Below are candidate-submitted answers to a biographical survey Riverside-Brookfield Landmark sent out to all candidates running in this year’s elections.

Previous political experience: Three term School Board Member, Brookfield LaGrange Park School District 95

Previous community involvement: Currently volunteer with DesPlaines Valley Council Boy Scouts as an Assistant District Commissioner and Popcorn Chairman; Boy Scout Troop 90, Committee Member; Bible Related Ministries, Board Member. Past volunteer with Cub Scout Pack 90, Cub Master; Chicago Ridge/ Worth Chamber of Commerce, President; March of Dimes Suburban Chef’s Auction, committee member; Involved in various Chambers of Commerce; and Young Professionals of Naperville.

Education: Argo Community High School; Moraine Valley Community College, Associates degree; Lewis University, Bachelors degree

RBHS has made cuts to its budget in recent years, which have increased class sizes and decreased the number of teachers. What effect have these cuts had on the educational product at the high school?

It is too soon to tell what the true effect will be on how the students learn. Over the last decade, average class size has decreased and increased all within a 20% range. As the Board deals with the fiscal realities, it will need to balance the program offerings with class size.

RBHS, despite its recent cuts, is still running a budget deficit. Do more cuts need to be made? Where?

This year’s budget has a deficit of a little over $150,000. This teachers’ contract will have a big impact on the District’s finances. Once it is settled, we will be able to see if additional cuts are needed or if programs can be restored within our fiscal realities.

Is there a need for RBHS to seek a property tax referendum to increase revenues? Why or why not?

It is too soon to tell. The largest expenditure of the District is salaries and benefits. Until a contract is approved, it is too soon to talk about referendum.

What would you like to see in the next teachers’ contract? What would you change, if anything?

I would like to see a compensation structure that helps balance the budget while retaining highly qualified teachers. This is a great time to look at salary, benefits, and how stipend positions can be handled.

Do you think the district should continue its pay-to-participate policy, or should that policy be changed? If so, how? Should athletic programs be cut?

Unfortunately, with the current state of the finances, I do not see how to retain the programs if pay-to-participate is not continued. I think it is important to offer multiple options to engage our students. Right now, pay-to- participate is the best way to offer multiple programs with minimal cuts in the offerings.

Do you think there should be a limit on the number of classes students can take in a given grading period? Should there be changes to the school’s graduation requirements? Why or why not?

The days of reading, writing and arithmetic being the only skills needed to prepare our students for the world have passed. We need to challenge the students and have high expectations. Any changes to graduation requirements should be considered and implemented only to better reflect the challenges of the world that our students need to be prepared for.

What other issues do you believe are important for the next school board to address?

This School Board needs to enhance relationships to build the future of the District. The community, staff, administration, and Board itself need to find ways to communicate better. Relationships and communication are critical in order to pursue educational excellence.

I believe that our community will only stay a strong community if there are strong schools in it. Throughout the country, I have not heard of a strong community with weak schools. The Board needs to understand the desires and concerns of the community. Those concerns and desires need to be incorporated in the vision of the school. The Board also needs to share what is happening in the community’s schools and encourage participation.

The Board and administration need to build a respectful relationship with the staff. The upcoming contract negotiation will only be settled with that respect. In a good relationship both sides try to understand the other’s point of view. The Board has some harsh fiscal realities to work through in this contract. They will not be able to work through that without having a relationship with the staff. Once the contract is settled, a good relationship will allow the focus to be the educational initiatives and expectations that both sides want and are working towards. With this mutual respect, attainable goals can be set for the students, staff, district and community.