Christian Rivera: Candidate profile
Name: Christian Max Rivera Rivera
City: West Chicago
Office sought: Board Member for District 33
Family: Wife: Kim Rivera, daughters: Laina Rivera y Lia Rivera
Occupation: High School Teacher
Education: Universidad Federico Villarreal, Lima-Perú, Working on MAT at Wheaton College
Previous elected offices held: Appointed School Board Member for District 33
Incumbent? If yes, when were you first elected?
* What are the most important issues facing your district and how do you intend to address them?
The size of our district because is very large and our tax base is very small, therefore funding is always a challenge. We can address it by continually trying to use our funding as efficiently as possible while working with the state to make best use of new Evidence Based Model for educational founding. In my conversations with other board members, they have said that it has been helpful so far. Also, I think there is a need for a focus on considering the educational needs as well as the tax rate of the property taxes. Finally, both issues can be address by looking the best interest of the students and their families.
* 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 very satisfied with the school district and the programs they offer. My two daughter are student in the dual language program and we have seen them learned and grow so much during these couple of years. One of the challenges in our district is that the data that is collected to measure student achievement within the state does not take into account the complexities of the different districts that we are compared against. I know that our districts´ administrators have been working in closing the learning gaps for students of diverse socio-economic backgrounds that make up our district which is important because the student demographics in other school districts are not necessarily facing the same challenges that our district faces. Finally, although the high school is not part of our district, I have seen and learned from teachers and parents in the district that the high school is doing a very good job preparing students for college especially in the area of global awareness and competency.
* 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 budget issue that the school district will face is addressing the effect of Evidence Base Model Funding from the State and how that could be used to lower our property tax rates in the districts. The challenge should be to execute our capital plan that runs for the next three years and how to best use any additional state funding to bring our district closer to the state identified level of adequacy needed, right now we are at 60% and the challenge is to move it closer to 100% adequate.
* 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 am not employed by a school district nor do I have a family member employed by the 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?
Regarding the contracts with each employee group, I believe we should always seek to provide fair and motivating salaries for our employees. We should seek to maintain the employees buying power for the given role they have. I think this could be done tying any increases to something like CPI and maybe not reducing salaries if the CPI is negative.
* 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 not support a substantial increase to help boost pension´s benefits. In Illinois pensions has been very poorly handled. I think is unfair to burden tax payers further for the benefit of a few government employees. On the contrary, if the pension system had been properly administered I will be fine to reward the top leadership for the years of service.