Full Name: Amanda Montgomery
What office are you seeking? Mokena School District 159 Board Member
What is your political party? Democrat
What is your current age? 41
Occupation and Employer: Stay at Home Parent
What offices, if any, have you previously held? None
Campaign Website: Facebook: Amanda Montgomery for Mokena District 159 School Board
Education: * Bachelors of Science in Mathematics Education from Purdue University
* Masters of Accountancy from the University of Mississippi
Community involvement: I have raised money and ran marathons for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society
Marital status/Immediate family: Married with 2 small children
Why are you running for office?
I would love to be involved more in our community, especially the school as my oldest child is entering kindergarten this fall. I want to ensure all students have a safe and respectful learning environment.
What makes you qualified for the office you’re seeking?
I am a graduate of Mokena public schools. I am a former teacher turned public account/auditor (at a Big Four accounting firm). I have my CPA license but it is inactive as I am currently a stay at home parent.
Have you sought and/or received any training to run for your local school board? If so, from whom?
I have watched/read the webinars hosted by the Illinois Association of School Boards. I am awaiting the release of their new board member training and/or IASB materials (anticipated April 2023).
Would you propose any changes to the curriculum? If so, what?
School board members should not be involved in day-to-day activities of the schools. I would work in supporting the teachers, staff, parents, etc in any proposed changes to the curriculum in the appropriate capacity. As a board member, we are required to upload the state and national laws, too.
Are LGBTQ students treated fairly in your district?
LGBTQ+ students are often not treated fairly. I believe representation is key to help in this respect. For instance, books that depict LGBTQ+ families/people should be allowed in school libraries. This fosters an open dialog with students about other students with different family backgrounds. Not every family is the same and we need to foster an open, accepting, and affirming learning environment for all students.
What is your assessment of how Diversity, Equity and Inclusion is handled in your school district?
I believe our school district is trying to promote positive changes with respect to diversity, equity, and inclusion. I think there is always room for improvement and the key is listening to the voices of those impacted. We need to make space for the voices of our neurodivergent people, people of color, LGBTQ+ people, etc. to be heard.
Do you believe the district needs to make any changes to improve DEI in your district?
As mentioned before, I believe we need to hear from those voices (neurodivergent, LGBTQ+, people of color, etc.). We need to assist in any appropriate changes.
Are teachers in your district paid adequately now and in retirement?
In briefly looking at the salaries of our teachers, I do not believe we are competitve with respect to the surrounding similar areas. I think we should implement at least a yearly comparative analysis to ensure we are appropriately paying our teachers/staff. This will help maintain effective, excellent teachers/staff and promote others to look for employment opportunities within our district.
Would you support changes to teacher pay scales? If so, how?
As mentioned in the previous question, I think we should implement at least a yearly comparative analysis to ensure we are appropriately paying our teachers/staff. This will help maintain effective, excellent teachers/staff and promote others to look for employment opportunities within our district.
What is your assessment of the district superintendent’s compensation?
It appears the superintendent’s compensation is similar to the other superintendennts in similar surrounding districts. But I still believe a comparative analysis should be performed on an annual basis to ensure we have a competitive compensation structure.
Would you make any changes to how the district superintendent is compensated?
As mentioned in the previous question, I believe a comparative analysis should be performed on an annual basis to ensure we have a competitive compensation structure.
Do you support the current superintendent? Please explain.
I support our current superintendent, Dr. Cohen. In my experience, he has the students’ and staffs’ best interests at heart. He is open to communicating with parents and the public to promote positive changes.
Should schools in your district adopt and teach sex education according to the National Sex Education Standards? Please explain.
I think it is key to listen to the parents within the district but also educate those parents. Currently, there is a lot of misinformation regarding the local IL Senate Bill (0818) which essentially addresses the National Sex Education Standards. Before this can be implemented, I do believe concerns and questions need to be addressed. Eventually, school districts may not have the option - and school board members have to follow state and national laws. So it is imperative that these concerns/questions be addressed before then.
What is your assessment of how the COVID-19 pandemic was handled locally?
I think the school district handled the COVID-19 pandemic to the best of their abilities given the science, laws, etc.
What did you learn from the pandemic?
I learned that kindness and understanding is key from the pandemic. As a whole, people should respect each other’s boundaries.
Are voters that support your district taxed at an appropriate level?
My understanding is that Mokena has some of the lowest property taxes in the surrounding areas. School board members do not have the ability to change tax laws at the local level, though.
Would you support any plans to raise taxes in the district? If so, what should the additional revenue be spent on?
School board members do not have the ability to raise local taxes.
Would you support lowering taxes in the district? If so, what programs or services in the district would you cut?
School board members do not have the authority to change local taxes.
Will you accept the voters’ decision in your race on Election Day?
What is your position on open, transparent government?
I am for an open, transparent government.
Do you support the Freedom of Information Act and citizens’ ability to freely access government records?
Yes, I support the Freedom of Information Act and the ability to freely access government records.