Bachelor's Degree, Political Science, Illinois State University
Master's Degree, Education, Northern Illinois University
Assistant Superintendent, Valley View Unit School District 365U
On the Record
What experiences do you have that make you a good candidate for office?
I have 25 years working in public education. I have vast professional experience that I can use for the benefit of the Batavia community. I have touched the many areas of a school system, such as finance, transportation, food service, insurance, facilities and construction and technology. I am familiar with the many challenges we face given the difficult financial environment we find ourselves in. I also believe in having both short and long term outlooks to better prepare the district for what lies ahead. And I have two children attending our schools.
What are your top two or three priorities if elected?
The two greatest challenges most school districts in the state will face are 1) the financial impact of pension reform, and 2) the dramatic shift to Common Core standards and the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC) assessment requirements on the technology infrastructure for our schools. These will both be high-cost concerns that will require much attention and planning.
Would you support freezing your taxing district\'s levy until housing prices rebound? Why or why not?
Most people are never in favor of raising taxes, especially in this down economy. Unfortunately, bonded debt needs to be serviced as this was a commitment by the community to allow building and expansion to take place. If the bond repayment structure requires larger payments over time, this will automatically cause an increase in that portion of the tax levy. The district could refinance the debt if the opportunity is available, or it could use operational dollars to pay a portion of the debt payment for that year. Also, you have to be cautious about not requesting a levy extension that may leave a district short on levy authority in the future, due to the nature of the tax cap legislation.
What one decision by the school board do you most disagree with and why?
It is often easy to second-guess decisions made by someone else. I know from experience the logistics of expanding a high school while students and staff are still in attendance while construction is going on. I thought the 3-year timeframe for the High School expansion was too protracted. I know the construction was phased, but I would not have supported such a long construction schedule.
What was the biggest accomplishment of the board in the past year?
Certainly the identification and hiring of the new Superintendent has to be recognized as the biggest achievement for the current Board. It is a difficult and arduous process that is not to be taken lightly. It is the Superintendent that can either take you to the next level, or create disharmony and dysfunction. I support the Board’s decision in its choice of Dr. Hichens for that role.
Why should voters elect you to office?
As I stated earlier, I have almost 25 years of experience in all facets of public education. I have served as President of the statewide Illinois Association of School Business Officials and have presented and participated in countless professional development opportunities. I know and understand the commitment required to be an engaged school board member, and will represent the students, staff and community in the best way possible. Public education is a very complex business that requires someone who understands the multiple aspects of its operation. It would be difficult to find a more qualified Board candidate than myself.
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