Full Name: Elias Palacios
What office are you seeking? Saint Charles Community Unit School District 303 Board
What is your political party? Independent
What is your current age? 62
Occupation and Employer: Senior Public Service Administrator for the State of Illinois
What offices, if any, have you previously held? None
City: Campton Hills
Campaign Website: http://www.voteforepalacios.org
Education: Adler University, Chicago, Illinois. Master of Arts in Counseling Psychology.
Los Libertadores, School of Advanced Professional Education located in Trujillo, Peru. Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration/Accounting
Montay College, Chicago, Illinois. Completed studies in Hispanic American Addictions Counseling.
Certificate of Completion from the Law Program for Community Developers and Social Workers, John Marshall Law School in Chicago.
Certificate from a course of study (The Opioid Crisis in America). Harvard Medical School, Harvard University.
Certificate from a course of study (Exercising Leadership: Foundational Principles). Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University.
Certified Advanced Alcohol and Drug Abuse Counselor (AODA/CAADC) by the Illinois Alcohol and other drug abuse Professional Certification Association, Inc.
International Certified Advanced Alcohol and Drug Counselor
Community involvement: Saint Mark’s Lutheran Church in Saint Charles, Illinois
Marital status/Immediate family: I am married and have two children
Why are you running for office?
I have a few reasons for becoming a school board member. I have two children who attend Community Unit School District 303. One attends an elementary school, and the other attends a middle school. Moreover, I have a passion for helping others and plan to incorporate it to preserve and improve the quality of our school system. Furthermore, I believe in the quality of public education for our current and future students.
What makes you qualified for the office you’re seeking?
My experience working with various group settings: as a former President of a homeowner association, a member of an executive team of a union, at a Hispanic advisory board for a legislator, and my current position as a Senior Public Service administrator. My formal education, expertise in substance use disorders /mental illness, and extensive work at a Forensic Treatment facility.
Have you sought and/or received any training to run for your local school board? If so, from whom?
Yes, I received training from Leadership Institute
Would you propose any changes to the curriculum? If so, what?
Yes, I would focus on academics and textbooks that support all student success
Are LGBTQ students treated fairly in your district?
I don’t have any information about it, but all students need to be treated fairly.
What is your assessment of how Diversity, Equity and Inclusion is handled in your school district?
Need more improvement when dealing with recent immigrants from Latin America and Eastern Europe. Especially with their language, culture, traditions, and religion. Need to hire more bilingual and bicultural teachers and support personnel.
Do you believe the district needs to make any changes to improve DEI in your district?
Yes, to plan ahead to support immigrants from Latin America, Eastern Europe, and others. Support their adjustment to the US and respect their culture, religion, language, and traditions as well.
Are teachers in your district paid adequately now and in retirement?
Presently they are paid adequately. I don’t have information about their retirement salaries.
Would you support changes to teacher pay scales? If so, how?
Yes, however, it needs to be related to student academic improvement. Evaluate the workforce and their education, experience, training, and commitment to students.
What is your assessment of the district superintendent’s compensation?
I think it is fair at this time. We will evaluate before the contract expires.
Would you make any changes to how the district superintendent is compensated?
It will need to be related to how students improve their education, the quality and number of qualified teachers, support staff, bus drivers, and the rest of the staff’s performance.
Do you support the current superintendent? Please explain.
Yes, he is learning quickly and listening to all stakeholders. Working on the priority of the district and making personal contact with students. He also maintains frequent communication with the board and works well with his team as well.
Should schools in your district adopt and teach sex education according to the National Sex Education Standards? Please explain.
No, because it is not appropriate for all children. Parents are responsible for their children’s sex education and they know better their children than the school staff.
What is your assessment of how the COVID-19 pandemic was handled locally?
I give the benefit of the doubt to the board, School administration, and parents. Nobody was prepared for the COVID-19 pandemic. However, I would say that the school district needed to hear more from parents and constituents so parents can choose how their children learn best.
What did you learn from the pandemic?
I learned that before, there was a lot of misleading information, and there is still some information that lacks factual scientific data and studies with sufficient samples. Communication and education are the essential components to preventing and reducing a significant outbreak of infectious disease in schools.
In the future, we need to educate parents, children, and all school staff with factual data from CDC, Illinois Public Health, and other reputable institutions such as Harvard Medical School and Mayo Clinic.
Are voters that support your district taxed at an appropriate level?
I don’t think so. There are a number of retired taxpayers who don’t have school-age children and others not retired with no children at all. We need to create a way for them to pay less or have some incentives as well.
Would you support any plans to raise taxes in the district? If so, what should the additional revenue be spent on?
I will only support a tax increase if the money is going to be used for the student’s academic improvements and to increase their safety in schools.
Would you support lowering taxes in the district? If so, what programs or services in the district would you cut?
Will you accept the voters’ decision in your race on Election Day?
What is your position on open, transparent government?
I believe that any government unit needs to be open and transparent with all constituents. School boards need to communicate with all stakeholders.
Do you support the Freedom of Information Act and citizens’ ability to freely access government records?
yes, as the constitution and laws allow.