Jeff Mason

Demographics

Independent

55

Crystal Lake

Bachelor's Degree, Accounting, Michigan State University

Finance and Contracts, AT&T

Married, Karen Mason

Sarah, 32

Emily, 30

Megan, 27

Abigail, 25

Hannah, 15

On the Record

What experiences do you have that make you a good candidate for office?

I have served on the D47 Board since 2009, the last two years as board president. In addition, I served on the D47 Board from 1996 until 2002.

What are your top two or three priorities if elected?

1) Maintain the financial strength of the district with balanced budgets, which is difficult with the continuing economic downturn and the uncertainties of state funding and pension reform being allocated to school districts; 2) Continue to improve delivery of educational support and services to improve both student performance and the ability for educators to teach our children; 3) Expand the use of technology in our classrooms.

Would you support freezing your taxing district’s levy until housing prices rebound? Why or why not?

The question focuses too narrowly on housing values while ignoring other relevant factors, such as the current debate in Springfield regarding the pension crisis. If the legislature forces an allocation of the pension liability to school districts, that action could require drastic expense reductions and/or a levy increase. While no one – including me – likes a tax increase, I believe that preserving a financially and educationally strong school district maintains value for taxpayers better than if the district is in a mode of layoffs, school closings, and/or falling test scores. My commitment is that I will continue to drive value to the taxpayers by maintaining a financially strong school district, reducing costs wherever and whenever possible, and that I will examine the district’s revenue requirements each year with an eye towards minimizing the tax impact. As an elected official, I will always listen to input from taxpayers and be willing to discuss my position on each levy, whether at meetings, in phone calls or e-mails, or out on the street or in line at a store.

What one decision in the past year by the school board do you most disagree with and why?

I don’t believe I disagree with any decisions that have been made, but since we’re in the education field, we can and should learn from past experiences to improve the board’s effectiveness in the future. As with any organization, there are always improvements which can be made, and after every meeting, I take the time to examine any learning points from the meeting that can be used in the future, and share those as appropriate.

What was the biggest accomplishment of the board in the past year?

Implementing full-day kindergarten in the 2013-2014 school year at all of our elementary schools. Now that we have the space to implement this program, it will better prepare our students from a younger age for the increasing common core standards being implemented at each grade level, and is responsive to parents who have been requesting full-day kindergarten for a long time.

Why should voters elect you to office?

My experience as a board member, my background in finance and contract administration, and my passion for education make me a good candidate to be re-elected.