- Website: www.top3for230.com
- E-mail address: email@example.com
- Phone: 708-655-5444
- Address: Orland Park
- Age: 40
- Family: Spouse Teri; 3 children ages 10, 9 and 7
- Education: Bachelor’s Degree, Bradley University
- Occupation: President, PRO Insurance Services, Inc.
- Political party affiliation, if any: None
- Previous elected offices: Consolidated High School District 230 Board of Education
- Applicable experience qualifying you for the position: Current board member, current president. Past chairman of Building & Finance Committee
What is the primary reason you are running for this office?
As a proud alumnus, I wanted to give back to the district and assure that my children have an outstanding high school experience.
What will be your single most important priority if you get elected?
Maintain the excellent financial condition of the district.
What sets you apart from the other candidates?
Having lived in the district for 30 years in both Palos and Orland Townships, I have deep roots in the community. Also, having been on the board for one term, I have the experience and understanding of how the school district functions.
What is the greatest challenge facing the school district, and how do you intend to work to overcome the issue?
The biggest challenge is projected declining enrollment. We have to make sure we staff to our enrollment and use our facilities efficiently.
District 230 has maintained a balanced budget for the last six years. This past year the budget was balanced in part with Tax Anticipation Warrants, which involve taking loans with interest from other entities, in the event the county was late on its payments. Is this a sound fiscal strategy, and would you endorse it in the future? If not, what would be a better plan to maintain a balanced budget?
With all due respect, the budget was not balanced in any way due to Tax Anticipation Warrants. Tax Anticipation Warrants fund the district as the district waits for money that is due, or in D230’s case, overdue.
The district has a deadline to submit its budget. At budget time, the district did not know when the county and state would disperse the funds to the district. Therefore, a contingency plan was put into place to perhaps obtain Tax Anticipation Warrants in case the district wasn’t funded in a timely manner. Since we didn’t need the warrants, that cost will be incurred this year.
How can the school district continue to manage with the recent decline in state funding?
The biggest impact will be on the state re-imbursement for transportation. As long as we know what to expect from Springfield, we can plan and budget accordingly. This means we will have to look at transportation logistics to be sure we are as efficient as possible.
As the spectrum of special needs grows, what can the school district do to keep up with the ever-changing and demanding needs of special needs students, especially those with autism?
Special Needs is a highly regulated or mandated area and there is not much flexibility. The district has added more responsibilities to our Director of Special Education to spend more time on each child’s needs to determine our ability to work with that child. The goal is to lower the amount of outsourced students since the director will have more data on each individual student.
Were the artificial turf fields installed at District 230 schools last summer a necessary expense?
The turf fields allow for safer use of the facilities by co-curricular activities, gym classes, and community groups.
Each field hosts approximately 30 soccer and 15 football games in the fall and 30 soccer games in the spring. With Lacrosse scheduled to become an IHSA sport, this would add another 30 events in the spring. No grass field in this climate can handle that kind of demand safely.
Also, since it is taxpayer money, D230 has been EXTREMELY pro-active in advertising the availability of the fields to other organizations. Already the district has various organizations using the turf fields.
Do you believe the State of Illinois should consolidate school districts to save money? Is District 230 the right size for such a measure?
There are some schools that perhaps should be consolidated. I do not believe it should be mandated. It should be up to the local voters who fund a majority of the schools to determine their own educational future.
Governor (Pat) Quinn's proposal would limit the size of a school district to 30,000 to 35,000 residents in a district. Since the district has over 60,000 residents, perhaps D230 would be in line for de-consolidation? Local control over school districts is a big part of District 230’s continued success. It is community based and that is something we should never lose.
Do teachers' unions help or hurt school finances and the education students receive? What does it take to reach an agreement that is acceptable to the unions while reasonable for the district’s finances?
Each district and local association or union has their own unique relationship with one another. District 230 has just renewed its agreement with the teachers for another three years. It was the most fiscally conservative package in Cook County. Credit goes to BOTH the administration and the teachers for coming together and recognizing these very difficult economic times. The relationship between the two bargaining entities is extremely open and collaborative.
Is there concern that asking for a lowered 1-percent levy increase instead of the 3.2-percent increase the district was eligible before will hurt district down the road? Since a district can only ask for what it got the year before plus a certain amount, are you worried about future levies being based on a figure $2 million lower than it could have been in a move that saved the average homeowner about $30?
Each year’s budget is unique. District 230 bases its budget and staffing on enrollment and the budget is a consequence of that variable.
One must have an eye for the long-term but also recognize the current economic climate. Since the district has been successful in balancing its budget each year of my term, we have very healthy fund balances and are given Illinois’ highest available financial rating. It is appropriate to give tax payers a break during tough times.