Name: Jill Bertels
Occupation: Co-owner/operator of farming operation and owner of retail greenhouse
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Position seeking: Member of the Board of Education of Edwardsville School District 7
Campaign website: N/A
Why are you running and why should people vote for you? I am running for re-election to demonstrate my drive, dedication and commitment to District 7. I feel that I am uniquely qualified to provide the leadership needed as the district administration is in a stage of transition. 1) My drive to improve District 7 is stronger than ever. We have begun a regular cycle of curriculum studies. Our technology plan is turning into a reality. The safety of our staff and students is constantly being reviewed and upgraded. District 7 has a balanced budget, and we will start restoring our cash reserves soon. I am excited to be a member of the board as District 7 reaches financial stability. 2) My dedication is true to Edwardsville School District. My husband, my three sons and I are alumni of EHS. I have three grandchildren who attend our schools and two more who will in the future. You can find me at a variety of extracurricular events throughout the district. I own farm property within the district boundaries and run a small business here as well. Yes, I am dedicated to the success of this district. 3) My commitment to our students is demonstrated by making good decisions regarding academics, technology and safety. My commitment extends to the employees, as well. We have dedicated teachers and a support staff that works tirelessly with our students every day. My commitment to the taxpayers is to be held accountable for using their tax dollars in an efficient manner.
What are the most important issues the school district faces, and how would you approach them? I believe the most important challenge for the leadership of District 7 is to stay disciplined and true to its word to the taxpayers who passed Proposition E. Another concern is the lack of vocational classes currently offered to our students. The third issue is to keep improving our communication with the parents, staff and taxpayers.
Under what circumstances would you vote to raise property taxes? I see two circumstances where a tax increase may be necessary. The first would be if the district would face a catastrophic event prior to our reserve funds being replenished. The second situation would be if State funds would drastically be reduced from current levels.
What are your goals for the district/what do you want to accomplish? 1) Follow through with the commitment that was made when Prop E was passed. Curriculum review is on a regular cycle. Technology continues to be improved throughout our buildings. The safety of our staff and students is constantly being reviewed and upgraded. District 7 has a balanced budget and we will start restoring our cash reserves soon. 2) Encourage our administration to create a proposal that will bring vocational training back to the district. A high percentage of our graduates continue their education at a college or university. But the students who plan to go to a trade school or directly into the work force need to be prepared as well. 3) Give every student a positive experience with their teacher, classroom, learning materials and extracurricular activities and make them want to attend school every day. 4) Continue to improve our communication with parents, taxpayers and staff. The district is looking for ways to reach community members to let them know of the exciting things happening within our buildings. Our staff is the face that our students and parents see on a daily basis. They need to know the administration and board respect their opinions and will back them when they are being challenged. 5) Recently the board hired a new superintendent. My goal is to participate in the transition and be involved while our district becomes stronger and more dynamic under his watch.
What is your position on the proposed increase in minimum wage for teachers in Illinois? All of our employee groups would be affected by a raise in minimum wage. We have three unions within our employee base. They are the Edwardsville Education Association (EEA), Edwardsville School Service Personnel Association (ESSPA) and Edwardsville Federation of Secretarial Employees (EFSE). District 7 will negotiate with the unions when their contracts are due to comply with the laws that are in place regarding minimum wage.