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: Currently a member of the District 208 School Board
Previous Community Involvement: Coach for youth T%u2010ball, Basketball, and Soccer; St. Mary Pastoral Counsel; Riverside Swim Club Treasurer; Riverside%u2010Brookfield Swim Club Otters Treasurer
Education: BS Accounting from Southern Illinois University, MA Accounting%u2010Taxation from Southern Illinois University
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?
At this point, there is no measurable data that suggest that these cuts have had a negative effect on the educational product of the high school. I do not believe that the educational product has been diminished.
RBHS, despite its recent cuts, is still running a budget deficit. Do more cuts need to be made? Where?
Although the FYE June 2012 was predicted to be a deficit, the result was actually an operating surplus. Many cuts have been made in the last two years, however, until the current teacher contract is completed, the true financial impact will not be known. We won’t know until later this year, but hopefully, we again can end the year with an operating surplus.
Is there a need for RBHS to seek a property tax referendum to increase revenues? Why or why not?
My answer today is no. Our current spending has our end of the year balance in the operating funds at a level which is 20-25% of our spending. As a board, we need to show the taxpayers that our costs are under control before any property tax referendum is moved forward. The new teacher contract will have an impact on this issue in the future.
What would you like to see in the next teachers’ contract? What would you change, if anything?
I would like to see our superintendent in control, which means more management rights. I would also like to see all the hallway handshakes and back room deals corrected. Overall, the language throughout the contract is poor and needs to be corrected. Once in place, I want both sides to actually follow the contract.
Do you think the district should continue its pay%u2010to%u2010participate policy, or should that policy be changed? If so, how?
Should athletic programs be cut? Yes the pay-to-play policy should continue. This policy has been in place for only a short period of time. As a board, we have asked the administration to closely watch the participation numbers, etc. so that informed decisions based on data can be made for the future. At this time, no athletic programs should be cut. We need to provide as many after school activities and opportunities for our students that we can.
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?
We need to provide quality education in a financial sustainable setting. I would like see as many opportunities for our students as possible. However, if this is not financially sustainable, then we must consider what can be done. Currently, we require more than the state does for graduation. If it is possible, I would like to see that remain in place.
What other issues do you believe are important for the next school board to address?
After spending almost four years addressing the many issues that resulted from the lack of clear management of the school in the past, I believe that we as a board can finally start to really look forward to keep our high school as one of the best in the area. Technology and a 1 to 1 for students must also be addressed.