Steve Fiorentino, Community School District 300 Board of Education election questionnaire

Election 2024
Community School District 300 Board of Education candidate Steve Fiorentino

Full Name: Stephen (Steve) Fiorentino

What office are you seeking? Board of Education-CUSD300

What is your political party? NA

What is your current age? 62

Occupation and Employer: Fiorentino, Larson and Associates-Director of Client Services

What offices, if any, have you previously held? Vice President of the Board of Education-CUSD300

Secretary of the Board of Education-CUSD300

Chairman of CFOC committee-CUSD300

Co Chairman of Finance committee-CUSD300

Chairman of Community Engagement Committee-CUSD300

Chairman of Legislative Affairs Committee-CUSD300

Secretary to the Jordan Lake Wisconsin Protection District

**See Bio for non public offices held

City: Algonquin

Campaign Website: Facebook: Fiorentinoford300boardofeducation

Education: Bachelor of Science/PD in Pharmacy-University of South Carolina

Community involvement:

  • Northwestern Illinois Association (NIA) Board Member
  • Kiwanis-Founding member of Algonquin/Lake in the Hills Chapter
  • Light of Christ Community Church
  • AAYO (Algonquin) Youth Sports-Coach
  • Samaritans Purse-Disaster Relief and Child Sponsorship(s)
  • Mission of Hope Haiti-Mission Work
  • Feed My Starving Children
  • Salvation Army
  • Jordan Lake (WI) Board-Sec of Board

Marital status/Immediate family: Spouse-Robin


Why are you running for office?

I believe District 300 is moving in a good direction and we are seeing positive results in many assessments and surveys. I am not running for re-election for a particular issue, however, I do believe strong and steady leadership is needed: and I am a candidate that can absolutely bring proven and solid leadership. I am excited about the recent and updated strategic plan and believe we will continue to make positive progress in teaching and learning. In recent years, there is an increased divide within our community. When some issues became emotional, I did my best to deflect any blame placed on our educators and staff and I am optimistic there will be an increased focus on community and staff engagement. I will remain committed and supportive of these efforts. A seamless transition of our superintendents over the next 18 months is critical. I am committed to offering strong and steady leadership in this transition. The experiences I have will be critical for our board and the school district in this transition.

What makes you qualified for the office you’re seeking?

I remain qualified for this position based on my extensive and diverse career and my high functioning board work. In my years as a school board member, I have served in several leadership positions. The positions of Vice President and Secretary as well as Chairmanship of Public Engagement, Legislative Affairs, Finance and Facility Oversight (CFOC) strengthens my qualifications to continue strong and steady leadership.

Have you sought and/or received any training to run for your local school board? If so, from whom?

I have received extensive board of education training. The training has covered multiple subjects (many can be seen on my board BIO) and includes training by IASB, NSBA and CUSD 300. As important as training is, my striving for continuous improvement and learning is critical. I have attended multiple National and State School Board Conventions. During these meetings, I average attending 10-12 learning sessions. I estimate I have participated in 200-250 training and shared learning experiences. I have also sought out meetings with fellow board members of other top performing school districts. Lastly, I have completed all state mandated training for School Board members.

Would you propose any changes to the curriculum? If so, what?

Our School Board regularly reviews the curriculum. During a recent board meeting, the administration proposed modifications in curriculum and publishers. After a rigorous process, the board approved the changes.

We have a robust curriculum, with a focus on college, technical and vocational preparation. I am in favor of increasing our technical and vocational offerings. CUSD 300 has a terrific welding program that is shared with another district. I would like to see investing in and expanding this and similar programs.

Are LGBTQ students treated fairly in your district?

CUSD 300 continues to work hard for this group as well as other marginalized students. I would do everything in my power for nothing other than fair treatment of this and all student populations. Under the leadership of our Director of Diversity and Inclusions, District 300 has created offerings to continue to ensure inclusion. An example is the LGBTQ+ Learning Space. The purpose is to “provide resources for parents and D300 community members seeking to learn more about concepts relevant to the educational experiences of those who identify within this community.” This is open to all students and community members.

What is your assessment of how Diversity, Equity and Inclusion is handled in your school district?

The board adopted a policy focused on equity in eduction and it is clearly outlined in our newly created Mission Statement. Our school district recently hired an administrator to focus on Diversity, Equity and Inclusion. Mr Harries has made great strides in providing resources for students, parents and staff.

Do you believe the district needs to make any changes to improve DEI in your district?

This question has been addressed in previous answer.

Are teachers in your district paid adequately now and in retirement?

he District 300 teachers are adequately compensated based on salary reviews. In preparation for the most recent contract ratification, the data was reviewed prior to approving a solid increase. We diligently gather and review teacher salary benchmark data as provided by the Illinois State Board of Education. This data is sorted in many ways, including by education/degree, years, specialty etc. It is an important question as we continue to face a shortage of educators and continued fiscal responsibility..

Would you support changes to teacher pay scales? If so, how?

I would be open to listening and collaborating with our union leadership. The standardization of pay based on education, experience and qualifications increases fair and equitable compensation.

What is your assessment of the district superintendent’s compensation?

The size of our school district, number of students, staff/faculty and schools, affects the complexity of our Superintendent’s responsibilities and therefore their compensation. We assess their education, work experience, certifications and additional skill sets when determining the appropriate compensation. Upon Dr. Harkin’s recent retirement announcement, the District 300 board did an extensive review and utilized comparative data of similar school districts as an important tool in negotiating the starting salary and compensation of our new superintendent.

Would you make any changes to how the district superintendent is compensated?

Not at this time.

Do you support the current superintendent? Please explain.

District 300 is undergoing a critical transition, we will have a new superintendent. I have worked with Dr. Harkin for many years, she has held many roles in D300, and she is outstanding. She is one of the primary reasons our school district is financially healthy. Dr. Martina Smith was part of our leadership team and will be a great leader in academics. I was part of the selection process for these leaders and SUPPORT them both.

Should schools in your district adopt and teach sex education according to the National Sex Education Standards? Please explain.

Currently our school district, along with over 500 others in Illinois, has “opted out” of these teaching standards. At this time, it appears that the majority of school districts (and families) have rejected this. I will continue to monitor this situation and be in discussions with our legislators. I will continue to advocate for age appropriate education. There is proposed legislation at our state capital that would mandate (create law) around this issue.

What is your assessment of how the COVID-19 pandemic was handled locally?

We at District 300 spent countless hours assessing options and then making difficult decisions during the pandemic. As a person with medical training, I was always utilizing medical data and laws to drive decisions. At times, it was extremely difficult as we would receive mixed messages from the surrounding health departments. As I reflect back, I can honestly say that I did my personal best to utilize the information available and make data driven decisions.

What did you learn from the pandemic?

I learned that it is critical to have strong leadership. Upon reflection, there were some learning points and I believe there would be room for some “do overs.” From a personal standpoint, I did my best to provide strong and unemotional leadership to assist our staff in doing what was best for our students and staff.

Are voters that support your district taxed at an appropriate level?

I believe we receive the minimum amount of taxes to run a fiscally responsible school district. As one of the leaders of our finance committee, I see firsthand the tough decisions being made by our administrators. Another way to view this is “dollars spent per student”. District 300 has been on of the most judicious school districts over the past several years.

Would you support any plans to raise taxes in the district? If so, what should the additional revenue be spent on?

I do not see this happening in the near term and I would not support one. We built a 40 classroom school, Big Timber Elementary (2022) without an increased tax burden. The cost of the school was approximately $31M and was funded by existing fund balance and issuance of debt certificates. Reviewing the most recent enrollment and housing data, I do believe we will need an additional school built and additional revenue would most likely be needed for this project.

Would you support lowering taxes in the district? If so, what programs or services in the district would you cut?

Early in my tenure as a board member, we cut programs such as art. Cutting programming or services usually has a negative impact on education. I support that we have added full day Kindergarten and preschool. This will help our students become stronger young learners. As mentioned and seen in my actions, I am fiscally responsible and always trying to find a way for our district to provide the best education for the least amount of spend.

Will you accept the voters’ decision in your race on Election Day?

Yes. I would offer my experience and expertise in whatever the outcome.

What is your position on open, transparent government?

This is a non negotiable in all forms of government. I do and say everything so that I AM transparent in my actions as an elected official.

Do you support the Freedom of Information Act and citizens’ ability to freely access government records?

Yes. This is an example of the “how” we have full transparency.