February 17, 2017

District 204 School Board Candidates Forum

The seven candidates running for four open seats on District 204’s board met in a public forum held by the Naperville Area Homeowner’s Confederation.

At the forum, candidates made personal statements and answered questions from both the confederation and the audience.

One issue the candidates touched on was the budget; if spending cuts become necessary, what will be affected?

Vasavi Chakka was concerned about the impact of budget cuts on the classroom.

“We are already running on a very lean budget, so if we have to make any cuts that will really affect the classrooms,” said Chakka.

Renata Sliva believes the Common Core is a drain on the budget.

“Expenses with the Common Core are just not only unnecessary but they are not good for our kids,” said Sliva.

Laurie Donahue suggested a cutback on maintenance so that classes are unaffected.

“I would try at all costs to not hit classroom affecting reductions, whether it’s in academic classrooms or in the arts,” said Donahue.

Randy Sidio advocated for a different approach to better serve students.

“It’s about being creative, it’s about making sure that we keep teachers in the classroom and making sure students keep the resources they deserve,” said Sidio.

Incumbent Cathy Piehl says she wants spending cuts to be as short and as infrequent as possible.

“I hope that would be a temporary plan, and we would be able to make a long term plan that would actually be asking our community to support so that we would not have to make such drastic changes,” said Piehl.

Susan Taylor-Demming also suggested a cutback on maintenance.

“Try to potentially push out operational and maintenance on buildings, that’s the only place I see, but we operate very lean,” said Taylor-Demming.

Michael Raczak wants any cuts to come from multiple programs, not just one.

“I would try to engage the community as much as possible to try to get an idea where they fall with this. But the final decision needs to be, if cuts need to be made, they need to be equitable across the board,” said Raczak.

This was the first of three public forums. For a list of dates and locations, visit the district’s website.

Naperville News 17’s Blane Erwin reports.

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