Bachelor's Degree, Language and Literature, Governor’s State University
Substitute teacher, Batavia Public Schools 101
Married, Michael Juby
On the Record
What experiences do you have that make you a good candidate for office?
I served on the Geneva Board of Education from 2007-2011. During that time, I participated in board member workshops and conferences presented by the Illinois Association of School Boards. Prior to that, I was active in the Coultrap PTO, participated in the building task force projects, and attended most board meetings from 2000-2011. I am a current member of a statewide task force charged with identifying and mitigating behaviors and policies that lead to suspension and expulsion in students of color and work closely with the Illinois State Board of Education. I have participated in continuing education through the United States Department of Education and the United States Department of Justice. I am the current secretary for the Geneva Strategic Plan Advisory Committee and am a member of the Geneva Beautification Committee and the Historic Homeowners Association. When not volunteering my time, I substitute teach in Batavia. My extensive experiences in working collaboratively on various boards and my desire to continue to be a life long learner make me a good candidate for office.
What are your top three priorities if elected?
One of my priorities for the district is to ensure that all students receive a well -balanced education that prepares them for future success. The implementation of the Common Core State Standards and the accompanying new assessment, will provide the opportunity to strengthen the curriculum as student expectations are raised. Declining property values, a lack of new construction, and approximately $300M debt from previous referenda, have strained the district’s finances. Additionally, the state continues underfunding and the potential pension cost shift could add 2.6 M to the district’s pension contribution each year. We must continue to reduce the debt, whether through restructuring or refinancing of bonds or making thoughtful budget consolidations, without compromising the quality of education. Effective dialogue with the community, parents, staff, and administration is an important factor in the successful school management. Many issues are polarizing, as seen during the teacher contract negotiations. To engage all stakeholders in the common goal of student success, the district must provide information that is mission oriented and shows data driven outcomes. Ongoing, collaborative, not adversarial, engagement of all parties through meaningful, clear, and accurate information sharing will enable the common values and vision for student achievement to be embraced by all.
Would you support freezing your taxing district’s levy until housing prices rebound? Why or why not?
School finance is complex. The school board adopts its levy in December based on a budget approved the previous spring for a tax amount that will be determined during the following year. In addition to trying to foresee the current Equalized Assessed Values, the district must also predict the amount of new property growth and the potential loss of revenue if commercial properties successfully appeal their assessed property values. The county automatically collects taxes for the district’s debt service so any “extra” taxes that are needed to operate the schools are determined during the budget decision process. In order to reduce the burden on the taxpayers, cost-savings targets must be made at that time. I am committed to a thoughtful, thorough evaluation of the needs of the district that will keep our quality of education competitive.
What one decision by the school board do you most disagree with and why?
The decision to actively enforce policy 0167.3, Public Participation at Board Meetings, is the one decision with which I most disagree. While this has been a standing policy since 2006, I do not believe it has been enforced until this year. I am sure that the decision to require all individuals who wish to speak to submit a form requesting permission to speak prior to the meeting start was not determined without cause and much deliberation by the board. However, the ability to comment on information presented during the meetings has always been integral to the commitment to open communication with the community. Speaking at meetings is difficult and often unplanned. Limiting impromptu questions prevents the board from hearing feedback from the community. It is sad that the actions of a few have stifled the voices of many.
What was the biggest accomplishment of the board in the past year?
The board faces many challenges each year. Some of them are easily resolved while others may take years of research and discussion. I believe one of the biggest accomplishments of the board in this past year was dealing with two land issues that were under consideration when I was on the board. The decision to sell the unnecessary Brundige acreage required a review and subsequent revision to the long-term master plan of the district. The decision to demolish the Coultrap facility came after years of dialogue. While I may not agree with their decision on the historic building, I applaud the board for taking action during this tenure.
Why should voters elect you to office?
During my previous service on the board, I asked detailed questions of administration in an attempt to understand the very complex issues that face the school district on a daily basis. I researched issues of which I had little or no knowledge, spoke with constituents to gain insight, and tried to make the best possible decisions with the information at hand. My experience in the classroom, coupled with my former tenure as a board member, my ongoing professional development, and my deep commitment to education and public service make me a well-rounded addition to this diverse group. I respectfully ask for your vote on April 9th.
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