Terry Finnegan

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Below are candidate-submitted answers to a biographical survey Wednesday Journal sent out to all candidates running in this year's elections.

Age: 56

Profession: Medicare Insurance

Years in Oak Park or River Forest: 20

Are you an OPRF graduate? No

Do you have children who have, are or will be attending OPRF? What are their ages? 4 boys grad in 2005, 2007,2007, 2009

Why are you running for this office?

Current Board Pres – it would seem particularly irresponsible to the District for the sitting President not to run again

Have you ever run for or served in a local political office before? If so, when and which office? Only the D200 Board in 2009.

Are there individuals or groups which actively encouraged your interest in running for the D200 board? 4 years ago, yes.

What do you consider to be the greatest strengths of Oak Park and River Forest High School?

OPRFHS has to be a, if not the, crown jewel of the community.

What are your strongest concerns about the school at this time?

Completing and implementing the Strategic Vision and developing better means for ongoing communication to the communities at large, with ongoing emphasis on school-age families

How many District 200 school board meetings have you attended in the past two years? Way too many! Just like you Terry [Dean]!

What is your opinion of the Strategic Planning Process currently underway?

It is important that this effort be extremely broad-based and has little direction or even input from the Board. Generally, the Board stance, and my view as President, is that this effort and document, be our long-term guiding vision, interpreted and implemented on the medium term by the Board, which delegates programmatic decisions and day to day operations to the Superintendent and his administrative team to be carried out in partnership with faculty, staff, students and families.

Is the current financial reserve held by the school district a reasonable amount or too much?

That is the discussion we as a community need to have. Generally, a COLA-esque increase yearly, as just passed w/o a single objection at D97, through the levy process is much preferred to a 10-25% jump that most referendums will cause. Large increases are that much harder for residents to budget. I do feel that the excellent financial stewardship displayed by D200 is not understood or appreciated; the fact that we have aggressively reduced long-term debt, a very different approach from some other local taxing bodies, has positive short and longer term impacts.

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Faith from RF  

Posted: January 24th, 2013 1:40 PM

Liz, you make it sound as if a referendum is a given. It is not. There is no reason why a school district cannot live within its means and make the cuts necessary to continue on what it has. I do this with my family budget; I have not had a raise in nearly 4 years (a net loss). Mr. Finnegan is not acting in the interests of the majority of OPers and RFers and needs to go away.

liz from oak park  

Posted: January 24th, 2013 1:26 PM

Terry Finnegan is a smart caring leader who works to balance the needs of the kids with the needs of the community. He deserves our vote. The CFO of D200 has worked to drive out costs & make money from tax payers go as far as possible. The need to plan from referendum to referendum means that at some point the reserve will be higher, but it gets spent down.

Jim from Oak Park  

Posted: January 23rd, 2013 1:02 PM

Finnegan is a politician. Examine what he does, not what he says. He says: 'ongoing communication to the communities at large." Yet, the levy rise was a arrogant, closed-door process. It allowed no community input into what is an appropriate reserve. Just grab as much as possible. "The levy process is much preferred to a 10-25% jump," he says. If he heard the community, he would know the most preferred solution is no increase (like District 90), and then give us a say-so in the right reserve.

Tom from River Forest  

Posted: January 23rd, 2013 11:03 AM

So we tax payers are just too dumb to understand how taking way too much money each year via the tax levy is sound financial management? Gotcha.


Posted: January 23rd, 2013 10:43 AM

Not voting for you, Mr. Tax and Spend.

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