March 29, 2011 12:34PM
Joseph S. LaMargo
Office sought: Orland District 135 school board
Name: Joseph S. LaMargo
Address: 10462 San Luis Lane, Orland Park, IL 60467
Date of birth: June 24, 1970
Facebook: Joseph LaMargo
Education: Master’s degree in public policy, Lewis University; bachelor’s degree in economics; Loyola University. Graduate of Marist High School.
Occupation: Deputy village clerk. village of Orland Park
Spouse/Employer: Melissa LaMargo; Pure Fitness, Homer Glen
Children/Ages: Christian, 11; Jonah, 9; Calvin, 8 – all District 135 students
Relatives in government: None
Other elective offices sought: None
Political experience: I have worked in government for almost 20 years, on the local, county and state levels. Prior to being hired as the deputy village clerk, I served as the chief deputy director of the Illinois Secretary of State’s Department of Accounting Revenue. I also worked for the Cook County clerk’s office as deputy director of the Department of Tax and Real Estate and served as a budget analyst for the Cook County Bureau of Finance’s Department of Budget and Management Service.
Ever been arrested or convicted of a crime?
In your view, what are the two most important issues facing your constituents? How would you address those issues?
I am troubled by Orland School District 135’s recent budget. At the beginning of the fiscal year, District 135 had 72 percent of the money needed to fund the school year before collecting additional tax revenue. Yet, the current school board still voted to increase the district’s portion of the tax bill by the maximum amount allowed by law.
Fiscal responsibility along with ensuring that our children have the best teachers and learning tools, such as technology, are my top priorities. The taxpayers and parents of District 135 deserve conscientious leadership keeping a watchful eye on how their tax dollars are spent.
Please explain something significant you would like to accomplish within the next two years if you are elected to the office to which you aspire.
My first priority would be to establish a fund balance policy for District 135 in light of the district already having much of what it needed to fund the school year before increasing the school district’s portion of the tax bill. I have a strong background in finance and government service and am offering my help for the residents of District 135. The stability and leadership of a school district is vital for the strength and well being of a community. School districts receive the largest portion of our property tax bill and directly affect our property value. Fiscal responsibility is imperative.
Do you believe the current way Illinois pays for education is working? If so, why? If not, why not? What would you change?
No, I don’t believe it is working. School funding is comprised of around 80 percent coming from local taxpayers, 10 percent or less coming from the state and f5 percent or less coming from the federal government. This is why it is so very important for everyone to familiarize themselves with what certain state legislators are trying to do with the money that we pay into our local school systems. This doesn’t only apply to District 135. It applies to every school district within the state of Illinois. We cannot give up local control of our schools, as our children will be the ones who suffer the most.
Are there any other issues you want to bring to the public’s attention?
I am very concerned with Illinois House Bill 1886 and the effect it will have on education throughout the state of Illinois. The thought of eliminating school districts as we know them is horrifying and making one school district within Cook County is absolutely ludicrous. The money that property owners pay to support their local school districts needs to remain local where local school boards can determine how to best use these funds to give teachers the tools they need and to ensure our children are receiving the educations they deserve.
Taxpayers and citizens count on their elected school board members to stay on top of the legislation that affects our children, our grandchildren, our property values and the educational system. While many elected officials and candidates are unwilling to do this, I view being a government watchdog as a primary function of a school board member.