Michael Reich: Candidate Profile

Queen Bee District 16 School Board (4-year Terms)

  • Michael Reich, running for Queen Bee District 16 School Board (4-year Terms)

    Michael Reich, running for Queen Bee District 16 School Board (4-year Terms)

 
Updated 2/22/2013 6:37 PM

 

 

 

Note: Answers provided have not been edited for grammar, misspellings or typos. In some instances, candidate claims that could not be immediately verified have been omitted.

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BioKey IssuesQ&A

 

Bio

City: Glendale Heights

Website: Candidate did not respond.

Office sought: Queen Bee District 16 School Board (4-year Terms)

Age: 63

Family: Married, 3 children (all graduates of Queen Bee Schools), 2 grandchildren

Occupation: Retired after a 31 year career with the Federal government in HR/Training/EEO

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Education: A.A. degree (psychology) from Orange County Community College (NY), B.A. (psychology/political science) from New York University, graduate work in Public Administration at Syracuse University

Civic involvement: School board member since 1988, Founding member of the Board of Trustees for the Partnership for Educational Progress (PEP) Educational Foundation (1992-1997), Founding member of the Board of Directors for Queen Bee Educational Foundation (2008-present), QBEF Secretary/Treasurer, volunteer in several capacities with Humanitarian Service Project (http://humanitarianservice.org/), webmaster for several non-profits

Elected offices held: School Board member, Queen Bee School District 16, 1988-present

Have you ever been arrested for or convicted of a crime? If yes, please explain: No

Candidate's Key Issues

Key Issue 1

The District has made significant improvements in its financial situation in the past few years and needs to continue to do so, especially in light of the continued inability of the State to put its financial house in order. The biggest impediment to District financial improvement is the increasingly unreliable funding from the State of Illinois.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

Key Issue 2

The District is experiencing huge changes in its student demographics and needs to adapt and improve how we meet the curricular needs of our current and future student population. At the same time, we are dealing with an enormous increase of our residents who meet poverty definitions under State and Federal law.

Key Issue 3

The District needs to continue searching for ways to connect with our parents and to encourage them to become more involved in helping meet their students' educational needs.

Questions & Answers

What do you think about the shift to the common core standards? How big a role do you think the board of education should play in setting the curriculum for students and what ideas do you have for changes to the current curriculum?

I think that specific curriculum standards set from the top down are not an effective way to improve education results. That said, the standards are coming and there's nothing a local school board can do about that. Illinois is infamous for establishing requirements for us to meet without also sending a check to pay for the new requirements. We have to find ways to locally implement the common core standards in ways that meet the needs of our students and don't run us into insolvency.

How satisfied are you that your district is 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?

I think we in District 16 are doing a tremendous job preparing our kids for high school, which is ultimately our main goal. Our administrators and staff are getting great results and I expect that they'll continue to do so. There is always room for improvement and we are developing some new curricular programs (such as in technology, science, math, and consumer science) to help our students reach their fullest potential.

What budget issues will your district have to confront and what measures do you support to address them? If you believe cuts are necessary, what programs and expenses should be reduced or eliminated? On the income side, do you support any tax increases?

The District underwent budget cuts during the past 3 years and negotiated a 1 1/2 year pay freeze from our dedicated staff in order to improve our financial situation. These efforts are paying off for us in an improved bond rating, and the fact that in 2012-2013 we avoided selling Tax Anticipation Warrants for the entire year, for the first time in many, many years. These are very significant improvements and I expect that our administration will continue to make strides in extending those improvements. I believe that the only way for the State to adequately meet its obligation to fund public education is by increased State Income taxes. I don't support increased property taxes at this time.

As contract talks come up with various school employee groups, 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?

District 16 has successfully negotiated agreements with our staff during the past 12-18 months and have done this by reaching transparent and equitable deals. With our employees' assistance, we are continuing to search for ways to further reduce the District's costs in view of the precarious State funding and the property tax cap. Solutions to these problems require mutually agreeable sacrifices.

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?

In general, I do not agree with "substantial" increases, but I have to point out that they comply with the rules as developed by the State legislature and pension systems. Those rules need to change. In my opinion, it makes no sense to criticize Boards and administrators who are following the rules. In addition, I'd point out that while a few school administrators did receive unconscionable boosts to their pensions, the vast majority did not, nor did teachers. Yet all are now being painted with the same brush and, in a sense, being punished for the sins of a few. That's just not right.