David T. Mensing
March 29, 2011 6:46PM
Updated: March 29, 2011 6:46PM
Office sought: Member, Board of Education, Bremen Community High School District 228
Name: David T. Mensing
Address: 17151 S. Central Avenue, Oak Forest, IL 60452-4913
Date of birth: June 9, 1940
Web site: www.GreatSlatefor228.com
Home: (708) 532-9035
Work: (708) 532-4288
Education: Undergraduate work: University of Illinois, Chicago and Urbana
Graduated 1966 cum laude; A. B. in the Teaching of German
Graduate work: Stanford University, Bad Boll, Germany, 1967 (Fullbright)
Theological studies: Concordia Theological Seminary, Oak Forest, Illinois
Graduated 1980 summa cum laude; C. R. M., candidate for the ministry
Occupation, employer: Lutheran Pastor; Peace Evangelical Lutheran Church, Oak Forest
Please list all sources of income: All regular income is from salary as pastor and as professor of theology. Also receive retirement income (TRS and SS).
Spouse, spouse’s employer: Wife, Alison L. Mensing; special education teacher with the Southwest Cook County Cooperative Association for Special Education, Oak Forest
Children, age of children, children=s employer (if applicable): Four grown children, all graduates of Tinley Park High School; ages and employment not applicable
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? My wife (as noted above) is a special education teacher employed by SWCCCASE. My sister-in-law is an elementary school teacher in District 145.
What other elective offices have you sought? What year?
C Board of Education, Arbor Park School District 145; 1966 (Elected)
C Board of Education, Bremen Community High School District 228; 2006 (Appointed)
C Board of Education, Bremen Community High School District 228, 2007 (Elected)
Have you ever been arrested or charged with a crime? If so for what? What was the disposition? No arrest, no charge, no cause, no disposition
Do you have any criminal convictions on your record? If so, for what? What was your sentence? Please see the previous answer: No convictions, no indictment, no sentence.
Political (elected or significant appointment) experience: See above.
In your view, what are the two most important issues facing your constituents? How would you address those issues?
The two most important issues facing my constituents on a day-to-day basis are their employment and their standard of living in the present economy. Unfortunately, I am not in a position to address either of those issues directly. Education addresses them only indirectly as it prepares students for future employment and for professional pursuits of a profitable nature in their life after high school and/or college. As a school board member, I am cognizant of the economic pressure borne by our stakeholders; and that is why our board has not sought an educational tax rate increase since 1995. In fact, our tax rate has actually decreased over the past years while our financial rating has increased! Moreover, we have been doing all that we can to reduce expenditures without negatively affecting the educational program of our district and availing ourselves of due revenues and all grants to which we are entitled in our constant efforts to balance our budget.
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 aspiration (and that of the other incumbents running for re-election) IS practical however, namely, to continue our work-in-progress, that of developing an educational program that fully addresses the needs and aspirations of ALL our students C academically, athletically, technologically, ethically, socially, and emotionally C so that they are equipped to enter the Areal world@ of fierce competition in the workplace and in higher education with real confidence in their ability to succeed. We are well on the way to accomplishing this goal, incrementally but measurably, with the enthusiastic, creative and diligent cooperation of all our stakeholders. Our students have cutting-edge technology at their disposal in the classroom and in laboratories and are learning how to use it effectively; our teachers are on the cutting edge of best practice; they surprise us every day with creative methodology that literally magnetizes the minds of our students with the desire to learn; our kids genuinely aspire to success, both in the classroom and in athletic competition; Advance Placement classes will soon be offered on all our campuses, Freshman Learning Centers will ease the students= transition from middle school into our more rigorous and challenging program; and our parents, on-line, are involved to a greater extent that ever before in their children=s progress. Our focus over the last four year has been on making sure that no child is left behind, not just on the basis of an arbitrary and largely unreasonable testing mandate, but in the Areal world@ of personal satisfaction, academic growth, measurable progress and a positive, hopeful outlook for the future. And we want to continue that work-in-progress. At the same time, we have to continue cutting unnecessary spending, devising more efficient ways of using the assets we have, developing creative methods of financing our efforts, applying for every grant dollar to which we are legitimately entitled, working to persuade the State of Illinois to assume its constitutional responsibility to fund education, and keeping our stakeholders in-the-know about our wise and responsible management of their money. That is my aspiration; that is my commitment.
Please explain how you believe the office you=re seeking can help in creating local jobs.
While by far the greatest portion of the school district=s budget goes to the salaries and benefits of our employees (since we are a service business), and we do hire many teachers and support staff from within the district. At present, District 228 employs 392 full-time certified staff and 19 part-timers, 183 full-time non-certified staff and 21 part-timers, for a total of 615 employees district-wide. While that is not Ashabby@ as to the statistics, nevertheless immediate Ajob-creation@ is not the focus of education, as if our own hiring policy will significantly affect the staggering unemployment rate in our communities. It=s preparation for future employment that is our chief focus.
Do you believe the current way Illinois pays for education is working? If so, why? If not, why not? What would you change?
The way in which education is funded (theoretically) in Illinois is archaic and blatantly unfair to property owners in our state. The burden should be borne proportionately, and it is the state (not the local entity) that has the constitutional mandate to fund education. Yet Illinois is almost dead last among the fifty states in its funding of our schools; and now, with the state=s financial crisis making it impossible to pay its bills, even the schools are on the list of angry creditors waiting for state money legitimately owed C money on which we rely to pay our bills. Changing the way Illinois funds (or does not fund) education is in the lap of the legislature. And it’s high time that Springfield does something about it.
Would you make any changes to the budget of the governing unity to which you are seeking elected office? If so, what?
In District 228, we make changes to our budget every year, trimming expenses, cutting costs, being more efficient with the money we have, and yet providing more with less. We intend to maintain that course and continue to seek creative ways in which to contain spending while moving forward in making our educational program a beacon of progress.
Are there any other issues you want to bring to the public=s attention? If so, what?
It has been alleged in the press that, as a member of the Board of Education, I have endeavored to force my religious views upon public policy. That allegation is completely false, unfounded, and incapable of proof. I am unalterably committed, as a matter of conscience, both as a Christian and as a citizen, to the separation of church and state. I no more expect school policy to be conformed to my religious tenets than I expect the state to legislate what I believe, teach and confess in my church. Every citizen has the right to freedom of religion without state interference, and the citizens individually and collectively have the right to live and work in this blessed country of ours without having any religious tenets forced upon them by me or anyone else. That is my consistent position, and I have never cast a vote contrary to it.