The Tribune asked school board candidates in Northbrook/Glenview District 30, which covers grades K-8, the following questions.
Why did you choose to run for the school board?
Donald Feinstein: To be a part of shaping how our district is run and how it communicates with the public. I want to be an advocate for meeting the needs of all students at every level. Our district has a history of doing a good job at making sound decisions and being at the forefront of integrating new technologies and ideas in our schools. I want in be a part of continuing that history into the future. I am a parent whose children's path will take them through all 3 schools in the district and recognize the importance and roll that each of the schools plays in the district's programming.
Karen Roloff: My reasons for seeking a term as a member of the Board of Education are to continue serving the children and families of School District 30. In addition to being an experienced board member, I continue to be invested and involved in the district's schools and I am informed and aware of the critical issues facing suburban school districts. As an educator, I bring a deep and intense understanding of public school teachers and administrators. Serving the District 30 schools and preserving our tradition of excellence constitutes my only agenda.
Ursula Sedlak: I choose to run for the school board because I am serving my second year as PTO President at Wescott School and have eight years of experience working as a PTO Upper & Lower Board Member at Wescott. I work alongside other parents and with teachers and administrators on almost a daily basis. I see the strengths, I see the challenges, and I see the opportunities. I see them play out in real time every day. I think this gives me a unique perspective as a candidate and gives me an ability to effectuate change.
Frederick Sloneker: I chose to run for school board because I love children, I love education, I love our school district, and I am certain my own experience and education can benefit all three. In addition, I feel strongly the community would be better served by more members who have children attending District 30 schools. The majority of the board either has no children in the district, or will not have children in the district by 2015. In addition, every school district in Illinois will face challenges due to the changes that the Illinois General Assembly seems set to impose on local communities. Those very challenges are the impetus for my candidacy.
Kenneth Spero: I have been a member of the District 30 School Board for the past 4 years. I have always enjoyed volunteer work and being on the school board has allowed me to give back to a wonderful and caring community. I have learned so much during my first four years on the board and feel that I can continue to provide sound judgment for the school board and our district.
What are some of the issues or problems you see in your school district and want to fix?
Donald Feinstein: With some of the upcoming retirements of key administration positions, the next board will have the monumental task of filling those positions with candidates that will not only help us stay one of the top districts in the State but also lead us into taking the next steps in integrating technology and working with the staff to keep us on top. Part of this will be working on staff preparation and assuring that they have the resources needed to teach to the new common core standards. My approach to this, or any challenge, is to gather as much information on the subject as I can, and to seek out as many opinions on the topic I can find. This way I am able make an informed and objective decision.
Karen Roloff: There are at least three significant issues which we face in the next four years:
We must maintain our excellent educational programs by staying current with curriculum, hiring and retaining excellent faculty, and supporting their professional development.
We are facing significant administrative turnover due to retirements. We must engage in succession planning, search for and hire new administrators, and support their transitions.
We must protect and preserve our excellent fiscal condition which is the foundation for our excellent educational programing, our ability to attract excellent faculty and staff, and the support of our community.
Ursula Sedlak: I think the biggest issues facing School District 30, and quite frankly one that every family and person faces these days, is the ability to do more with a steady or decreasing level of funding from state and federal sources in education. Let's face it, due to federal sequestration and increasing state deficits, chances are that funds from these sources will be reduced over the near to medium term. However, I am energized by this challenge as I feel we are fortunate to have terrific teachers, administrators and families in District 30.3.
Frederick Sloneker: The most important issues or problems facing us are not 'in' our district - they are macro issues facing all districts to varying degrees:
1) looming fiscal challenges, given Illinois indebtedness and public sector debt and deficits at every level throughout the country.
2) rapid technological change that will impact paradigms of instruction, learning, and assessment
As for issues specific to our district, there is nothing that I 'want to fix'. I do not come with an agenda. Early in my consulting career I learned not to pre-judge issues before first being educated in detail. I want to spend time on the board before tackling specifics.
Kenneth Spero: I feel that our district is very well run. We have managed to continually have a balanced budget while providing excellent education to our students. We will need to continue to enhance our curriculum to make sure that it is aligned with Common Core Standards and allow our district to continue as a high achieving district. We will need to continue to monitor the technology that our students and teachers use with continued exploration of one to one computing. Additionally we will continue to monitor state and federal legislative changes for curriculum and fiscal changes. Our states budget crisis as well as dwindling federal funds could result in decrease funding for our district.
What expertise do you have that will benefit the school district's board in your opinion?