September 28, 2023


Paul Radlinski, Geneva School District 304 BOE election questionnaire

Geneva School District 304 Board of Education candidate Paul Radlinski

Full Name: Paul Radlinski

What office are you seeking? Board of Education - Geneva 304

What is your political party? Non partisan

What is your current age? 63

Occupation and Employer: Retired

What offices, if any, have you previously held? Member Board of Education Geneva 304 - nominated in April 2022 to fill an open position on the Board of Education in Geneva 304 until the next election (April 2023)

City: Geneva

Education: Bachelors of Science in Chemistry - The Pennsylvania State University - 1981

Master of Business Administration - University of Houston - 1986

Community involvement: Member Fox Valley Presbyterian Church

School Board Member Geneva 304

Regular volunteer at the Northern Illinois Food Bank

Regular blood donator to Versiti blood bank

Marital status/Immediate family: Married with 3 adult children

Why are you running for office?

Serving on the Geneva 304 Board of Education provides an opportunity for me to give back to and make a difference for the community that I have been a part of for nearly 20 years. I believe both my professional experience in managing international businesses and my life experiences of living in both Europe and Asia give me a strong basis and unique perspective to address the social, educational, and financial issues facing our school district over the next several years. As a Board member for the last year, I believe I have positively contributed to the continued progress the Board has made toward securing the highest quality education for our current and future students. I would like to continue my involvement by serving a full term on the Geneva 304 Board of Education.

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

I am a long time Geneva resident with three successful adult children who attended Geneva 304 schools. My professional, educational and life experiences provide me with the ability to critically evaluate issues and circumstances while helping to define a successful strategy to meet the current objectives of the district. My experience in overseeing international chemical businesses provides me with a sharp understanding of managing both organizations and financial results

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

As a newly appointed member of the Geneva 304 Board of Education I completed the required on line training provided by the Illinois Association of School Boards (IASB). I have also attended the annual meeting of the IASB in Chicago last November. Both forms of training provided an understanding of what is required to be an effective Board of Education member. In addition, as a Board of Education member I was required to take the training to become a “Mandatory Reporter” of child abuse and neglect.

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

The Board of Education is responsible for working alongside the superintendent, staff, teachers, students, and parents to set a strategic vision and goals for the District. Once the overall strategic plan is approved by the Board on behalf of the community, the Board monitors the District’s progress in achieving its stated goals. This monitoring effort includes the evaluation and critique of the current curriculum as to whether it is robust enough to ensure that the academic targets are met. Various curriculum segments are periodically reviewed by the District staff and their results are presented to the Board where a open discussion with the community, staff and students takes place to determine if curriculum improvements are needed and how they can be implemented.

Are LGBTQ students treated fairly in your district?

It is the responsibility of the Board of Education to ensure that all students are treated fairly and equitably in the district. This would include students of any religion, race, sexual orientation or gender identification. As Board members, it is critical that we remain diligent in supporting the district’s staff and teachers in their efforts to help all students to feel safe and welcomed. I would hope that if a student is not treated fairly that they would be comfortable in alerting their teacher concerning any harmful incident.

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

I believe District 304 is successfully working to continuously improve its efforts in DEI for both its Student and Teacher/Staff populations. Recently, when interviewing candidates for a new Superintendent position in District 304, the Board of Education included questions to the candidates as to their past experience and planned strategy to promote improvements in DEI in the future. DEI will continue to factor into our District educational and employment strategies.

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

The District must always have a continuous improvement strategy for DEI. DEI can not be static. Student and employee needs will continue to change and the DEI policy must adjust to accommodate these changes.

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

In terms of compensation, the Board of Education’s responsibility is to find a fair balance between paying competitive salaries to its teachers while maintaining a reasonable tax burden for the community. The administration continuously monitors salaries in neighboring districts to minimize losing our highly-qualified teachers to other local districts. I believe we have a district in which teachers are competitively compensated and have a positive working environment which helps to keep and attract strong teaching talent.

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

The definition of teacher pay scales are part of the collective bargaining process. As the Board of Education and Geneva Education Association are currently in a confidential contract negotiation period, it would be inappropriate for me as a current Board member to address this topic at this time.

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

The District strives to always provide a competitive compensation package for all employees. As an existing Board member, it would be inappropriate for me to discuss the compensation package for any one individual in a public manner.

Geneva 304 will have a new District Superintendent effective July 1, 2023. We are excited about the recently announced new superintendent candidate that will soon start in the position. I believe he will bring an infectious level of energy and enthusiasm to the position.

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

As an existing Board of Education member, it would be inappropriate for me to discuss the compensation package for any one individual in a public manner. Geneva 304 will have a new District Superintendent effective July 1, 2023. The new Superintendent’s compensation package will become public as required by state law.

Do you support the current superintendent? Please explain.

We are pleased and excited to have our new District Superintendent starting in his new role on July 1, 2023. Upon announcement of our choice for Superintendent, we received tremendous positive feedback from the administration staff, the teachers, the students and the community. We are looking forward to seeing the energy and enthusiasm that the new District Superintendent will bring to the position.

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

The Geneva District 304 Board of Education has stated that our current sex education curriculum is fully adequate for the needs of the students, is supported by the District’s parents and meets all of the State requirements. Therefore, there is no intent to change the curriculum at this time.

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

District 304′s first priority was to protect the health and well-being of the students, teachers, staff, parents and the community. Difficult decisions were made with the best intentions and based on the most current knowledge at the time concerning the potential impacts and severity of the virus. My observation was that District 304 maintained an approach based on medical science in responding to the Covid-19 pandemic. The District took its lead from recommendations and requirements from the IDPH along with the CDC.

What did you learn from the pandemic?

In the case of a pandemic, it is the responsibility of the Board of Education to protect the health and safety of all students, staff, teachers, parents and community members while maintaining its current academic standards. In order to meet these goals, one must listen and follow the guidance of the medical experts, recognizing that the full scientific knowledge of a pathogen may still be under development. The Board must maintain a close contact with national and state health organizations and be willing to adjust its policy as new scientific recommendations are instituted.

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

The District 304 Board of Education has a historic reputation of maintaining its tax levy level below the maximum amounts allowed by state regulations. The Board recognizes that it must balance the requirements to keep a healthy balance sheet for the district with the burden that the property tax has on its community members. The Board has actively worked with the District’s Financial Department to judicially craft an annual budget with minimum cost increases wherever possible while being cautious when considering increases in the tax levies to cover any higher cost.

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

I am a strong believer that the reputation and economic success of a community can be directly tied to the quality of its schools. Having a solid financial base for the school district benefits the student, staff and community. As previously mentioned, it is the Board of Education’s responsibility to balance the financial requirements of the district with the financial burden that the property taxes have on its community members. As a member of the Financial Committee of the District, I help to steer the direction and maintain the balance that Geneva 304 has exhibited previously and will continue to do so moving forward. I believe the financial team at the District office is well suited to understand the changes coming in federal and state financial educational support, the need to maintain our infrastructure, and the competitive position of the district when it comes to retaining a strong staff and highly qualified teacher base.

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

Geneva District 304 is considered a high performing school district in the State of Illinois when evaluating the quality of education that is provided for our students. This positive evaluation provides clear benefits to our students and enhances the reputation of our community as a great place to live. I believe it would be a mistake to fail to maintain the strong financial foundation the District currently has. The financial foundation is needed in order to meet the District’s vision and goals previously agreed upon by community stakeholders.

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

Absolutely yes

What is your position on open, transparent government?

I fully support an open and transparent government.

In District 304, great effort is taken to ensure that all key issues are presented to the students, parents and community well in advance of any decision being taken by the Board of Education. The Board also works to ensure that all meetings, discussions and decisions follow the Open Meeting Act requirements. The District works hard to provide information, data, details and meeting summaries to the community by way of our newly updated website, e-mail, letters and social media. Efforts are underway to bolster the District’s communication to community members who may not be directly involved with the schools.

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

Absolutely yes

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