Kimberly Fay: Candidate profile
Name: Kimberly Fay
City: Mount Prospect, IL
Office sought: District 57 School Board
Family: Two children, ages 8 and 5
Occupation: Attorney, practicing immigration law and crime victims' rights enforcement
Education: B.A. in Spanish from North Central College, J.D. from Valparaiso University School of Law
Civic involvement: Due to the nature of my work, I am limited in the civic involvement I can engage in. However, I make a point to follow local and national campaigns closely and to vote in every election. On a local level, I followed the referendum campaign in detail and ultimately supported the effort.
Previous elected offices held: None on a local or national level, but I have held professional leadership positions, such as co-chair of the Kane County Bar Association Immigration Committee. Currently, I am on the Steering Committee for Protecting Immigrant Families--Illinois.
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?
One major issue our district is facing is the prospect of overcrowding. There is projected to be an increase in enrollment over the next several years, which may put a strain on our facilities and district resources. Thankfully, this is already being addressed in part by the anticipated expansion of Fairview School. As we look to possibly grow the other facilities in the district, I believe expansion at Westbrook should be considered with a view toward implementing a full day kindergarten program. Anecdotally overall, a large number of district residents are satisfied with the experience students currently have in our schools. I think this is evidenced in part by the district's 2% mobility rate. However, there are a number of things that could be improved to make interacting with the schools smoother, particularly for the district's parents who work outside the home. One such example would be to implement electronic processes to allow parents to enroll their students online, including allowing for submitting proof of residency, rather than requiring parents to take time out of their work day to deliver that paperwork in person. Also, while nearly 80-90% of our students approach or meet the expectations set by the PARCC assessments, I'd like to be sure that the district is offering sufficient services for the students who fall on either side of that window--those who do not yet meet expectations and those who are exceeding them. Our district is fortunate to have an enrichment program for math beginning in third grade and for reading beginning in fourth grade, but this delayed implementation has the potential to leave many high achieving students in the lower grades without the academic challenges they need to continue to grow and develop.
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?
One area of improvement that I see relates to organization and study skills. As students are entering high school and eventually college, they need to be trained to effectively manage their time. Elementary to junior high is also a crucial transition and, unfortunately, students need to be better prepared to handle high risk social situations. Middle school is often the entry point where students are exposed to numerous vices. Health education curriculum should reflect this fact. The district should also work to empower and equip parents to have these tough conversations with their children and strengthen the partnership between schools and parents.
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.
With the recent passage of the referendum, the district is currently in a stable financial position. However, voters were promised that there would be a moratorium on further referenda for the next ten years. This means the district must be cautious and strategic about how we use the funds currently available, taking into account current and projected needs. One way to reduce the pressure on individual taxpayers would be to work with the village board to encourage an influx of business to the town, this increasing the funding available from commercial resources.
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 have no current or past affiliations with this or any other 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 that this conversation should be approached with fairness and prudence. Teachers should be paid fairly in light of the impact of the work they do. Unfortunately, the district has a finite amount of resources, so teacher pay needs to be considered in light of that. I do not believe that teachers and other staff should be asked to make concessions, as I think that wrongly communicates that we as a community do not value them. At a minimum, I think teachers should benefit from a pay increase about equal to the rising cost of living. It may behoove the district to be more prudent in negotiating contracts with health insurance providers to try to maximize funds available for salary increases. It may also be prudent to bring administrator salaries more in line with the statewide average, which would make funds available to bring teacher salaries up, making them more comparable to what is available in surrounding districts.
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 believe that superintendents and administrators play a valuable role in the functioning of our district. Nevertheless, I would find it difficult to support any measure that potentially diverts funds away from student services.