March 29, 2011 6:46PM
Updated: March 29, 2011 6:46PM
Office Sought: School board member, Consolidated High School District 230
Name: Denis Dupee
Address: 17701 Rosewood Lane, Tinley Park
Web site: denis4d230.com
Facebook: Denis Dupee for District 230 School Board
Twitter handle: denis4d230
Cell: (708) 341-9463
Education: I have a bachelor’s degree from Duke University with double majors in Economics and Political Science.
Occupation: freelance consultant
Please list all sources of income: I derive no income from the public sector.
Please list any relatives who are employed by a government agency: n/a
What other elected offices have you sought? What year? This is my first time seeking elected office.
Have you ever been arrested or charged with a crime? n/a
Do you have any criminal convictions on your record? n/a
Political (elected or significant appointment) experience: This is my first time seeking elected office.
In your view, what are the two most important issues facing your constituents? How would you address those issues?
One of the most important issues facing the district is the need to remain fiscally solvent while simultaneously improving the quality of our high schools. Instead of raising taxes, we must find ways to make our district more efficient. We need to set out clear priorities and allocate money accordingly. It is not 2007, and our district needs to stop spending like it is. As a member of the board, I will constantly have my eye on the budget and will do my utmost to cut administrative, construction and energy costs.
Another import issue is school safety. Although our communities and schools are generally safe, I am not convinced we are doing enough to keep predators out of our buildings and to make sure our halls and classrooms are safe and positive environments for all of our students. Although our district has CCTV cameras outside of buildings and at some entrances, the footage is not monitored in real time, and this makes me uncomfortable. In order for students to get the most out of school, they need to feel safe from bullies as well as from obvious dangers including drugs, violence and weapons. On the board, I will take a stand for safer schools, will continue zero-tolerance policies when it comes to violence and drugs and will encourage strong working relationships with our local municipal police.
Please explain something significant that you would like to accomplish within the next two years if you are elected:
I will work to strengthen the rigor of our curriculum. Although our district has a great honors and Advanced Placement program (which I will continue to advocate for), some of our students still leave our district unprepared for life after high school. In order to make sure that students leaving with a degree from our district are ready to pursue additional education and to contribute positively to our community, we have to make sure that essential skills are being taught. All of our high school graduates should be culturally literate and capable of writing coherently and understanding personal finance.
While making our curriculum more challenging and offering the support necessary to help all of our students meet that challenge, I also want to make it easier for students to take elective courses. What students learn in music, the arts and applied technology helps them understand what direction they want to go in after high school. Along the way, students also become more well-rounded and develop skills they can enjoy their entire lives. I also believe our great extracurricular programs are important in building well-rounded members of the community. I will advocate strongly for all of our extracurricular programs including our programs in competitive academics, the arts and athletics.
Please explain how the office you’re seeking can help in creating local jobs:
What we can do as a school board is make sure that our young people leave high school with the skills necessary to get jobs either immediately or later down the road following college or other training. By focusing attention on bettering our guidance departments, we can offer students more specialized advice when it comes to planning for their academic and professional futures. This will not only help them to get a job, but it will also help them find a career that suits them and that they enjoy.
Do you believe the current way Illinois pays for education is working? If so, why? If not, why not? What would you change?
In terms of our district, our very high reliance on property taxes for income means we are especially vulnerable to fluctuations in property values. When property values are high, we need to do a better job building a surplus for when they are low, instead of spending as though the boom times will last forever. As the economy recovers, I will work to keep spending under control while saving surplus revenue for rainy days.
Would you make any changes to the budget of the governing unit to which you are seeking elected office? If so what?
I would more diligently review new project proposals that may come before the board. We are in difficult financially times and the board needs to stop spending like we are back in the boom years. I think there are ways to balance the budget without raising taxes and without hurting the quality of our education. I am prepared to cut excess costs and believe that better schools are the result of better policies, not just more money.
Are there any other issues you want to bring to the public’s attention? If so, what?
I am a lifelong resident of the district and a proud recent graduate of Andrew High School. I believe all board members should be independent and bring a unique perspective and voice to the table. For more information about me and my priorities and goals for the district, please visit my webpage at www.denis4d230.com.