GEL ELECTION PROFILE: Glen Ellyn School District 87 Questions 6-10

Question 6: Why are these issues important to the community?

Luke Baer:
a.there is a symbiotic relationship between good schools and property values. Good schools help maintain or increase property values, high property values help support improvements in schools.
b.Due to the vagaries in State and Federal financial support and the disproportionate reliance on local property taxes for funding, deficit spending is not an option.
c.The Board must represent all students, all taxpayers, and all parents.

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Donald Birns: It is important to all members of the community (whether involved with the schools or not) to maintain the best standards possible for the schools within the district. As a community we are all responsible and have a vested interest in insuring that the students of today and future generations receive the best possible education.

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Yadav Nathwani: It is important for the community to ensure that its public funds are being spent so that each student is guaranteed the best academic experience.

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Don Pydo: Schools are a vitally important asset to any community. They are entrusted with the education of our young people, and account for the lion’s share of our property taxes. Taking proactive steps to maintain fiscal stability at D87 ensures continuation of quality program for our students. By being mindful of doing so within a framework that does not place additional burden on taxpayers, the board is making a positive contribution to the many towns throughout D87.

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John Snyder: First rate education is critical to the success of our children and to their role in a resurgent America. Education is a prime economic value added activity in our communities for businesses and real estate. Education must be provided in a cost effective manner with balanced budgets, transparency and the long term buy-in of parents, taxpayers and voters.

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Question 7: What experience(s) do you have that demonstrate particular skills or insights to being a qualified District 87 board member?

Luke Baer: I have 32 years of experience in business and law. I was Senior Vice President, General Counsel and Secretary of Robert Bosch LLC, a company with $8.5 billion in sales and roughly 26,000 employees in North America. Robert Bosch LLC is the subsidiary of Robert Bosch GmbH, with sales of roughly $60 billion and 280,000 employees worldwide. As General Counsel I was responsible for all of the legal affairs of the company and thereby exposed to all areas of the law, including labor and employment matters. In addition, I managed a staff of 17, including 10 lawyers and legal spend of roughly $11 million per year.

Prior to my Bosch experience I was the General Counsel and Head of Human Resources for Porsche Cars North America, Inc.

In my role as General Counsel of a very large global company, I learned how to effectively delegate, how to build alliances from all stakeholders for change and that change comes slowly.

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Donald Birns: I have 34 years experience in the business world, utilizing my accounting degree in various functions within accounting. For the last 10 years I have had students in the District, and I have had a vested interest in what the district should be doing. I deal with employees at various levels and can relate to their concerns at the appropriate level.

A good board member is one who deals well with working in the background and isn’t looking for personal rewards. My current job is the same and has trained me well for this roll.

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Yadav Nathwani: First, I have a strong education background with my MBA in Finance. Second, I have successfully applied my education by working in a Commercial Lending department. Finally, I have a long history of volunteerism.

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Don Pydo: 25 years in the community, a solid educational background in commerce and finance, and 30 years in various leadership positions within a competitive business environment have provided me with tools and skills that would be beneficial to my role on the board.

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John Snyder:
*For the last 2 years, I have served as a Board appointed member of the D87 Finance Committee. I have no voting role or responsibility. In this role, I have offered ideas to the Committee and to the Board about how to best keep the community informed on key issues and about the various ways in which the Board can clearly and completely communicate its intent to the public. I have offered financial observations on budget matters and forward planning. I have worked to assist various groups to understand how the Board works and how to successfully approach the Board to express opinions. I have chosen to remain neutral on many issues so as to be best positioned to serve all stakeholders.
*Resident of Glen Ellyn since 1996. One child through D41 and now in D87 at Glenbard West
*Sr. Manager in a local $ 14 million manufacturing business and a history of balancing business costs and revenues
*Masters in Business, UW-Madison, 1974
*Adjunct Professor, Accounting and Finance, Benedictine University
*Court Appointed Special Children’s Advocate, Kane County, 2003

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F. Thomas Voltaggio: I am completing my fourth term as a member of the District 87 Board of Education. During that time I have served in a wide variety of positions, including Board President, Finance Committee Chair, Curriculum Committee Chair, and member of the Legislation/Communications Committee.

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Question 8: What experience do you have in the areas of budgeting, business and finance?

Luke Baer: As department head I was responsible for managing legal expenditures, external and internal, of roughly $11 million per year. In addition in connection with managing acquisitions, I have extensive experience in analyzing financial statements.

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Donald Birns: My entire working life I have dealt with numbers in a financial sense. For the last 15 years I have been responsible for the payroll and payroll taxes for the Robert Bosch Corporation in North America. In this role, I am responsible for approximately one billion dollars in payroll each year and insuring it is paid out timely and accurately. As the department head I am responsible for maintaining and submitting budgets both for my department and for others.

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Yadav Nathwani: I graduate with my MBA in Finance from Benedictine University and have been employed at a local bank in the Commercial Lending department for 3 years.

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Don Pydo: My professional career has been concentrated in human resources, operations, technology, budgeting and finance—all of which have given me meaningful experience and great insight into the efficiencies gained by strong management principles.

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John Snyder: Please see above

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F. Thomas Voltaggio: I have spent twelve years as a member and chairman of the Board’s Finance Committee. As a member of the Board, I have acquired a significant knowledge base on property taxation and school finance in Illinois. I have been actively involved in restoring the District’s financial stability in the past four years.

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Question 9: What experience do you have with contract or union negotiations?

Luke Baer: As head of the legal department for Bosch for 17 years, I was responsible for managing all contract negotiations with the various unions, this included over 6,000 unionized workers represented by more than 4 unions.

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Donald Birns: I supply support services during the negotiations and once completed I am responsible for insuring that any payroll related points are adhered to and handled properly.

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Yadav Nathwani: Working in a bank, I have had the experience negotiating contracts with business owners. I do not have any experience with union negotiations. However, am looking forward to applying my skill set to a new situation.

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Don Pydo: Within the confines of my experience in human resources and business operations management, I have familiarity with labor contracts and negotiations.

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John Snyder:
No prior experience with public entity labor negotiations

Negotiating employee contracts is a critical responsibility for any management group - private or public - that operates in a collective bargaining environment. The key to successful negotiation is to build trust between the parties. This is the only way to enable honest and straightforward discussion of each group’s interests. Open public participation in the actual contract negotiating process is not advisable – and may actually be against state code.

However, the D87 Board and Administration’s decision-making must reflect the interests of its public. This requires truly understanding community member ideas and concerns. It is the responsibility of the Board to develop and maintain such awareness through its normal operations and its contacts with various community groups and to remain cognizant of those interests as it negotiates. Ultimately, public buy-in to Board negotiated teacher’s contracts is essential to enable D87 to successfully fund and carry out the District’s long term educational mission.

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F. Thomas Voltaggio: I have extensive experience in contract negotiations. I served as an integral member of the Board negotiating team in 1993, 1995, 1998, 2001, and 2007. I have had the opportunity to experience a variety of collaborative negotiating models used during that time frame.

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Question 10: What ideas do you have for making the work of the Board of Education more accessible/visible to the community?

Luke Baer: Making sure that the public is aware of the key issues the Board is faced with, invite the public to attend board meetings and when faced with significant issues provide for public hearings before making a significant policy change.

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Donald Birns: The Board of Education needs to insure that the public is aware of the key issues and are giving the opportunity to express their opinions. It is important to remember that a board member is always a board member whether it is at meetings, at the store, in church or at the schools.

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Yadav Nathwani: It would be beneficial to everyone if the Board could make topics to be discussed available via internet or mass e-mail. My goal is to make this process as transparent as possible.

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Don Pydo: D87 must continue to find new ways to use its technology network to increase accessibility/visibility. One suggestion: videotape board meetings, archive them on the district website, and include time stamps next to agenda items that would allow interested citizens to quickly access specific information with ease. I would go further and suggest that the site include PDFs, PowerPoints or other presentations made to the board, that could be organized next to time stamps so that users could not only review written material, but listen to actual discussion at the same time. Call it an Electronic Reading Room, or Virtual Library—it would create a unique, cost-effective entrée into the workings of the board.

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John Snyder:
*One Board member should be assigned to meet monthly with a local group such as PTA, Chamber of Commerce, Park Districts, etc.
*Find a way to get more information into local newspapers, websites and bulletin boards.
*Parents and other D87 stakeholders should also be more active about attending Board meetings and should join Committees.

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F. Thomas Voltaggio: I would like to see us videotape Board meetings and disseminate them via cable TV outlets and/or the internet.

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