Name: Charles Cardella
Town: Long Grove
Family: I am happily married to Linda. We have three daughters; two have graduated from Stevenson (two and six years ago). Our oldest daughter is a 5th grade teacher and our second daughter is a Sophomore at Hope College. Our third daughter will be starting at Stevenson in 2 1/2 more years.
Occupation: I am the President of Mechanical Component Sales, Inc., a marketing company with 18 employees. MCS has been in business for 26 years and markets precision manufactured components. I truly enjoy my work and still find it fascinating and rewarding.
Community Involvement: For the last 6 years my wife Linda and I have been active in various District #96 PTO fundraising/community projects as well as being supportive of the SHS Foundation.
I am a Vernon Township Republican Precinct Committeeman.
Link to campaign website or Facebook page: www.vote125for125.org. The link to Facebook is on our Website.
Why are you running for a School Board position?
To work with the board towards greater fiscal responsibility at all times scrutinize spending so taxes over time can be reduced. To bring better communication and a more robust dialogue between parents and the administration of SHS. Always striving to work with other board members, administrators and teachers to build consensus. To bring a fresh perspective to the SHS board. To advocate for students and encourage parents to become more involved at Stevenson.
What are the key issues that the district will have to address in the next four years?
The board must focus on looking for ways to reduce spending in light of the escalating tax burden on residents and the declining SHS enrollment. With over 10% unemployment in the district and the rising number of foreclosures, we must work together as a community to reduce tax levies. The board needs to work with teachers in an open dialogue to assist in achieving this goal. The current teachers contract is up in June 2011.
The board needs to focus and instruct the Communication Arts department to offer more higher level reading choices especially for the summer reading requirements.
What are your top three priorities as a board member?
Fiscal Responsibility. The board must communicate better with parents and there must be more two way dialogue. Encourage more parents to become engaged at SHS.
Stress to every department head and teacher that SHS needs to be the top school in the United States. Since 2003 SHS's national academic ranking has been falling and this trend needs to be reversed.
Address unnecessary costs and spending. The taxpayers in district 125 need a break when it comes to the existing tax rates. People are saying; "...as soon as my student graduates from SHS, we are moving our family out of here." Families can get comparable education in neighboring North Shore suburban school districts with lower taxes. Ask any realtor, people are moving out of the district and many avoid the district because of high taxes.
What are some of the district’s strengths?
The finest campus in the United States. An excellent reputation. An excellent background in AP studies and college placements. A high number of teachers with advanced degrees.
What do you think could be done to improve the district?
Reduce spending in non critical areas and keep taxes aligned with declining enrollment. Ensure and work to see all students achieve success in a global economy. Recruit and retain the best teachers and reward teachers with merit raises.
What role should the School Board play in shaping Stevenson’s curriculum?
We work closely and approve curriculum along with department heads and lead teachers. No matter what the subject, each department needs to offer several viewpoints and strengths and weaknesses of each subject studied which is based on facts. Critical thinking skills need to be taught, with the goal that critical thinking is mastered by each student.
What are your thoughts on the district’s financial state?
Excellent. The state requirement of having a minimum of 25% of income in reserves has been surpassed. District 125 has a current 31% reserve. It is always good to have reserves and I would support an appropriate reserve balance as required by the state.
What distinguishes you from the rest of the School Board candidates?
Kathy Powell, Kim Brady and I are running together as a group and are like minded on several issues. Because of this commonality we are pooling our resources together.
I am the only candidate that has had two Stevenson graduates and now I will have a third child entering Stevenson in 2 1/2 more years. My perspective is unique, a past SHS parent and a future SHS parent.
Except for the board members running for re-election, I have attended more school board meetings over the last 24 months than any single parent in the entire district.
I personally have passion for education, learning and encouraging people to strive to do their best. I believe I have a gift of encouraging other people, along with great long term vision. At the same time I am very practical. Systems that run efficiently are truly a thrill for me. I like well oiled machines and clearly laid out procedures in companies and in any organization that I am involved in. I believe I am a motivational speaker and can instill unity of purpose and confidence in other people.