Ina Silva-Sobolewski: Candidate profile

  • Ina Silva-Sobolewski is candidate for District U-46 school board.

    Ina Silva-Sobolewski is candidate for District U-46 school board.

 
Posted3/11/2019 12:01 AM

Bio

Name: Ina Silva-Sobolewski

 

City: Hanover Park

Office sought: U-46 school board member

Age: 56

Family: Michael Sobolewski, husband (deceased), Rachel Sobolewski, daughter, Rebecca Sobolewski, daughter

Occupation: Portuguese translator and interpreter

Education: Bachelors in Translation and interpretation

Civic involvement: Women's causes

Previous elected offices held: none

Facebook: ina for U46

Issue Questions

What are the most important issues facing your district and how do you intend to address them?

As a minority, immigrant, black, mother, and widow myself, I understand the challenges and uncertainty the parents of the U-46 school district face daily. They need a voice to address their insecurity as they look to the future of their children. Since I moved from Palatine to Streamwood in the summer of 1997, I have heard consistent concerns regarding the curriculum. Many parents I know have doubts about whether their children are receiving the best education that prepares them for the future. Most of the concerns are about the lack of integration between schools in the district and the fact that, overall, U46 has very low PARCC and SAT scores when compared to other Illinois school districts. Let's compare the overall SAT proficiency with D211 for example. The Palatine schools overall proficiency rating is 49%, while U-46 is only 29%. Not to mention that 59% of U-46 students belong to low-income families and don't have the necessary resources to excel in the future, and 53% of the students are minorities. Parents are rightly concerned about the chances of their children being accepted at a good college coming from a school district where only 21% of the students meet the proficiency level and demonstrate an adequate understanding of the knowledge and skills needed relative to the Illinois Learning Standards. The School Board plays a vital role in the democratization of education and the school. As a U-46 School Board member, I will strive for more transparency and legitimacy, releasing more control to the parents for the implementation of educational policy by active participation in the administrative and pedagogical management of the school. Together we can contribute to the actions of the school leaders to ensure the quality of teaching our children receive.

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How satisfied are you that your school district is adequately preparing students for the next stage in their lives, whether it be from elementary into high school or high school into college or full-time employment? What changes, if any, do you think need to be made?

Based upon a 21% proficiency level at U-46, it is likely that a low percentage of students will finish college. We need to keep in mind that students who earn college credit are more likely to be employed and stay employed. The U-46 students of today are the citizens and taxpayers of tomorrow. If they don't complete their education, there will be no progress for the next generation. We need to invest in their future today. We need more involvement from immigrant parents. U-46 has great teachers with 66% having a Master's degree or higher. They are well prepared to teach but burdened by unfunded mandates, state and federal standards for testing that have little to do with classroom learning, and the challenge of students who are not well prepared to learn. U-46 offers the Parent Promise and the Parents as Teacher programs. Both programs can be of great help to immigrant parents, but many parents can't speak English. As an experienced translator in my business and the ability to speak three languages, the first step would be to ensure that parents get English lessons online or at the schools. Once the parents understand the importance of helping their children succeed, they will strive to learn English and help their children. The most important responsibility of the school board is to work with the community to improve student achievement in their local public schools.

What budgetary issues will your district have to confront during the next four years and what measures do you support to address them? If you believe cuts are necessary, be specific about programs and expenses that should be considered for reduction or elimination.

On the income side, do you support any tax increases? Be specific. If you drive in the streets of Hanover Park you will easily notice the poor conditions of the streets that are potholed and eroded for lack of maintenance. I pay an average of $500 per month in property taxes. The Comprehensive Annual Financial Report (CAFR) for the Village of Hanover Park for 2017 indicates on page MD & A8 that the village took in $15,741,338 in Property Taxes in FY2017 or 38.73% on their revenue. $6,368,070 was spent on Public Works or 40.5% of the property taxes Residential property taxes now eat up an average of 6.7% of a typical household income in Illinois. In 2000, that share was 4.3 percent, therefore, I do not support any tax increase.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

Are you currently employed by or retired from a school district, if so, which one? Is any member of your direct family -- spouse, child or child-in-law -- employed by the school district where you are seeking a school board seat? No.

As contract talks come up with various school employee groups -- teachers, support staff, etc. -- what posture should the school board take? Do you believe the district should ask for concessions from its employees, expect employee costs to stay about the same as they are now or provide increases in pay or benefits?

As a trustee elected by the constituents of U-46 the posture of the school board should be to negotiate the best contract terms that fairly address and balance the needs of the employees and the community. As I have yet to be directly involved in U-46 contract negotiations, I will need to consider the current environment regarding pay and benefits. Typically increases in pay or benefits in any sector is based on merit.

If your district had a superintendent or other administrator nearing retirement, would you support a substantial increase in his or her pay to help boost pension benefits? Why or why not?

No. This practice has resulted in absurd payouts to Superintendents in various districts and higher education institutions throughout Illinois, including in the past in U-46. Current compensation and benefits are more than adequate.

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