Donna Ricci

Demographics

Republican

48

Crystal Lake

Bachelor's Degree, Mass Communications , Western Illinois University

Bachelor's Degree, Sociology , Western Illinois University

Homemaker & Teacher, Crystal Lake Park District

Married, Brett Ricci

Tony Ricci, 17

Danielle Ricci, 14

Lauren Ricci, 11

On the Record

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

My work experience has included small business owner, sales, park district teacher, and healthy choices speaker. Each job has provided me with a variety of practical experiences and skills that would contribute to the position of School Board Member. Most important is my role as a wife and mother. My husband Brett and I have been married twenty-three years and we are long-time residents of Crystal Lake. We have three children who attend schools in the district; Elementary, Middle and High School. I love to volunteer in my children’s schools. For many years, I have served and continue serving, on the Arts Alive and WEB reading. I am a District 47 Parent Advisory Board Representative, in this role I am a liaison between the parents of Husmann School and the district administration. We meet regularly with the Superintendent, Dr. Mendoza and other Board Members to discuss current issues.

What are your top two or three priorities if elected?

Serving on the School Board includes being accountable to the students, principals, teachers, taxpayers, administration and all who serve in the schools. Being a mother and homemaker allows me to be flexible in serving at the schools. My first priority would be to visit all the schools in the district and talk with the students and staff, to find out their needs and help provide solutions. I would like to work with the social workers to see how to meet the practical needs as well as the social needs of the students. If requested, I would make myself available to the schools to be an extra hand to provide mentoring, creative skills or physical activity. Secondly, students thrive in an environment that offers academics combined with extracurricular activities: maintaining a well-rounded curriculum would be a priority. I believe that art, music, and gym are very important for all grade level students. When balancing the school board budget, I would keep the extracurricular activities as a priority in our schools.

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

When formulating a solution to this important question, we need to look long term and not just for a temporary fix. I would support a tax freeze with the mindset that government spending must also be kept under control. The two objectives must work together in order for the outcome to be effective for the schools, taxpayers and teachers. Even the average family has to do more with less during these tough economic times; the school board is no different. As a taxpayer, we pay a certain percent more in taxes each year while our household income and real estate value decline. Thus, forcing us to make further cuts in our household expenses that we have already trimmed due to inflation and less income. In order to enable a tax levy freeze, just like us taxpayers have been forced to cut our household expenses, the school board cannot continue to deficit spend and needs to work on a balanced budget.

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

I do not fully agree with the passing of the Character Education Program. The state of Illinois does not require schools to implement a program, just a policy, which has been in place in our district. Main concerns included: cost of program, teachers time and training, time away from core subjects, unclear implementation, how to measure the success, substance in lessons and protection of parental rights. Respectfully we did address our concerns at a school board meeting. The program did pass, and in moving forward, I hope to help draw out the positive attributes and continue reaching out to the community.

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

In my opinion, the wonderful improvements and upgrades to our district schools. This past summer launched the start of close to fifty construction plans initiated by the board. This is part of a ten year facility vision, which includes renovations to aging school buildings. The majority of the work included new roofs, windows, doors, electrical and HVAC system upgrades. The projects varied according to the need at each school. West and Husmann, received the most improvement. I have noticed a big change in Husmann School, with the old 1970’s wing receiving a much needed updating. This included new lockers, new drinking fountains, fresh paint and larger looking classrooms. The district’s improvement plan for the three middle schools focused on flooring, concrete work and masonry improvements. These improvements were thoughtfully planned and budgeted by the board. Not only are these improvements necessary for safety, they also provide students and faculty with a sense of pride for their schools. Nice job!

Why should voters elect you to office?

I believe I fill a void on the current board. There is no one currently on the board, nor is there any other candidate, who is a mother of young children. This is an important viewpoint that must be represented on our school board. The best boards are diverse because they mirror the community they represent. Who better to do what is best for our kids than someone with children in our schools today. In addition, to being a wife, mom and a taxpayer, I am an active member in the community and in the schools. I serve in church leadership, in local community –based nonprofit organizations. I believe these experiences have provided me with the skills and attributes that will help me be an effective school board member.

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