Northwest Herald Campaign Questionnaire
Name: Meghan Tillson
Town: Cary (unincorporated)
Office sought: Community High School District 155 Boardof Education Member
Occupation: Data Analyst & Payroll Specialist
Education: Bachelor of Science in Finance from N.I.U.
Elected offices held: None
1. What is your largest priority for District 155 if elected?
The safety of the students is paramount, and a financially effective and efficient district that upholds transparency is what students and voters can expect from me when elected.
2. What changes should District 155 make in the future?
District 155 should continue to evolve its curriculum to best prepare students for the next stage in their lives. The district should also strive to increase communication with the community and efficiently spend tax dollars so that the students may receive the best education possible.
3. What are your thoughts on how District 155 has adjusted to enrollment changes?
Average daily enrollment has declined by 875.26 students since it peaked in 2009. During that same time period, administration has grown by 25 positions and support staff has grown by 53.14 positions. I applaud the district for reducing its certified teaching staff by 38.21 positions to coincide with the decline in enrollment, but I question the increases in administration and support staff.
4. What direction do you believe that District 155 should head in the future with its property tax levy if enrollment projections hold?
According to the most recent District 155 Comprehensive Annual Financial Report, enrollment is expected to continue to decline until 2024-2025. At which point enrollment is projected to level off at 5,255 students, for a total decrease of 1,879 students since the district’s peak. If enrollment projections hold, I do not advocate increasing the property tax levy.
5. Do you believe that District 155 should consider closing one of its high school buildings in the future?
The decision to close a building requires a comprehensive analysis. The current school board stated that the efficiency study completed in 2017 was flawed. Without a proper analysis, I do not have adequate information to provide a recommendation at this time. I am aware that many community members have expressed their disapproval of closing a high school building and I can assure the community that their concerns have been heard.
6. How do you feel District 155 handled its recent teacher contract negotiation process? How do you feel about the resulting contract?
I feel District 155 was not transparent with the community about the teacher contract negotiation process. The resulting contract exceeds the 3 percent Teachers' Retirement System penalty threshold. These penalties are paid directly out of the district's funds. I believe district funds should be spent for the direct benefit of the students, not to pay penalties. Labor contracts should reflect the current economic climate of the community. All parties should strive to find the balance between fair compensation for employees and fiscal stability within the district.
7. How do you feel that District 155 has handled the disciplinary cases of teachers Matt Fralick, Rick Lima and Justin Hubly?
The priority of District 155 should be the safety of the students. While each of these cases is concerning, the circumstances involving Matt Fralick are most troubling. Due to the serious nature of the accusations against Mr. Fralick, he should not have been allowed to return to the classroom. Rick Lima was laid off with six other teachers. His termination was not due to his guilty plea for misdemeanor theft. Justin Hubly was suspended and then resigned after being arrested for providing alcoholic beverages to his former students and inappropriate contact. We cannot change how these cases were previously handled, but we must ensure that moving forward the students’ safety is paramount.