Jennifer Johnson of the Park Ridge Herald Advocate recently compiled a Q&A from all five candidates for Maine Township District 207 School Board. Below are Linda's answers. Looking for the full story with all the candidate's responses? Visit the Chicago Tribune Park Ridge section here.
Q: Why are you running for the District 207 school board?
Linda Coyle: I am running to bring a strong voice to District 207 to ensure that each and every student gets the highest quality education possible …. Our schools must continue to be innovative and forward-thinking, we must continue to cultivate strong teachers, and we must provide evolving curriculum to fit the needs of all students in the district. My goal is to ensure that our children are adequately prepared for the next stage after high school, which for the majority of them is college. The students at Maine South, Maine East and Maine West are incredibly diverse, and the board must take into consideration and embrace those differences in making District 207 the strongest learning environment.
Q: What are the top issues facing District 207 today?
Linda Coyle: District 207 is facing potentially reduced state funding because the state of Illinois is in trouble financially. Also, with the new presidential administration, we may be faced with reduced federal funding as well. The board must focus on economic efficiency, taking a long-term look at the budget … The district is also facing a changing demographic and becoming more diverse. The board must realize and address these differences and develop curriculum that enable all of the students to succeed and be prepared for college and/or a career. I am also aware that the district is considering implementing a new school schedule … Based on my discussions and research, the students will get more actual classroom instruction, and increased time spent on most subjects without lengthening the school day. The proposed schedule is more efficient than the current schedule with regard to wasted passing period time. There is also cost savings to the district associated with moving to the new schedule. Specifically, the schedule will allow teachers to engage in continuing education classes and development during the school day without the need to hire substitute teachers.
Q: What are your thoughts on the district's current spending practices?
Linda Coyle: I have looked at the district's finances, and right now the district is financially sound. It is the duty of the board to ensure the district remains financially healthy.The district has aging buildings and facilities, which will require capital improvements in the future. The board is aware that these expenses will occur and must balance their budget now, to take into account those future expenses so no tax increase will be needed to cover those expenses.The board must spend the taxpayers' money carefully and thoughtful, ensuring that each dollar is directed at providing the strongest learning environment possible for our children.
Q: School boards typically approve a higher property tax levy each year. What are your thoughts on this practice?
Linda Coyle: I am not in favor generally of higher property taxes. The way to avoid additional taxes on the district residents is through strong fiscal management of the funds available.
Q: What initiatives would you like to see the District 207 school board address?
Linda Coyle: One initiative the board should consider is to study the District 207 facilities and buildings and plan ahead for future capital improvements and expenses.This way, those expenditures can be budgeted for without a tax increase. Another initiative or goal the district should embrace is to ensure that each and every student, regardless of their background, graduates from high school well-prepared for college or career. This includes improving career and college counseling to help the students find their right and most successful path post high school.
Q: Education secretary Betsy DeVos has been a proponent of school choice. What are your thoughts on her philosophy?
Linda Coyle: I strongly believe in public schools …. I can say without a doubt that there is no private school that offers as much to its students as District 207 does.That's why I want to serve on the D207 Board …I am not in favor of public dollars going to private schools, especially for-profit schools.