Full Name: Tom Freyer
What office are you seeking? Mokena School District 159 Board of Education
What is your political party? None
What is your current age? 39
Occupation and Employer: Associate Principal for Athletics - Downers Grove South High School
What offices, if any, have you previously held? None
Education: Bachelor of Arts - University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Masters of Arts in Teaching - National Louis University
Masters of Education Administration - Governors State University
Community involvement: I provide tutoring in mathematics for local students in the community.
Marital status/Immediate family: Married - two children
Why are you running for office?
I want to give back to my community and work to ensure that the children of Mokena continue to have access to excellent schools.
What makes you qualified for the office you’re seeking?
I have worked in education for several years and have held multiple roles including substitute teacher, teacher, athletic director, department chair, and associate principal. I have a keen understanding of the challenges that schools face and believe I will be able to work collectively with the rest of the board members to take on those challenges.
Have you sought and/or received any training to run for your local school board? If so, from whom?
Would you propose any changes to the curriculum? If so, what?
Curriculum evaluation is an ongoing process. I would like evaluate our current offerings and see where we can make improvements. One area that I have identified through the experience of my own children is the need to increase enrichment offerings for students.
Are LGBTQ students treated fairly in your district?
I would need to have far greater access to the school district to answer that question.
What is your assessment of how Diversity, Equity and Inclusion is handled in your school district?
What I have witnessed is the school district is welcoming to all individuals of various backgrounds. I would need to work more closely with the district to truly understand how diversity, equity, and inclusion is engrained in their culture.
Do you believe the district needs to make any changes to improve DEI in your district?
The school district should focus on making their work more visible so residents fully understand the work they are engaging in.
Are teachers in your district paid adequately now and in retirement?
Districts across the state are seeing a shortage in all areas including bus drivers, teachers, substitute teachers, and support staff. It is important that we remain competitive with our local districts to recruit and retain quality staff.
Would you support changes to teacher pay scales? If so, how?
Changes to the teacher pay scale is done through the collective bargaining process. As a board member, I would work to ensure we have a collective bargaining agreement that attracts and retains high performing employees while also ensuring that our tax dollars are being spent in a fiscally responsible manner.
What is your assessment of the district superintendent’s compensation?
The current structure is aligned with the demands of the role and regionally competitive.
Would you make any changes to how the district superintendent is compensated?
I would work with the other board members to ensure our compensation structure is competitive and results driven.
Do you support the current superintendent? Please explain.
The current superintendent is working with the current board of education to meet the goals they have outlined together. I will support a superintendent that continues to work with the employees, larger community, and board of education to meet the objectives outlined in their strategic plan.
Should schools in your district adopt and teach sex education according to the National Sex Education Standards? Please explain.
The current Illinois standards are modeled after the national standards. Sex education is optional for districts in the State of Illinois to provide and parents can opt their children out of instruction.
What is your assessment of how the COVID-19 pandemic was handled locally?
Districts made decisions based on information and guidance that was available at the time. The district offered in-person instruction and remote instruction. Due to the efforts of the school, my children were still able to learn and progress through a less than desirable time.
What did you learn from the pandemic?
There are enough things in this world to tear a community apart. We need to work together to provide greater opportunities for our children and extend grace when needed.
Are voters that support your district taxed at an appropriate level?
Would you support any plans to raise taxes in the district? If so, what should the additional revenue be spent on?
Raising taxes is only one option when trying to address budget shortfalls. All measures of funding should be explored when faced with a financial crisis. If we were to have additional funds, I would work with the board to establish our priorities on how the funds should be allocated.
Would you support lowering taxes in the district? If so, what programs or services in the district would you cut?
If we were fully meeting the needs of the district and we had a revenue surplus, I would engage in conversations with the board to see if we could provide a rebate to the taxpayers in our district.
Will you accept the voters’ decision in your race on Election Day?
What is your position on open, transparent government?
I am in full support.
Do you support the Freedom of Information Act and citizens’ ability to freely access government records?