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:
- President Riverside Brookfield High School Board
- Chairman Zoning Board Of Appeals Village Of Brookfield
- Planning Commission Village Of Brookfield
- Chairman Brookfield 2020 Master Plan
Education: DePaul University B.S., DePaul University MBA
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?
There is no measurable data which has shown that there are effects on our student’s performance with the increased class size. The class sizes have been increased starting in the 2012-13 school. The board & Administration must continuously monitor our student’s performance to ensure that we are providing our students with the tools needed to succeed.
RBHS, despite its recent cuts, is still running a budget deficit. Do more cuts need to be made? Where?
When I was elected to this board the school was running a large deficit which was not sustainable. These deficits forced our district to secure a back door referendum of $5 million dollar working cash bond which we are still paying. The board through extensive cost review developed a budget which provided a surplus on June 30, 2012. Our leading expense is salary & benefits which is over 70% of our school budget. Until we know the outcomes of the future contract with the teachers, the board will not know the effect on the budget and what revenue will be needed.
Is there a need for RBHS to seek a property tax referendum to increase revenues? Why or why not?
In 2011 over 70% of the voters in our community did not support giving more monies to Riverside Brookfield High School. The economic realities that are facing our community are still there. We have made cuts and learned to live within our current revenue stream through aggressive budget controls. Until we have the teacher’s contract settled we will not know the effect that this contract will have for the financial future of our district.
What would you like to see in the next teachers’ contract? What would you change, if anything?
We have great teachers providing our students with the tools needed to succeed. The new contract must be able to address several points that were missing in the two previous contracts. The contract must be able to provide our Superintendent with the power needed to run the school to provide our students with the best education that will help them to succeed in life. The contract must be able to be financially feasible and fair to allow the district to live within their revenue and avoid large deficits. The contract must clean up areas of the contract which provide confusion and provide no benefit to the district.
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?
The board implemented this policy to avoid extensive cuts in our extracurricular programs. These programs help to enhance the experience our students have at our school. We will not know what changes will need to be made until we know the outcome of our future teachers contract on how that will effect available funding. The board must monitor the extracurricular programs to ensure that we are offering programs that will create a great high school experience for our students.
Do you think there should be a limit on the number of classes students can take in a given period? Should there be changes to the school’s graduation requirements? Why or why not?
No I am not in favor of lowering the graduation requirements. I feel that we need to provide our students with the requirements and flexibility to help them succeed when they graduate from our high school. We are now starting to monitor our students by their class in order to monitor their progress from freshman to senior year on an annual basis which was not previously reviewed by our staff. This will allow us to constantly monitor our students and provide the tools/skills needed to succeed.
What other issues do you believe are important for the next school board to address?
The board’s main goal for the school is to provide a sustainable education for our students. Once we have the teacher’s contract settled and know what our financial future will be we must focus our vision to the future. This vision will include several areas such as technology moving to a 1 to 1 school for our students. Additionally we must provide a capital plan which will allow the board to strategically plan for larger expenditures needed for our school. Finally we must look continually look at our students to see what we can provide them in the applied arts to help them succeed after they graduate.