December 06, 2023


Tess Reinhard, McHenry County College District 528 election questionnaire

McHenry County College District 528 Board of Trustees candidate Tess Reinhard

Full Name: Tess Reinhard

What office are you seeking? 2-year Unexpired Term for McHenry County Trustee

What is your political party? Democrat

What is your current age? 73

Occupation and Employer: Retired

What offices, if any, have you previously held? None

City: Crystal Lake

Campaign Website:

Education: Doctoral Degree in Adult and Continuing Education at Northern Illinois University

Masters’s Degree at Northern Illinois University

Bachelors Degree at University of Wisconsin, Madison, Wisconsin

Community involvement: Six years as a Board Member for Home of the Sparrow based in McHenry, IL

Grass-roots efforts for Democratic Party

Election Judge for McHenry County

Dole Mansion Service as needed

Marital status/Immediate family: Divorced. Three children, two living in McHenry County. Seven grandchildren.

Why are you running for office?

I seek to utilize my extensive background from both the educational and managerial ranks to make a difference in our community.

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

26 years combined experience at Motorola and CDW

9 years of teaching background

Doctoral degree in Adult and Continuing Education from NIU

Served on two not-for-profit boards

Managed up to a $12M budget for training and education

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

Not at the present time, but, if elected, I plan to utilize the programs from ISBE. (Illinois School Board Education.)

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

No. I am going to rely on experts from the faculty and the curriculum directors. I believe that those who have studied a field, whether in medicine, engineering, or education, are the most knowledgeable to make sound decisions based on research.

Are LGBTQ students treated fairly in your district?

I assume they are. I have not seen evidence to the contrary.

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

I think it is being handled in an egalitarian manner. Having worked in a corporate setting for the last 26 years I have seen diversity, equity, and inclusion practices addressed in a systemic manner through effective hiring, developing, retaining, and engaging employees. I believe MCC is utilizing best practices known in the field.

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

No. There are so many aspects of education to be addressed. I don’t know why only one topic is front and center.

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

Finding and paying for the right talent will continue to be an issue for the district. MCC is a highly affordable resource in McHenry County. In fact, of 33 community colleges in Illinois, there are only five districts in the state charging less tuition. For a collar county of Chicago, that is extraordinary! It is a testimonial to the Board, the President, and his staff, and to the teachers and adjunct faculty, we have retained.

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

I need to learn more about it in order to make an informed decision.

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

Again, if elected, I would want to have comparable data in order to make an informed decision.

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

Not at the present time.

Do you support the current superintendent? Please explain.

Yes. I believe MCC has been run very effectively, in spite of the pandemic, and huge pressures on retaining and engaging talent, and recruiting students.

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

I appreciate a national standard that is based on research and experts in the field.

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

What a difficult time it was for the community! There was so much to learn, and so much disinformation. On the whole, I think it was handled well locally. Through the lens of the present, it appears that we could have eased restrictions earlier, especially once we had a game-changing vaccine.

What did you learn from the pandemic?

I appreciated that we used local data based on the county’s hospital records to make decisions. I believe we demonstrated concern for those with compromised health and for the elderly, and I am proud of my fellow citizens for that. I am also grateful that the economy bounced back so well due to the bipartisan funds that were granted from the federal government.

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

We definitely have to address taxes in Illinois, not this year, but every year. At the same time, any blanket decisions targeting education are in my view misguided. Our schools need to be properly funded, top teachers need to be retained, and our students need to have fair tuition. Good government requires good candidates to make egalitarian decisions related to taxes that are based on facts and common sense.

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

I believe anyone who is on a Board of Education must be fiscally responsible. Answers to questions related to both taxes and revenue must depend on demographical data, the required need, input from a wide variety of stakeholders, and thoughtful debate. If I am elected, I would want to see the data, the alternatives, and the testimonial from the educators, the business community, and my fellow Board members to make sound decisions.

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

At this time, I am not in support of lowering taxes.

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

Yes. I have been an election judge for the last two years and was mightily impressed with the due diligence of our county clerk’s office to ensure election integrity. The double-checking of signatures, the care with which the security of the ballot is managed, the attention to detail the judges exemplify, and the training for judges themselves should make everyone feel good about how our elections are handled.

What is your position on open, transparent government?

Government is for the good of the people so of course it should be open and transparent.

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


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