Bachelor's Degree, Finance, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Senior Vice-President Investment Management, Nuveen Investments
Married, Julie Lamb
Matthew Lamb, 19
Mark Lamb, 15
On the Record
What experiences do you have that make you a good candidate for office?
I believe I have specific skills including financial and leadership skills that would benefit the Geneva School District greatly. I have a finance degree from the University of Illinois and have passed the CPA exam, so my educational background lends itself to understanding the important financial aspects of the District. My 21 years of executive leadership at Nuveen Investments, a market leader in municipal bond investments, has given me extensive knowledge of public municipal finance. My in-depth knowledge of the bond market will be an asset for the School Board. I have lived in Geneva for almost 21 years and my two sons entered the School District in kindergarten. Over that time, I have had the opportunity to meet a large number of Geneva residents through school activities as well as my involvement in youth sports activities. I was a Geneva Baseball Board Member for 4 years including Commissioner for 2 and coached both baseball and basketball for over 12 years. I am also a current member of the Geneva Academic Foundation. I believe I understand and connect with a large amount of families and residents in Geneva and would serve them well as a Geneva School Board Member.
What are your top three priorities if elected?
Aggressively reduce long-term debt by continuing to refund bonds in order to reduce overall debt. I would tilt towards a more aggressive use of fund reserves, potentially to the 30% level, to pay down outstanding debt whenever there is a net savings to the district. Raise educational achievement expectations for the District by helping young parents understand educational opportunities available to their children. Educational expectations begin with parents. By giving parents of children in the K-3 grade levels the knowledge of how they can interact with the School District and how they can be involved in their child’s education is critical to raising educational expectations. The District should also set specific, measurable goals throughout all grade levels within the District. One goal should be to raise ACT test scores by 5% over the next 5 years and be in the top 10 ACT scores for Illinois public high schools in 10 years. Ensure community support for Geneva Schools remains high through School Board leadership. The Board can play an important role in ensuring community support by increasing transparency in which it conducts School District business, encouraging Board Member dialogue at meetings, and engaging community input into critical decisions facing the District.
Would you support freezing your taxing district’s levy until housing prices rebound? Why or why not?
In my opinion, the levy process is the most misunderstood part of school finance. No, I would not freeze the levy, although I would attempt to limit levy increases. I believe this question really is about limiting property tax increases related to the School District. In order to limit property tax increases associated with the School District, cost containment, delaying certain expenditures, and indentifying additional budget cuts/efficiencies needs to be a high priority in the budgeting process. The annual budget is where it all starts. Exercising discipline within the annual budget process is only part of the story with the real driver of potential tax increases relating to the projected $8 million increase in debt service obligations over the next five years. Debt service falls outside of the levy process so it is not a part of the Board’s levy powers. Aggressively paying down debt where possible needs to be a high priority and would directly help limit future tax increases.
What one decision by the school board do you most disagree with and why?
In October 2011, the District’s bond advisor, William Blair & Company, provided a financing update with options for refunding and restructuring debt. One of those options was to utilize fund reserves more fully to abate and/or defease bonds. The Board did abate certain amounts of debt but not at the levels presented by William Blair. I believe a more aggressive approach at the levels presented would have been more appropriate. In addition, total governmental fund reserve balances increased from FYE 2011 to FYE 2012, so that indicates to me that a more aggressive approach would have been feasible.
What was the biggest accomplishment of the board in the past year?
Negotiating the new teacher’s contract that resulted in a fairly equitable outcome for all parties involved without a disruption to the school year was a significant accomplishment. Establishing a Joint Salary Schedule Study Group to address future contract issues is also a significant part of that agreement. I believe the work of this Group can provide a solid base for future negotiations and help provide a fair recommendation to the Board and Association. Providing a fair recommendation should be evaluated in the context of the overall economy, financial health of the District, and employee’s performance. I believe the creation of this Group will form the basis for such a recommendation.
Why should voters elect you to office?
I have lived in Geneva for the past 21 years and have met many families and community members. I believe people that know me, respect me, and believe I could do a good job as a School Board Member. Instead of me telling everyone why they should vote for Dave Lamb, I would encourage those that do not know me to ask a neighbor or friend. There is a good chance they might know me and could provide an honest opinion. How I have conducted myself as a community member provides the basis for how I would perform as a Board Member. I believe my track record speaks for itself. Again, I would encourage all voters to please find a Geneva community member that knows me and ask for their opinion. If you receive a favorable response, then I would respectfully ask for your vote on April 9th.
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