March 29, 2011 1:28PM
Office sought: CHSD 218 Sub district 6 School Board Member
Name: Ron Pratl
Address: 11004 S. Mayfield Ave. Chicago Ridge, IL 60415
Date of birth: 5-10-58
Phone: home # 708-857-7852 (private)
Education: HL Richards High School/University of Michigan/University of Northern Colorado
Occupation, employer: Member 29 years in good standing Local #134, IBEW. Employed at John Stroger Hospital of Cook County.
Please list all sources of income: John Stroger Hospital of Cook County
Spouse, spouse’s employer: Jocelyn Pratl, Oak Lawn Park District
Children, age of children: Kellie Pratl(25), Katie Gierhahn (25) and Shaun Pratl (20)
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?
Wife-Jocelyn-Oak Lawn Park District-Assistant manager Racquet, Ftiness and Gymnastics Center/Brother-Rick-Village of Chicago Ridge-Public Works/Sister-in-law Rita-Secretary-District 218
What other elected offices have you sought? What year? Chicago Ridge Park District Board of Commissioners- served 16 years- 14 as President of Board.
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 experience: Chicago Ridge Park District- served 16 years. CHSD 218-Board member last 8 years
In your view, what are the two most important issues facing your constituents? How would you address those issues?
One important issue facing our district is the way the State of Illinois makes payments to the school districts. If the State would disburse the funds on time, districts wouldn’t be forced to borrow money or dip into their reserves. This often ends up costing taxpayers more in the long run. We need to continue to work closely with State Representatives and Senators to keep them informed of how these decisions affect our district.
Another important issue is raising student achievement and test scores. Our teachers do a tremendous job, but need the active involvement of parents, the Administration and the School Board to make this possible. District 218 has implemented several curriculum changes that have started to show improvement. It is essential we continue on this path.
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.
Bullying is an issue at all school districts, big and small. It is an issue I feel we need to continue to address in our district. Every child is entitled to a safe and secure environment in which to learn. The Illinois State Board of education has formed a task force that is currently exploring the causes and consequences of bullying in schools. A report from the task force to the Governor of Illinois should be available in March, 2011. Our job is to evaluate and implement its findings. This is a growing problem and not one to dismiss.
Please explain how you believe the office you’re seeking can help in creating local jobs.
CHSD 218 currently employs approximately 700 employees, many of whom are local residents. When we do construction projects and building upgrades, we strongly encourage local contractors and suppliers to bid.
Do you believe the current way Illinois pays for education is working? If so, why? If not, why not? What would you change?
Clearly the way Illinois pays for education is not working. For example, currently in Springfield there is discussion of not reimbursing school districts the 80% in transportation costs that are currently provided. This would have a devastating effect on our yearly budget, and has the potential to cost taxpayers millions of dollars. Money that could be used in classrooms and for hands on education may now need to be diverted to pay for unfunded mandates.
Would you make any changes to the budget of the governing unit to which you are seeking elected office? If so, what?
My plan is the same as it has always been since first being elected. It is straight forward: watch the bottom line. Question all expenditures and disbursements no matter how big or small. Hopefully, if we continue on this course, we will remain one of only a handful of school districts in the south suburbs that continues to remain in the black.
Are there any other issues you want to bring to the public’s attention? If so, what?
One last accomplishment I am very proud to have investigated and implemented is the new fiber optic ring that connects all the district’s facilities. This technology allows us more room for expansion to accommodate future voice and date systems. We were the first school district in the state of Illinois to install this system.