Patricia Arroyo: 2023 candidate for Elgin Community College District 509 board
Town: Pingree Grove
Age on Election Day: 49
Employer: Ascension St. Joseph Hospital
Previous offices held: None
Q: Why are you running for this office, whether for reelection or election the first time? Is there a particular issue that motivates you?
A: I am running for this position to support the growth and advancement of the student body in the district and to provide the faculty and staff with the support to accomplish the college's long-term goals. Also, I believe it is important to have a board that represents the student body and community at large.
Q: In tough economic times, many students (and working professionals) turn to a community college for its educational value. How do you ensure that a person's financial sacrifice results in an educational benefit?
A: I believe one can never go wrong when furthering one's educational goals or aspirations. Some of us are lifelong learners, some pursue education for enjoyment, and others for career advancement. Some short-term sacrifices lead to long-term success. Ultimately, it is all about relationships and collaboration. When students put forth their best efforts, communicate with their professors and the professors guidance and support, I believe the individual person will realize the sacrifice was worthwhile.
Q: How would you describe the state of your college's finances? What issues will your district have to confront in coming years 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 or fee increases?
A: The financial viability of the college is important to address and secure for future generations to benefit from the courses and degrees offered. Working together as a team, making the best decision for the continued success of the college is necessary and not dependent on an individual person to address whether discussing cuts, tax or fees increases. One of the lessons COVID has taught us is that at there are unexpected situations that the unknown must be planned for to maintain programs and employment.
Q: What are three specific nonfinancial challenges your community college will have to face in the next four years and what are your thoughts about how each should be addressed?
A: ECC has done a great job establishing a strategic plan for the next four years focusing on: teaching and learning excellence, lifelong connections, ECC experience, fortify our future. One way to accomplish these goals are continued relationships and partnerships within the community and at a national level to secure funding sources, internships, collaboration between the college and area employers and schools.
Q: Describe your experience working in a group setting to determine policy. What is your style in such a setting to reach agreement and manage school district policy? Explain how you think that will be effective in producing effective actions and decisions of your school board.
A: In my experience, it is valuable to include parties that are most directly impacted by the decisions that are made when it comes to policy. I respect the input from the community, faculty and students and would welcome their input when coming to an agreement. In order to have an effective and equitable policy, we need to seek input from those directly impacted as they are the subject matter experts and tend to have excellent recommendations.
Q: What makes you the best candidate for the job?
A: My sincerest reason for participating as a candidate for ECC board of trustees is the passion I have for the advancement of our community members to attain their dreams and goals through education. I am here to serve the community in which I live and work. I would welcome the opportunity to be a small part in the future advancements of ECC college students. When one succeeds, we all succeed. It is important to encourage and give everyone that would like to have an opportunity for an equal part in having a better future for their family through education. I believe if we are there to serve and offer a helping hand, guidance, support or simply words of encouragement, it makes a lasting impact in someone's life.
Q: What's one good idea you have to better your district that no one is talking about yet?
A: Establishing mental health wellness priorities as a foundation.