March 29, 2011 12:38PM
Rebekah Mensing, candidate in Forest Ridge SD 142. | Supplied photo
Office sought: Board of Education, Forest Ridge School District 142, Oak Forest, IL
Name: Rebekah Mensing
Date of Birth: 3/14/78
Facebook: Rebekah Dierking Mensing
Home: (708) 535-0697
Work: (708) 345-4145
Education: High school diploma; some college
Occupation, employer: I have managed the Hallmark department at Hazel Crest Walgreen’s for seven years.
Please list all sources of income: Myself and my husband’s employment.
Spouse, spouse’s employer:
Married to Mark Mensing. He has been employed as a machinist in the R&D department at Panduit in Tinley Park for 17 years.
Children, age of children, children’s employer (if applicable): I have three boys. Ethan is 11, Connor, 9 and Jonah, 5.
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 mother-in-law, Dawn Mensing, is a first grade teacher in Arbor Park School District 145.
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: None
In your view, what are the two most important issues facing your constituents? How would you address those issues?
I believe our most important issue is our financial situation. The state has been consistently delinquent in its payouts to the school district. Considering the state’s own financial situation, we have to be prepared for this not only to continue, but probably to get worse. It’s the school board’s job to make smart, common-sense choices regarding spending. In my own home, we have to have a budget and make spending choices based on “needs” versus “wants.” The same basic principle should apply to any budget. It’s important that the students receive a quality education without frivolous, unnecessary spending.
The second issue is, of course, maintaining our excellent educational program. We need to augment what we already do with cutting-edge strategies and best practice in our teaching. It is necessary that we support both the staff and the administration in their cooperative efforts to give our children the best for the least. As with everything else in this world, nothing comes without cost. But the cost has to be affordable.
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 see our board have consistent, open communication with our state representatives. The local school board should be the voice of the families in the district and has a responsibility to keep those families informed about bills and laws that will directly affect the students’ education. We need to let the representatives know that we are following their actions and that they will be held accountable for the decisions that they make regarding our children’s futures.
Please explain how you believe the office you’re seeking can help create local jobs.
The schools should continue to hire the best qualified teachers available; and with the expansion of our educational program, more jobs will become available.
Do you believe the current way Illinois pays for education is working? If so, why? If not, why not? What would you change?
Illinois is not paying for education. It’s not even paying what it OWES! Our taxpayers, and specifically our homeowners, are bearing an overbearing load. It’s about time that Springfield changes the entire system of funding education to make the burden more equitable.
Would you make any changes to the budget of the governing unit to which you are seeking elected office? If so, what?
No. Our school board has been making smart, proactive decisions regarding our budget. They have recently completed a 5-year financial plan to help prepare our school district for the repercussions that the state’s financial situation will leave in it’s wake. As to our own local spending, I will encourage the administration to cut expenditures wherever possible, but NEVER at the cost of the children’s education.