Election 2013: Roger Kempa
Roger Kempa is one of eight candidates running for the District 86 Board of Education in the 2013 election.
Name: Roger J. Kempa
Position sought: Hinsdale Township High School District 86 Board of Education
Education: MBA from Benedictine University (Finance); BS from Arizona State University (Finance); AA from College of DuPage (General Business); Certified School Business Official: Northern Illinois University.
Occupation: Retired chief school business administrator and treasurer
Years in District 86: 26
Previous elected offices: Board member, Illinois Association of School Business Officials; Chairman, Illinois Community College Risk Management Consortium.
Applicable experience qualifying you for the position: Both past career public school and community college administrative and business experience, related history of positive accomplishments (e.g. first college in the nation to earn either the ASBO or GFOA award for its annual budget), and experience within my profession as a board member/leader.
As part of being named outstanding business officer in Region VIII (one of 12 regions in the nation) by the National Council of Community College Business Officials, I was chosen for my “effectiveness in carrying out my financial responsibilities, participation in institutional strategic planning, and professional involvement in state and national associations and contributions to the community.”
What is the primary reason you are running for this office?
I was incensed at the indignant, arrogant and condescending attitude of the present board majority towards the property taxpayers of the district, who should be treated as actual people, who own homes and businesses in the district, and who also foot most of the bill for district expenditures. Based upon the attitude demonstrated at this past Dec. 10 board meeting, the present board majority treats these important friends of the district as a money machine to be turned on once a year to maximize property tax income based upon what the present board majority wants, and based legality to do it. This attitude must change.
What will be your single most important priority if you get elected?
From the perspective of all district property taxpayers:
Seek out and eliminate waste beginning first with present board majority board decisions, enabling saved resources to go directly first to the education and instruction for the children; and provide genuine transparency, more board management information for decisions, a positive attitude of answering questions, welcoming ideas, and providing accountability. One example would be to provide a public hearing and subsequent public vote on any further issuance of debt, which will be done by open competitive bidding, with the board awarding the winning bid from a disclosed list of all bidders.
What sets you apart from the other candidates?
My actual on-the-job career experience with budget/finances, capital improvements, personnel, property, security, enrollment, attendance and instruction in a board/administration/public environment. This has prepared and enabled me to see through most all the smoke and clutter presented in that environment for getting the facts for important decisions. I’d like to think that I’ve seen it all, so to speak. But no, there are sure to be at least a few new surprises. I would find that both interesting and challenging in a positive way.
What do you believe is District 86’s biggest strength?
Past and present reputation related to quality of student education, especially at Hinsdale Central High School.
What do you believe is District 86’s biggest weakness?
Lack of transparency of the present board majority. However, I contend if they do claim provision of transparency, it is one of making important information visible to all district constituents including but not limited to the general public, property taxpayers, teachers, parents, local businesses, local media, and those who vote in District 86 elections.
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?
That decision has been made and is history. Not having participated in all that took place, my answer to the first question lacks all the actual facts on which the ruling was based. I am sure the same or similar controversy will occur again. At that time, I will provide an answer if needed based upon both my morality and ethics. I will be in a position to decide whether the next movie, video, book, etc., is right or wrong for instruction.
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 fiscally responsible board is one that is in touch with its constituents on fiscal issues. The board will have an open dialogue medium, welcome them to board meetings, addresses their ideas, suggestions, and answer their questions with an open and positive attitude at board meetings. Confrontational attitude or a standard reply of, “See the superintendent,” is not acceptable. Major fiscal policies should be in place to detail and disclose board position on major issues including but not limited to: determining the annual property tax levy, amount of cash reserves, issuance of debt, contracts, requests for proposals, etc.
The answer to the second question is, “No.”