The Riverside-Brookfield Landmark sent questionnaires to each person running for public office in 2023. The Landmark’s questions are in bold and the candidate’s responses are below.
Name: Tim Vlcek
Previous Political Experience: None
Previous/Current Community Involvement: Volunteer fireman, hockey coach, current volunteer mentor, LTHS Incubator program
Occupation: Executive management
Education: Community college
1. Why are you running to be on the school board? What motivates you and what experience and perspectives would you bring to the job? How would those be valuable as an elected official?
I am running for the Board because I am concerned about the dip in academic proficiency and believe there is need for improvement on providing safe environments for all students. Mentoring for the school’s Incubator program has given me a hands-on opportunity to observe students in their environment. I believe this experience, combined with my background in business ownership and executive management, provides me with the skillset needed to solve problems and help create solutions to our current challenges.
2. For the 2021-22 school year, LTHS hired a director of equity and belonging and launched initiatives to address equity. What in your view is the value of pursuing diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives? Has LT started to achieve equitable outcomes for students? How can it do better?
Every student should receive an equitable education. People with special academic and learning needs should have the resources they need to succeed.
3. During the past year or so, there has been a lot of discussion over the implementation and then modifications to LTHS’ grading system. What are your views on the change/tweaks? Is there anything else that needs to be done and, if so, what?
It’s highly concerning to see math levels at 53% and reading at 49% as provided on Illinoisreportcard.com. The bottom line is we need to get back to basics, and be willing to change tactics in real time as often as needed to reach our goals.
4. There has been some discussion in the District 204 community about whether Lyons Township High School has maintained academic standards and is preparing students adequately for college and careers. What is your assessment of that claim? Can you provide examples of where the school may be lacking or where it excels in delivering a high-quality high school education?
I do believe there is a drop in performance levels, and we are missing the mark in post graduate preparedness. We have a reported 95% grad rate and a 28% chronic absenteeism rating – how can that be? It is also reported that 20% of students who go to Community College have to take remedial courses.
I have personally spoken to students that graduated last year and they said they weren’t prepared for college; they were shocked at the amount of homework, the penalties they faced for non-attendance, and that test taking had a major impact on their grades. The ownership is on the students at the college level – they are not prepared for this. I have also talked to students who never did/had homework, attended class less than 50% of the time and still graduated. How can this be?
5. District 204’s board of education is planning to sell 70-acres of land it owns in Willow Springs, possibly before the next school board is seated. What is your view on whether the land should be sold? If you support the sale, what is the best use for the proceeds?
There’s been zero transparency on the sale of property till last November – a total disregard for the residents of Willow Springs. The property is already zoned residential, lite retail and senior living, but the only bids received were for industrial development, this I oppose. I feel the land should be sold maintaining the integrity of the community; especially with a grade school located so close to it. I would support selling to developers who would not have a negative effect on homeowners and/or quality of life. This timeline has made people question trust for the board. Closed door meetings promote the lack of transparency.
6. What are the biggest challenges facing District 204 and how should the school board address them?
I believe academics and safety are the biggest challenges. Kids need to feel safe at school, safe from cyber bullying, social pressure and physical threats. They need to be able to feel they can speak and act freely without retribution from other students and staff, and they need to be held accountable for academics and attendance.