Master's Degree, Mathematics, University of Augsburg, Germany
4 children (ages 17 to 25)
On the Record
What experiences do you have that make you a good candidate for office?
As a board member for the past 8 years, I have gained an immense amount of expertise in all areas concerning board governance. Through actively working on the board and by attending numerous workshops on various topics, I acquired extensive knowledge in the areas of school finance, the budget process, educational practices, contract negotiations, school law and others. I know to ask the right questions and I am known to not back down under pressure. Most importantly, I do have a passion for education and a desire for academic excellence in our schools.
What are your top two or three priorities if elected?
Looking at our academic programs, I will strive for a more challenging curriculum for our high achievers. While we have accomplished excellent results by aligning and strengthening the curriculum across all grades, I believe we are not doing enough for the top 20 to 25 percent of our student population. These students need more academic rigor and opportunities. In financial matters, I will continue to be a good steward of our taxpayers’ monies. Declining student enrollment in the district should eventually translate into a lower budget. As long as we maintain solid financial status, I will work for continued decrease of the property tax levy. Thinking of our buildings and grounds, I would like to explore the feasibility of moving the school entrance from Rt. 176 to Valley View Rd. and if deemed possible I will support the start of this project. The high traffic on Rt. 176 is difficult to maneuver for our staff, parents and busses. Entering/exiting school grounds from Valley View would be a safer situation for all.
Would you support freezing your taxing district’s levy until housing prices rebound? Why or why not?
Yes I would, and we have done that. The current board not only froze, but actually decreased the property tax levy for the past two years. Furthermore, in compliance with its Taxpayer Partnership Plan, this board has not levied the amounts necessary to repay long-term bond obligations since 2006. These tax abatements have saved our taxpayers about 3 million tax dollars through 2013. Our community has been very good to this district and given freely when times were good. Now times are tough, unemployment is high and so are home foreclosure rates. We owe our taxpayers to be considerate of their situation and need to tighten the belt, just as they have to. We need to find ways to do our job with less while maintaining our academic programs.
What one decision by the school board do you most disagree with and why?
I most disagree with the decision of the Board in 2007 to buy 30 acres of farmland for the price of $125,000 per acre. A referendum to buy this land and to build a school failed not only once but twice in 2006. Despite the referendum outcome, the board decided to purchase this overpriced land using an alternative financing mechanism, which did not need voter approval. I was the only board member voting against this land purchase. Conducting such a financial transaction against the will of the people was just wrong.
What was the biggest accomplishment of the board in the past year?
The biggest accomplishment would have to be the passing of the ‘Resolution to Resolve the Over Collection of Property Taxes Based on the 2002 Referendum‘. This will be achieved by permanently reducing property tax levies over a number of years. It demonstrates the board’s sincere effort to compensate the taxpayers for the over collection of taxes beyond the amount intended by the board and presented to the community at the time. Another big accomplishment, just finalized, is the pre-payment of debt certificates and the refinancing of long-term building bonds. Those two actions resulted in combined savings of about $1.9 million when compared with the previous debt service schedules.
Why should voters elect you to office?
The voters in our school district should re-elect me into office because I will continue to truly represent all our taxpayers, I will continue to listen to all voices in our community. Based on my experience I will provide stability and continuity on the board. I do not have a hidden agenda and no personal vendetta to pursue. I will continue to oversee our district with integrity and honesty, and I will strive for academic excellence while exercising utmost fiscal responsibility. As your representative, I will make sure public education remains where it belongs, in the hands of the public.
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