Wendy Nadeau: Candidate profile
Name: Wendy Nadeau
Office sought: School Board Member, Lisle CUSD #202
Family: My husband Andrew and I live in the Meadows Subdivision in Lisle with our two children. Our daughter, Dominique (age 24) graduated from Lisle Senior High in 2012 and is currently working on her M.Ed. in Drama and Education at Trinity University Dublin. Our son Cameron (age 10) is in 4th grade at Schiesher Elementary School.
Occupation: Program, Rental & Office Manager for the Lisle Park District
Education: Bachelor of Arts degree in Studio Art, Minor in Art History from North Central College.
Civic involvement: I am currently on the Eyes to the Skies Board/Committee, Memorial Day & 4th of July Parade Committees.
Previous elected offices held: Current School Board Member, Lisle CUSD #202
Incumbent? If yes, when were you first elected? Yes, Elected in 2015
What are the most important issues facing your district and how do you intend to address them?
I think Lisle Elementary School will be exciting for the Community and District. While we have always tried to be one elementary school with two campuses, I feel each school has been run differently. I feel now there will be more consistency and growth between all grade levels. Merging will be a unique challenge in the beginning, but ultimately such a wonderful decision for the whole District. The April ballot referendum question to reduce our educational levy by 10% will be a challenge. I think it's important to note that this isn't something I support. I signed the petition to put the referendum on the ballot to give the voters a right to decide, as I believe in the democratic process. However, giving the voters a voice does not mean I myself support the referendum. I simply supported the right of the process. I do believe that if this referendum passes, it will have a significant negative impact on the District. I hope voters will take the time to fully educate themselves on this issue, and attend our Board meetings between now and April to learn more. We are a financially strong and fiscally conservative District and have wisely managed District funds to provide a strong educational program for our students. I will work to ensure that we are able to continue to provide our students with a strong educational foundation.
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?
I want our district to create the best and brightest and help each child achieve personal greatness. We need to educate our students to be successful and responsible individuals and to be involved in the community. Our job as a board is to provide the tools and support for district staff to continue to offer opportunities for each child to achieve individual success. While I don't believe test scores are the only measure of success, and they have been improving, I would still like to see the test scores continue on their upward trajectory. To help with this, I would like the District to offer a tutoring program across all levels. New initiatives geared towards this are math and reading interventionists at the Junior High. I would also like more enrichment classes offered for those who excel. During my time on the Board we've increased our Advanced Placement offerings from 3 to 13 classes. As a parent of a child who went through the District, I can say the small school environment and personal attention from staff, coaches and teachers is essential. One of the biggest assets our district has is the flexibility to participate in sports and still be in the arts, musicals and plays. Our District has some of the most well rounded 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.
The District's budget is balanced and needs to remain so. I don't believe we would need to increase taxes beyond CPI; in fact this year, I voted to abate a portion of our debt levy to provide our tax payers with some relief. I don't want cuts and reductions in programs, nor do I feel they are necessary. If the referendum passes, we may not have a choice, we cannot incur a $2 million annual reduction in our education fund without impacting programming. I'm sure the District will have some staff downsizing and cost reductions with the combining of two elementary schools into one. This will provide some cost savings overall to the District. Before I could make a decision on the subject of tax increases, I would need further input from the Board as well as the Community. I feel taxes are something that should be evaluated on an annual basis and there will be some cases where it is necessary to increase and some years it isn't necessary. I do know that I want to give the students of this District the best well rounded education and programs that our tax dollars can provide them.
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 don't have any family currently working or retired from Lisle CUSD 202. Nor have I ever been employed by Lisle CUSD 202.
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 think the School Board provides a level of guidance and direction for the School District. The Board should build community support by involvement in community events, communicate effectively with the superintendent, create policies to support District initiatives, approve plans developed by the superintendent, allocate funding/budgets and align resources, monitor progress toward the achievement of district goals. As part of that, I believe that pay increases should be earned and not just given. As for employee costs, I think everything should remain level due to the salary increases being based on the cost of living. However, given the current nationwide teaching shortage, I anticipate some challenges as we undertake contract negotiations this spring, and certainly, the referendum outcome will also impact contract negotiations.
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 am not in favor of non-merit based salary increases. Nor am in support of what is commonly referred to as pension spiking. Our administration is paid fairly and competitively, and commensurate with their experience and education. Thus, pension spiking would be unnecessary.