Election 2013: Edward Corcoran
Edward Corcoran is one of eight candidates running for the District 86 Board of Education in the 2013 election.
Name: Edward A. Corcoran
Position sought: Hinsdale Township High School District 86 Board of Education
Email address: Edward.email@example.com
Hometown: Clarendon Hills
Family: Daughters Shannon, 13, and Grace, 11; son Joseph, 6.
Education: Northwestern University – Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering, 1985; Masters in Management, Finance and Marketing 1989.
Occupation: Entrepreneur, Investor
Years in District 86: I've resided in Clarendon Hills since childhood.
Previous elected offices: American Chamber of Commerce in Thailand – Board of Governors
Applicable experience qualifying you for the position:
Engineering and Project Management Skills Needed for Major Facilities– D86 has a major facilities program planned and as an Engineer (the only Engineer) on the Board, I would steward the oversight of these large scale projects. I successfully managed large scale projects using an engineer’s eye and discipline in the Chicago area as well as in Hong Kong, Singapore, Thailand and Indonesia. Communication and collaboration skills are needed to improve the scope, pricing and long term viability. Protecting the interests of taxpayers, students, parents and teachers is paramount when short term interests of consultants and construction companies often prevail instead of vice versa.
Alumni of Hinsdale Central 1981 – part of a successful swim team and other extracurricular activities. Having attended and experienced the rich traditions associated with District 86 places me in a unique position of understanding our students and the reasons behind many of those rich traditions.
Masters Degree in Finance – keen understanding of financial and budgeting aspects. 20+ years using technical skills in financial reporting, audit, planning and measurement will assist in making appropriate decisions.
Leadership Positions in Private Companies
- Founder and Board of Directors – Modern Asia Environmental, Waste Management Siam, Waste Management Indonesia, various other companies in the group. Past position.
- Board of Directors – Colliers International, Thailand (real estate consulting, appraisal and advisory firm). Currently on Board
- Board of Directors – Seed Asia International (start up hybrid tropical corn seed business in SE Asia). Past investor.
Insignia Systems Inc. – Audit Committee Member – currently on Board
Volunteer Role in Community
- Founding Member – Citizens for Clarendon Hills, a grass roots organization established to improve accountability, transparency and responsible taxation
- Board of Governors – American Chamber of Commerce in Thailand
- Health Clinic Founder – Bogor Indonesia
- Community Fund for education, health and welfare – Bowin Thailand
What is the primary reason you are running for this office?
I am eager and look forward to giving back to the community and school where I received an excellent education and positive experiences in sports/extracurricular activities.
What will be your single most important priority if you get elected?
Increase collaboration and involvement between the community and board of education on issues of importance by installing a functioning committee organization with skilled taxpayers participating actively. This will help revitalize the spirit of the board. Dormant working committees can tap into the vast skills set of the community and additional participation in areas such as budget, capital project requirements, curriculum, insurance, special education, etc. This will instill higher accountability to achieve improvements and goals on all levels while maintaining a healthier balance between student, parent, teacher and taxpayer.
What sets you apart from the other candidates?
An engineer with an MBA, alumnus of Hinsdale Central 1981, part of the successful swimming program at Central, resident of Clarendon Hills, and have children planning to attend Hinsdale Central I have a vested interest in educational excellence for my children who plan to attend Hinsdale Central in the coming future and a keen interest in sustainable tax policy.
What do you believe is District 86’s biggest strength?
Educational excellence of the students supported by fantastic teachers, dedicated parents and parent groups (PTOs, Boosters).
What do you believe is District 86’s biggest weakness?
Collaboration between taxpayers and the board needs improvement and the internal board communication/collaboration also needs improvement. An example of such is the lack of a formal written tax policy and the recent $17.9 million bond issue was passed by the board without a taxpayer referendum (acknowledging the cap is approximately $18 million the limit was clearly near/at the threshold). With my background on boards and in collaboration, I can assist in improving the collaboration. Sustainability of the decade-long compounding tax increases is a serious concern and long-term tax policy must be implemented and instilled into the budgetary planning process. I would help lead and embrace a re-activation of the board’s committee system to further engage the community and empower board members to excel in their areas of expertise for a more robust contribution and outcome. Prioritization and detailed public justification and challenge for all capital projects should be policy to help address prioritization, tax level and sustainability issues. The intelligent and well qualified staff can be directed to work in line with these policies.
Do you support the district’s ruling in favor of Hinsdale South staff on a parent’s curriculum objection last year of the showing of American Beauty and Brokeback Mountain? Do such movies have a place in high school classrooms?
Whenever there are contentious issues, I believe more in-depth collaboration to bring a deeper understanding and consensus is needed for matters of importance to the community. The school board is ultimately responsible for approving curriculum and should adjust that as needed. As a school district, we must listen closely and be sensitive on any matters near to or encroaching on moral boundaries of families.
In terms of a school district, how would you describe a board that is fiscally responsible? Does District 86 currently have a fiscally responsible board?
A board which is fiscally responsible looks to control spending and will approach tax increases in a sustainable manner. Real taxpayer input is needed and the must be challenges to staff proposed increases in a healthy and collaborative manner. D86 needs a clear and sustainable tax policy. More serious self-critique on matters of tax increases, measurements and evaluation on spending, best practices for project management protocol on major capital expenditures, and methods of cost control can be improved. Healthy challenges to all parties receiving taxpayer money can only improve and balance the level of fairness to taxpayers given the large increases in salaries and spending over the last decade. When there are proposed capital expenditures, we need to assess the justification, true benefit to the student and how to measure the success once spending occurs. Every dollar spent towards consultants, construction managers, attorneys, insurance, and overhead is a dollar not being spent in the classroom. Taxpayers deserve more financial information and objective evaluation of projects.
Both fiscal responsibility and prudent project management are areas I plan to help the Board improve upon. All spending needs to drive improvements in the classroom, health and safety, or capital replacements that lower operating costs.