Northwest Herald Campaign Questionnaire
Name: Stephen (Steve) J Fiorentino
Office sought: D300 Board of Education
Occupation: Owner of a Financial Planning practice (franchised through Ameriprise)
Education: BS and PD in Pharmacy from the University of South Carolina
Elected offices held: Board of Education since 2011, Secretary of Board of Eduction (2017)
Social Media: FB: Fiorentino for D300 BOE
1. What is your largest priority for District 300 if elected?
I want to continue our current great course, as we are achieving positive results in several critical areas and have a very strong school system. (Please see our Strategic plan). I was on the search team for our current superintendent, Mr. Fred Heid. We are fortunate to have a strong leader in Mr. Heid and we collaborate very well. He was recently elected as the Kane County Administrator of the year! I will continue to support and drive a culture of innovation within the district, fostering programs such as the Dream Academy, E-Learning Pilot and Duel Language Program just to name a few of our successful and growing initiatives. District 300 offers our high school students several opportunities to earn tuition and free college credit. The ECC Full time Pathways program has worked very well and continues to be supported and grow. Another priority is fiscal responsibility. For several years our district has maintained a surplus. I am very proud of this as many school districts in Illinois cannot maintain fiscal stability, due to our ongoing states financial crisis.
Supporting the recognition for our great staff and students is also very important to me. Examples of this would be Educator Spotlight and “Good News.” I join Mr Heid in placing a great deal of importance on celebrating our great employees and students.
2. What changes should District 300 make in the future?
I would like to see additional AP programs be offered at earlier grades in high school. When I hear of D300 college-bound students going to a major university and feeling they are at a disadvantage compared to other freshman who had more opportunities to earn AP credits or college credit through dual learning programs, I know we need to increase our course offerings. I am also in favor of expanding our duel language offering at the early grade levels. D300 is doing a great job in many areas. All D300 schools received an exemplary or commendable designation by the state. The district has done a great job on career focus with its tremendous financial savings. Also, the amount of programs offered for students who do not want or cannot attend a 4-year university is growing and is one of the most impressive in the area. I am very proud of the opportunities offered to college and non-college students in our district and give the credit to a very creative and forward thinking administration.
3. What direction do you believe that District 300 should head in the future with its property tax levy if enrollment projections hold?
D300 has been very efficient with our resources and I continue to believe we are making fiscally responsible decisions. I believe the district should continue to manage within the CPI based formulas currently in place. As indicated by the state of Illinois Evidence Based Funding model our district continues to drive report one of the lowest cost per pupil among peer district, in Kane and McHenry Counties. We are very fortunate to have a CFO that is a state and national leader, she is committed to working with our Board to maintain fiscal responsibility within the tax levy.
4. How do you feel District 300 should handle transparency with hirings, firings and both teacher and administrator contracts?
I believe the district is completely transparent within the constraints of labor contracts and human resource protection. An individual has privacy rights and the unions negotiate other rights that must be legally adhered to. I believe teacher and administrator contracts are reported, online and readily available at the state website.
5. What makes you stand out compared to the other District 300 candidates?
My diverse leadership and management in both industry and not for profit sectors separates me from most of the other candidates. (Please feel free to see my Linkedin profile for work history). I have background and training in Advocacy/Public affairs, engagement and finance. These skills work well as a school Board Member that needs to collaborate with administration, staff and the community. I have started and was the past Chair of two board level committees: Government affairs and Community Engagement. I currently Chair the Construction Facilities Oversight (CFOC) and sit on the Finance Committee. The CFOC recently developed a “Master Facility Plan.” This comprehensive plan assures protection of our valuable assets.
I have been active and involved in the community and D300 for over two decades. I place high value on public education and this school district and want to continue to serve the educational system.
6. What else should voters know about you?
I have a a passion for public service. My family has served in several disaster relief efforts and mission trips. We served after hurricane Sandy (New Jersey) in November 2012 and the summer of 2010 we traveled to Haiti to assist with a medical mission and help with home building after the devastating earthquake. We will continue to support the Mission of Hope in Haiti and will travel with Samaritan’s Purse when we are called. We have done most of our disaster relief service as a family and find great joy in helping those in need.
I look forward to continuing to serve our community as a member of the District 300 Board of Education and would ask for your support on April 2.