Schaumburg High School. Our son, Mark, is a successful program management professional for CDW and our daughter, Sidney, is a sophomore at Indiana University majoring in education.
Occupation: I have been working as a manager and human resources professional for several companies for the last 30 years and am currently Talent Acquisition Manager at Claire's Inc. in Hoffman Estates.
Education: I earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Management and Human Resources from The Ohio State University before moving to the Chicago area over 30 years ago to work for Sears. I earned my Master in Business Administration degree with Distinction in Human Resources from Keller Graduate School of Management.
Civic involvement: American Diabetes Association, Northern Illinois Affiliate (1987-present) -- member, Volunteer Leadership Board, Step Out Walk to Fight Diabetes and Tour de Cure Planning Committees; Former board of directors -- Beth Tikvah Congregation (Hoffman Estates); Former member -- Advisory Council for District Initiatives -- Schaumburg School District 54; Toys For Tots National Toy Drive Company Chairperson (2017); Former Assistant Scout Master, Boy Scouts of America, Troop 196, St. Peter's Lutheran Church (Schaumburg); Speaker and presenter on job search to various churches throughout the area including Saint Hubert's (Hoffman Estates), St. Edna's Parish (Arlington Heights), Saint Thomas the Apostle (Naperville), St. John of the Cross (Western Springs)
Previous elected offices held: None
Incumbent? Appointed to Township High School District 211 in August 2017
Facebook: Steven Rosenblum District 211 BOE
What are the most important issues facing your district and how do you intend to address them? The most important issues facing the school district include the following:
-- Student safety: I would like to see a committee developed with representatives from the school board, district administrators, school mental health professionals, school resource officers, and teachers to evaluate potential threats to our students, staff and visitors and make recommendations.
-- Student support and readiness for careers and college: Continually evaluate and bring on new programs, scholarships and activities for our students. I would like to see additional dual credit and AP courses for our students, as well as expansion of our career cluster programs. Many resources are of little or no cost to the community.
-- Educational and program quality and availability: Maintain our high quality education including instructional leadership, extracurricular programming, curriculum, technology and activities. Through grants, scholarships and tuition reimbursement, we can continue to show improvements and excel in this area.
-- Fiscal responsibility: Transparency of district finances including effective communication and updates can still be improved. I plan to work with others to maintain compliance and advancement of district budgetary and operational goals and policy adherence. I plan to continue working with district administrators and listening to constituents to support and recommend changes as appropriate.
-- Community communication, engagement, support and transparency: I plan to increase community engagement with the district by holding quarterly town hall meetings providing two-way communication and discussions between taxpayers, students, parents and board members. I also support increasing and enhancing relationships with local businesses to provide and share experiences with our students.
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?
There are continually opportunities for our school district to make changes and improvements in classroom technology, materials and methodologies. School District 211 has a very strong student readiness program supporting student preparation for college and careers. As stated above, we need to continually evaluate and bring on new and/or improved programs in this area. This includes additional programs, scholarships and activities for our students. District 211 has partnerships between school advisers, counselors, teachers, parents and local businesses. I would like to see additional dual credit and AP courses available for our students, as well as expansion of our career cluster programs. Many of the resources we can take advantage of are of little of no cost to the community, such as local business mentorships, internships and in-house visits. Business are seeking such skills and training opportunities to increase the candidate pool for their jobs. This can benefit both the community and our students.
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.
There are many examples of how our board works closely with district and school administrators to continually evaluate and make decisions that effectively and efficiently use district funds to support student programs, personnel, facilities, community involvement, communication and overall operations while remaining debt-free. If elected, I would continue to work diligently providing fiscal responsibility while upholding the duties of the school board. This includes ongoing review and exploration of new and continued grants and expense reductions, as well as review of our 10 year Life Safety Survey to improve operational optimization and efficiencies. This would be done with the safety, education and activity programs for our students and obligations of the district in mind. Over the next four years, our district will continue confronting budgetary issues related to safety, increased costs of our programs, maintenance of our facilities, and salary/pensions of staff and teachers. If cuts are able to be made, they should be and the community must be informed. If additional expenditures are needed, unless time is of the essence to the immediate safety and well-being of our students and staff, I believe we should allow ample communication and time to receive community input for consideration before making decisions. Taxes are an important topic to our district and community. Property taxes go toward several taxing bodies, some of which are outside of District 211. I support reducing taxes or keeping them as-is if possible without negatively impacting the safety or educational programs for our community and students.
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
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?
The board should take a posture of making sure we are listening to and appreciate the employee groups while staying fiscally responsible to the district and working to insure we provide the highest education and properly paid/supported staff possible to our students and community. Asking for employee concessions or changes to costs should only be considered if absolutely necessary. I have previous experience with unions and believe the relationship between employees and their employer is very important. This can impact the progress of contract negotiations. I propose creating and implementing a quarterly roundtable consisting of representatives from both sides of future negotiations to discuss topics of importance. Having such interactions more frequently can improve the channels of communication, understanding and appreciation potentially avoiding such situations.
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 be hesitant to support this, as it adds a burden on taxpayers and is a continued topic of budgetary concerns and constraints post-retirement for these professionals. I would prefer to compensate the superintendent properly in the position throughout their time in the position to allow for fair and equitable retirement benefits without increasing pay to help boost pension benefits as retirement nears.