Cynthia Ashford Hollis

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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 District 97 school board election. 

Age: 51

Previous political experience: None

Previous community experience: 

PTO President 2015 - Current
PTO Council Vice President 2014
Hatch PTO President 2012-2014
OPEF Link for Hatch  2012
Girl Scout Leader Hatch 2010 - 2016

Occupation: Attorney


Oak Park and River Forest High School - Diploma 1983
University ofIllinois at Chicago-BA
Thurgood Marshall School ofLaw-Juris Doctorate 1991

How would you define the role/functions ofa D97 school board member?

To make policy and procedure that bring the district to common goals and ensure quality education for our students. Ensure sufficient funding is available to teachers and students to secure a proper education. Address and resolve issues by providing accurate and timely information to all parties ofinterest. Negotiate teacher's contracts, monitor and adjust all sources offunding to fulfil operational needs. 

As a board member, you may be asked to make decision relating to Tax Increment Financing (TIF) districts. What is your understanding of TIF districts? What are your thoughts about their impact on school districts?

Self-financing by the local government for revitalizing the community and other economic developments. These incentives are intended for specific use and should not be diverted from the intended purpose. I believe TIFs are good for the district if it frees up district money allocated for facilities improvement because then they are able to put that money toward services and programs in the schools. 

IfD97's impending referendum were held today, would you vote for or against it? Explain your vote. 

I would vote for the referendum. Illinois schools rely on truces and state funding to educate their children. I grew up in Oak Park and my parents knew the value of a good education and were willing to pay the truces in Oak Park so we could get the education we needed to be successful in corporate America. My husband and I started our son out in the Chicago school system but we knew very quickly that our children would get a better education without dealing with an enrollment lottery, if we moved back to Oak Park and pay the truces. Many people come to this community for the schools, as is evident in the recent surge to the 6,000 mark the district has achieved for enrollment. Lastly, with the devastation and crippling effects the state budget has had on many, especially the money owed to schools and no indication of a current payment, let alone back pay. My husband and I have made sacrifices and are willing to make more for our children's education. Even if we get some state funding a vote for the referendum is necessary to maintain and improve on what we currently enjoy in our school system. 

Do you think that D97 has an equity problem? How do you define equity? Do you believe that the district is currently utilizing its resources effectively enough to address the long­ standing issue of equity?

Yes, equity is lack of inclusivity of the benefits that the majority enjoys. Yes, I believe the district is using its resources to address this issue by opening conversations about the issue through its community building vision quest, community vision statement and now focusing on the :financing to make sure the essential elements will be available to address this issue. 

Are you satisfied or dissatisfied with the current performance of D97 Supt. Carol Kelley? Explain your sentiment.

I am very satisfied. I appreciate her efforts to communicate with the community and the parents. Getting involved with establishing a vision that is inclusive and bringing the issue to open discussions. I like that she is visible and how she involves all who want to be involved in the planning and execution of the plan.

Explain your views on the relative advantage of assessments and using them to measure proficiency or growth.

I think the assessments are useful in measuring the proficiency of a child. Teaches can take the data and provide resources to further the child's understanding or move them on to the next level of learning.


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