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:
Served on the Forest View Park Board
Previous community experience:
As a thirty-eight year resident of Forest View I have been active in the Home School PTA and served as the first PTA President of the newly formed George Washington Middle School, I was active in the Illinois PTA in the local, district and state levels, served on the forest View Pak Board, a volunteer at St. Pius X parish as a Lector, CCD instructor and president of the Woman’s CCW organization, and served as a member and president of the District 103 Band and Orchestra Parent’s Association. Currently I stay in touch with our elected Legislators encouraging to always considering what is best for our kids by making phone calls and sending emails.
Occupation: Retired from District 103
Why are you running for a seat on District 103 school board?
I feel that since the last school board election the focus of our district has changed from students to politics and politicians. I want to be a part of refocusing to what is best for our children and away from politicians benefiting from political connections.
Are you or a family member employed by the village of Lyons? No
What role should municipal politics and politicians play at the school board level? What influence does Lyons Village Hall have on decisions the school board makes?
Municipal politics and politicians should not have any role on the school board. As a school district we should form positive relationships with the five communities being served by District 103. We don’t run their municipalities and they don’t run the school district. Right now I feel the Lyons Politicians call the shots on the school board putting their political agenda ahead of our students, staff and residents of the remaining four communities.
Currently five of our seven school board members have ties to the Village of Lyons either as employees, or related to a Lyons employee. They vote as a block asking no questions. It is obvious that they have been coached on how to vote. Make no mistake if you take the time to study the connections between the village leaders and some of our administrators hired by the board, they are politically connected, going so far as to create a $100,000 position for Kyle Hastings, who served as the interim superintendent last year at a salary of $900 per day. They also created a HR position and hired the attorney that worked with the political board members after they were elected.
What do you think about standardized (PARCC) test scores and academic performance at schools in District 103? What action can the school board take to help improve student achievement?
PAARC scores are a snapshot of student achievement and our scores are not good. I am interested in the scores of our student achievement assessments and what we can do as a district to improve these scores and help struggling students. The board must work with administrators and teachers to develop a plan for success. Maybe the $100,000 being spent on a salary for Kyle Hastings and the $115,000 being spent for cosmetic changes in the administration building could have been used to provide professional development for teachers and provide more resources for them to use to help our students.
How does District 103 integrate technology into the classroom? What can be done to expand the integration of technology at the classroom level
I believe that this is another area that needs improvement. We have lap tops and chrome books and while some classrooms have integrated them into the classroom we are not even close to making all of our teachers’ comfortable using technology. Our current technology director does not appear to have the expertise to work with the staff to reach this goal. We need to replace our current director with one that understands the classroom culture and can help our teachers. I know that our teachers understand the importance of technology but they are at different comfort levels.
What is your evaluation of the new District 103 superintendent and administrative team?
I do not have a positive evaluation of the superintendent and new administrators. I believe they are failing our students and staff. The board has hired a superintendent, curriculum director, special education director and a K-5 principal in an elementary school district with no elementary experience. I’m not convinced that their high school experience successfully transfers to a K-8 school district. Once again if you take the time to do some research you will find that they are also politically connected to Kyle Hastings and the Lyons Politicians. It is time to stop making decisions that affect our children based on politics and political patronage jobs. Combining that with fact that they are receiving guidance from a law firm that is also politically connected to the Village of Lyons is a recipe for disaster, a disaster that cannot be avoided with these inexperienced elementary leaders.
What other issues are important to you as a school board candidate? How would you advocate for them as a board member?
In addition to cleansing our district from politics, politicians and political hiring, helping our teachers be the best they can be so our students reap those benefits. I want to see the school board develop a better connection with our parents. They have entrusted us with their most valuable treasure, their children. We have the responsibility to ensure we are doing all we can to live up to that responsibility. Perhaps yearly town hall meetings will help the board understand the concerns of parents and create a meaningful discussion.