Harold Lonks: Candidate profile
Name: Harold Lonks
Office sought: Wheaton Warrenville District 200 School Board
Family: Wife and twin high school girls
Occupation: Self-employed providing accounting services
Education: University of Dayton, BS in Accounting & Finance
Falcon Wings Member
Klein Creek Homeowner Association Board President
St John's Church Member
D200 Enrollment Committee
Prior D200 Engage200 Committee
Prior Monroe Middle School PTA Member
Prior Pleasant Hill School PTA Executive Board Member
Prior Pleasant Hill School classroom volunteer
Prior Jefferson School PTA Member and Delegate
Attend D200 Board Meetings and many committee meetings
Previous elected offices held: None
Incumbent? If yes, when were you first elected? No
* What are the most important issues facing your district and how do you intend to address them?
The most important issues facing our district are finances, improving student success, and transparency. The district is facing tough financial times over the next five years with projected deficits based on district information released during the summer of 2018. The District needs to review expenditures for potential savings and figure out how to do more at the same funding level. Improving success includes bringing back spelling, cursive and "real" math at the elementary level which was removed with the Common Core standards. High schoolers need to have life skill courses available to improve their success in life after high school. Transparency has always been an issue. It has improved over the past few years and I will work on improving it further with the students, parents and stakeholders of our District.
* 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?
A majority of students are adequately prepared for their next stage of life. For the students that are not prepared, the district should create a program between those students, their parents and teachers so they are ready for their next stage of life.
* 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 district is facing possible future deficits. I do not support cutting any student programs. I do support funding the annual building maintenance program. In the past, maintenance has been deferred and it is important that the District continues with maintaining the facilities in order to reduce future operational costs. Again, expenditures need to be reviewed for any possible savings such as administrators contributing to their benefits at the same level as teachers. On the income side, I will not support a tax increase higher than CPI and will request any new District borrowing obtain voter approval via referendum.
* 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?
I was employed by D200 between 2012 and 2014 as a Pleasant Hill crossing guard.
* 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?
A four year contract for the teachers went into effect this school year. The classified staff contract talks are a couple years away and would support a fair pay and benefit package since they are hardworking employees at a lower pay scale supporting our teachers and helping our students. The administrator contracts need to reflect what our teachers contribute for their healthcare and pension benefits. I would like to see the elimination of post-employment compensation and bonuses. This compensation does not provide any benefit to our students or help maintain our buildings, but just increase spending and deficits.
* 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! I certainly would not support substantial increase near retirement to boast pension benefits. Why, there is no benefit to the students. This will only increase budget woes and property taxes. Most administrators will retire with annual pensions in excessive of $110k and more for the superintendent. This is why Illinois has pension problems and budget issues. The more money spent on pensions, the less state funds are available support K-12 education and those students with special needs.