Carolina Y. Sales: Candidate profile
Name: Carolina Y. Sales
City: Park Ridge, Illinois
Office sought: Board of Education Member, School District 64
Family: Husband (married for 13 years) and two children (ages 6 and 8)
Education: Honors Bachelor of Arts (B.A.), cum laude (Marquette University, 2002); Juris Doctor (J.D.), cum laude (The John Marshall Law School, 2005); Master of Laws (LL.M.), with honors (The John Marshall Law School, 2010)
Civic involvement: Eugene Field School Parent Teacher Organization member and room parent; League of Women Voters of Park Ridge director; Go Green Park Ridge member; attorney board member of Illinois Judges Foundation; member of Chicago Bar Association Judicial Evaluation Committee; membership chair of International Women's Insolvency & Restructuring Confederation-Chicago Network; volunteer attorney at Cook County Elder Justice Center - Elder Law & Wellness Initiative; treasurer of Diversity Scholarship Foundation, NFP
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 the district are the strained relationship between the staff, administration, and board; the need for improved internal and external communication; high turnover of administrators; the need to hold high expectations for all students; and the major problems with special education. I plan to encourage the board to create a collaborative culture; prioritize succession planning; and focus on education, data, and results.
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 am somewhat satisfied that the district is adequately preparing students for the next stage in their lives. The Consortium for Educational Change (CEC) completed an audit in 2015, and the district should reexamine the steps for improvement contained therein. Students need to be challenged appropriately; improvements need to be made to the special education program; and more training should be provided for teachers and teacher assistants. In addition, the district should make sure that elementary school students are well prepared for middle 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.
The district will have to confront issues related to staff compensation, maintenance of facilities, and additional programs (such as the continued discussions of full day kindergarten). I would support budgeting strategies that allocate resources towards improving student learning and reduce expenses that are unrelated to achievement. For example, we could see if the district could save money on things such as attorneys' fees, waste hauling, and utilities, and only hire/create new positions for administrators if they are absolutely necessary. I do not support tax increases.
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'm not currently or formerly employed by a school district, and none of my family members are employed by District 64.
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 school board should focus on the needs of the students while also understanding that it serves in trust for the entire community. The district should ask for concessions from its employees, which would be a part of any negotiation. The current contracts provide for yearly compensation increases, and it would be surprising if the employee groups would agree to a reversal of that trend. As such, the parties would have to reach a compromise so that compensation increases could be offset by other contract provisions.
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 would not support an increase in pay to boost pension benefits, because this would unfairly increase costs to taxpayers.