Office sought: Member of the Board of Education of CHSD 218
Name: Linda Flanagan Vahl
Address: 10333 Georgia Lane, Oak Lawn
Date of birth: 9/25/74
Web site: N/A
Facebook Group: Linda Vahl for Community HS District 218 Board of Education
Twitter handle: N/A
Education: BA Urban Studies/Public Policy, DePaul University
Occupation, employer: Executive Manager, ADA
Please list all sources of income: ADA
Spouse, spouse’s employer: Greg Vahl, Cook County
Children, age of children: Savannah, 5, Sierra, 1
Please list any relatives, including in-laws, who are employed by a government agency at the federal, state or local levels. What are their job titles and with what agency are they employed?
Husband, Cook County, position clerk
What other elected offices have you sought? What year? Oak Lawn Park District Commissioner, 2009
Have you ever been arrested or charged with a crime? If so, for what? What was the disposition? No
Do you have any criminal convictions on your record? If so, for what? What was your sentence? No
Political (elected or significant appointment) experience: Served Oak Lawn SD229 Board of Education, 2001-2009 (re-elected in ’05), Board Secretary from 05-09. Appointed in 09 to Oak Lawn Park District Advisory Board and Oak Lawn Spartan Educational Foundation. Kolmar Elementary PTA Member.
In your view, what are the two most important issues facing your constituents? How would you address those issues?
1)Academic achievement 2)Fiscal responsibility – We pay considerably to fund schools. Taxpayers demand & deserve optimal performance & accountability. It’s critical we ensure all district schools strive to meet & exceed state standards by instituting even more aggressive programs & looking at other successful models. We must also ensure financial decisions made today don’t jeopardize the district’s future. Balancing today’s needs with limited resources requires a cohesive Board of Education with vision.
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.
I would like to work with the Board and Administration to continue work on & monitor a comprehensive plan to increase test scores. We must diligently recruit and attract more students to the District. Also strengthening relations with grammar school feeder districts is key. I also think an electronic newsletter or update to district residents is a must.
Please explain how you believe the office you’re seeking can help in creating local jobs.
Great schools help property values. If businesses are to thrive in the Southland area, there needs to be a stable local economy, including a residential housing market. Families will move into and stay in our district if they feel public schools are a viable option and money is being well spent. If people don’t have confidence in local schools they’ll live elsewhere or spend money on private schools, thereby decreasing money spent at local businesses. Managing tax dollars wisely over the long run should help programs at the school expand. If funds aren’t managed properly, eventually operating costs become more difficult to afford. The Board should work hard to promote continual growth & expansion of student opportunities at our schools. If that happens I do believe local jobs will follow.
Do you believe the current way Illinois pays for education is working? If so, why? If not, why not? What would you change?
Local funding of schools allows for local control. District 218 does have sufficient resources to spend per student. Of course, every school relies on some state money and the State of Illinois has a dismal record of fiscal responsibility. Unfortunately, schools are on a long backlist of those to be paid. I would like to see school districts work with the State to assure the local districts of prompt payments as required by law. School business offices working on a planned budget shouldn’t have to deal with all the late payments and outstanding revenue/delays from the State and/or County.
Would you make any changes to the budget of the governing unit to which you are seeking elected office? If so, what?
Key stakeholders should give their input on how improvements can be made. Soliciting community involvement in the budget process is important. As always any wasteful spending must be eliminated. I prefer to work collaboratively with other board members and the administration to eliminate waste or consolidate if possible. Most of a school’s budget is already dedicated to personnel costs and cannot be changed during a contract.
Are there any other issues you want to bring to the public’s attention? If so, what?
As a mother with young children in Oak Lawn, I am looking to the future. I vow to represent all district residents with integrity as my past record in Oak Lawn shows. I believe that we must place a greater emphasis on increasing test scores and making District 218 a model school district in the southwest suburbs. I want to create a more competitive academic environment which will attract more students from our area.