Stephen J. Gray: Candidate profile
Name: Stephen J. Gray
Office sought: Milburn District 24 School board
Family: Married, three amazing children.
Occupation: Systems Analyst
Education: Associates in General Studies.
Civic involvement: Volunteer Coach at Lindenhurst Park District since 2015
Previous elected offices held: Precinct Committeeman 147th ward Lake Villa.
Incumbent? Yes. If yes, when were you first elected? Appointed in 2018.
What are the most important issues facing your district and how do you intend to address them?
I believe one of the most pressing issues in our district is the stress on our families caused by the high property taxes. I believe that our school board should be doing everything within reason to apply for grants, fundraise and really get creative in ways to lessen that burden for the families of our students.
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?
I am a super fan of the Millburn schools; my family and I moved to our home specifically so that our children could be a part of this environment. I think we do an excellent job of preparing our young people to be at the head of the pack when the districts merge for high school. I plan to learn as much as I can about the school, why it has been so successful and see in what ways I can lend myself to making it even better!
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.
I would not support any tax increases as I feel the district is already too reliant on taxes. I would look for creative ways to meet budgetary goals without hurting our community.
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? N/A
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?
I believe the stance of the school board should be to value the wonderful teachers we have in the district and be open to their needs, as well as the other budgetary needs of the district.
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?