October 03, 2023


Emily Smith, Crystal Lake School District 47 Board of Education election questionnaire

Crystal Lake School District 47 Board of Education candidate Emily Smith

Full Name: Emily Smith

What office are you seeking? D47 Board of Education

What is your political party? Question is not applicable for a non-partisan position.

What is your current age? 39

Occupation and Employer: Commercial Real Estate, Berkshire Hathaway Home Services Starck Real Estate

What offices, if any, have you previously held? D47 Board of Education

City: Lake in the Hills

Campaign Website:

Education: University of Illinois, Champaign Urbana

Bachelor’s Degree in Marketing

Community involvement: 2008-Present My Sister’s Dress Co-Founder & Volunteer, 2005-2012 Big Brothers Big Sisters of McHenry County, Big & Board Member, 2005-2011 Northern Illinois Special Recreation Association, Board Member & Event Volunteer

Marital status/Immediate family: Married, 3 children

Why are you running for office?

My #1 motivation is my kids, which for me is transferrable to all kids in our community. My goal is to ensure the best education in a safe environment for the children of our community.

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

I have diverse experience that has taught me to be adaptable and brings a unique perspective to the board. With a strong ability to collaborate, listen and learn, I am able to grasp district needs and be a supportive, productive team member.

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

No, I have not received any training for the election process. However, I have received experience as a current school board member and training offered by the Illinois State Board of Education: Professional Development Leadership, Open Meetings Act, and Performance Evaluation Reform Act.

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

No, curriculum change occurs when mandated by state/federal legislation or updated curriculum is needed to support instruction in the classroom. The role of a school board member is not to propose changes to curriculum, rather to set policy that helps guide how the district operates. When a curriculum mandate or adoption is needed the administration team and curriculum committees work to fully evaluate and provide a recommendation to the board for consideration.

Are LGBTQ students treated fairly in your district?

I have no experience or feedback to support nor deny. Though I can confirm D47′s mission statement is to “Empower All Students” and the entire staff is focused on supporting that vision by providing a fair and equitable learning environment.

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

District 47 has developed groups of staff district wide to participate in professional development and to discuss how the districts practices, policies and procedures could potentially be improved to allow students and families to have full access to all elements of the student’s education. The next step is to include all staff in the conversations for further discovery and implementation. The district is committed to ensuring every student has access and opportunity to engage in their education and reach their full potential.

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

I believe D47 could improve on 1. Creating more equitable use of our space for both learning and working environments. 2. Striving towards more access to programs and learning opportunities for our English Learners.

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

No, I don’t feel K-8 teachers where taxpayer dollars are split amongst more than one district are compensated appropriately. As for retirement, it is based on teacher’s individual contributions into the Teachers’ Retirement System which was created by the Illinois General Assembly for teachers and is overseen by laws specific to the program via the Illinois Pension Code. The local school board has no control over teacher retirement.

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

Yes, I would like to see more flexibility based on job performance and ability as there are in other industries.

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

Our district superintendent is adequately and appropriately compensated. The contract is aligned with surrounding districts and the industry.

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

Not at this time.

Do you support the current superintendent? Please explain.

Absolutely. Dr Hinz’s experience, knowledge and communication is imperative in keeping our district thriving. The role experiences constant change and scrutiny, she has an unbelievable ability to remain focused on the best interests of the district’s students. In 2022 Dr. Hinz was named Superintendent of Distinction by her colleagues in the Kishwaukee Region of the Illinois Association of School Administrators.

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

No, I do not feel our community would benefit from the standards. The National Sex Education Standards were adopted by the state of Illinois but not mandated for the districts. District 47 did not adopt the standards, but they were reviewed and compared to our current curriculum to determine if anything needed to be update or changed for our demographics.

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

The pandemic was an impossible challenge to please anyone. I believe our district did the best we could with the information available and the mandates in place. D47 prioritized in person learning and students social and emotional health.

What did you learn from the pandemic?

We will continue to be challenged with new and unique situations. The more we can support our kids socially and emotionally, the more they will be able to thrive and adapt.

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

The majority of funding for public schools in Illinois comes from local property taxes. Our taxes are high, but so is the cost of running multiple districts. There are benefits to having separated school districts in our community, however a consolidated district has potential to more efficiently utilize resources. D47 has been successful in securing financial support from sources other than property taxes and needs to stay focused on that goal to support revenue.

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

I certainly do not want to raise tax rates. However, with the current CPI rising to historical levels, it will become increasingly more difficult to balance wage increases to attract and retain staff with the cost of maintaining facilities.

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

District 47 has reduced the tax rate for its taxpayers each year for the past 7 years from 4.65 per $100 to 3.81 per $100. I cannot answer definitively a specific program or service to cut, it would be determined based on proposed budget, current service offerings and needs of our student population at that time. I would strive for more efficiencies rather than cutting opportunities for our students.

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

Of course.

What is your position on open, transparent government?

I support an open and transparent government, but respect and expect information such as safety and security protocols, student records, etc. to remain confidential.

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

I do support FOIA and a citizens’ ability to freely request and access government records.

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