March 19, 2009
In the April election, residents will have a chance to select four (4) new board members for the District 41 School Board. District 41 consists of Churchill Elementary, Forest Glen Elementary, Ben Franklin Elementary, Lincoln Elementary and Hadley Junior High Schools.
The School Board consists of seven members who are elected for staggered four year terms. The District 41 website states that the Board is responsible for hiring the Superintendent, sets instructional policy, approves the budget and ongoing expenditures and is ultimately responsible for the performance of the district.
Candidates for District 41 Board are:
Terra Costa Howard (view profile), Drew Ellis (view profile), Jack Kahler (view profile), John Kenwood (no profile submitted), Dan Smith (view profile - updated 3-23-09).
To help voters get to know the candidates, questions were solicited from a random mix of residents. These residents represented families from each of the district 41 schools with different levels of experience with the school district.
Below is a list of all 26 questions submitted and each of the candidate’s responses. All answers are shown as submitted. Links to Questions and Responses.
Question 1: What motivated you to seek a seat on the District 41 Board of Education? View Response Here
Question 2: How do you view the role of a school board member? View Response Here
Question 3: How many District 41 Board meetings have you attended, and when? View Response Here
Question 4: On a scale of 1-10 (10 being the highest), where would you place the community’s current approval rating of District 41? If your assessment were low, what steps would you take as a school board member to improve it? View Response Here
Question 5: What is your experience with the local educational system . . . either as a “consumer” or as a community member? View Response Here
Question 6: What set of skills and experience would you bring to the process? View Response Here
Question 7: Do you have experience in the areas of budgeting, business and finance? View Response Here
Question 8: Have you ever been involved with contract or union negotiations? View Response Here
Question 9: Do you have any ideas for making the work of the Board of Education more accessible/visible to the community? View Response Here
Question 10: What are your thoughts on the current number of District 41 institute days that in turn have reduced the number of five-day weeks of instruction during the school year? View Response Here
Question 11: What are your thoughts on the number of meetings that teachers attend during the school day that necessitate the employment of substitute staff in the classroom? View Response Here
Question 12: What are your thoughts on implementing late days instead of full snow days?
Question 13: What are your thoughts on how to revamp the buildings to accommodate so many kids (master facilities planning)? View Response Here
Question 14: What are your thoughts on class size? Are current District 41 guidelines compatible with your expectations? Do you think that current class size targets meet the needs of our students? If not, why not? View Response Here
Question 15: Do you think that the District facilities are overcrowded? If not, do you anticipate that the current space will adequately handle enrollment projections for the foreseeable future? View Response Here
Question 16: Do you have an opinion as to the optimal configuration for our District:
- local K-5, 6-8 at Hadley
- local K-6, 7-8 at Hadley
- local K-5, 5-6, 7-8 at Hadley View Response Here
Question 17: What are your thoughts in aligning 5th grade curriculum to 6th grade, and 8th grade to 9th grade so that students are better prepared for major transition? View Response Here
Question 18: What are your thoughts on using the gym at schools instead of Park District? View Response Here
Question 19: What is your position on “balloon levying?” (i.e. a methodology whereby taxing bodies request more money than they require to operate, in order to maximize their tax revenue) View Response Here
Question 20: What is your philosophy about abatement of revenue surpluses? View Response Here
Question 21: What purposes do you think cash reserves should be used for? View Response Here
Question 22: CPI for 2008 was 0.1% and it is expected that CPI will be again be quite low for 2009. This will greatly influence the budget for school years 2010-2011 and beyond. What strategies/changes should the Board/District employ to deal with expenditures outpacing revenues. View Response Here
Question 23: Recent Illinois law allows counties to create a sales tax revenue stream that is earmarked only for school construction/capital projects and is proportioned amongst county school districts based solely upon student enrollment numbers (i.e. it is not means-tested). Would you, as Board member, support or oppose D41 calling on the County Board to approve creation of such a tax? View Response Here
Question 24: Do you have an opinion on the creation of a TIF District(s) that could be proposed within the D41 boundaries? View Response Here
Question 25: School Districts are allowed to sell bonds to fund additions to buildings without going to referendum. Would you be in favor of doing so, or do you think capital improvements of that size should be approved by the community in a referendum? View Response Here
Questions solicited and compiled by Diane McGinley