MARI JO CALACCI
March 29, 2011 12:24PM
Mari Jo Calacci, candidate in SD 118. | Supplied photo
Office sought: Board Member, Palos Community Cons. School District 118
Name: Mari Jo Calacci
Address: 8306 West 132nd Street, Orland Park, IL 60462
Date of birth: May 20, 1968
Web site: N/A
Twitter handle: N/A
Education: B.S. in Accountancy, Northern Illinois University
Occupation, employer: CPA/Small Business Owner, Calacci Excavating, Inc.
Please list all sources of income: N/A
Spouse, spouse’s employer: John Calacci, Calacci Excavating, Inc.
Children, age of children: Dominic 8, Joseph 6
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? None
What other elected offices have you sought? What year? None
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: Board Member and Treasurer, Palos 118 Educational Foundation
In your view, what are the two most important issues facing your constituents? How would you address those issues?
The first issue facing my constituents is the proposed consolidations of school districts across the state. I believe local communities have the right to govern their schools. Our district is financially stable and fiscally conservative. We deliver top quality education to our students without putting an unreasonable burden on our taxpayers. I do not believe this would continue if our district was consolidated with other districts. We all need to voice our opinions on this matter to our legislators to ensure our district stays intact.
The second issue facing my constituents is dealing with financial challenges resulting from slow payment by the state of education funds and the decreased collection rate on taxes during this economic downturn. We need to be fiscally prudent when planning for the future of our district taking into consideration the above while providing the most value to our taxpayers. Our district is in a better financial situation than many due to efficient financial management in the past. We also need to work with our state legislators to improve the way the state deals with the payment of funds to our school districts. Our district relies on these funds as do all districts in the state.
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.
Working on the renewal of the teachers’ union contract and conducting a search for a new superintendant when the current superintendant’s contract is completed. I would also like to work closely with our legislators on issues relating to the district, namely funding from the state and school district consolidation.
Please explain how you believe the office you’re seeking can help in creating local jobs. N/A
Do you believe the current way Illinois pays for education is working? If so, why? If not, why not? What would you change?
The current way Illinois pays for education needs to be improved. Education funding has decreased in each of the past two fiscal years. Meanwhile, children across Illinois are dealing with increasing class sizes, cuts in activities and buildings which need repairs. State funding per pupil for elementary and secondary education in Illinois is below the national average and yet our education funding continues to decrease. Our district is extremely efficient with the money we spend which has fortunately enabled us to build up reserves so we are not as affected with how the state handles education funding as much as other districts. Our education system should be protected from massive budget cuts. We need to encourage our legislators to develop a long term, comprehensive plan that improves education quality and funding. Ensuring Illinois students have a high quality education should be a top priority.
Would you make any changes to the budget of the governing unit to which you are seeking elected office? If so, what?
The budget process used currently by our district has proven to be effective as the district is currently financially stable. As financial issues continue to arise as a result of the current economic downturn, our budget process will need to be monitored to ensure the financial stability of the district continues.
Are there any other issues you want to bring to the public’s attention? If so, what?
Pay attention to HB1216 and SB1324. Both bills deal with the consolidation of school districts. Educate yourselves on these bills and how they could affect our communities. Voice your opinion to your legislators.