Susan Handelsman Shares Answers to Woodstock Teachers’ Union Questions

In the comment section under the article about the Woodstock Council of Teachers’  candidates’ night tonight at 6 PM at the Woodstock High School auditorium candidate Susan Handelsman provides the IFT local’s questions and her answers.

They are reprinted below:

Questions sent to candidates by McHenry County Federation of Teachers Local 1642

My answers below.
Susan Handelsman

1. What are your motivations for running?

1. Our community is suffering a property tax rate crisis caused by D200’s irrational spending and borrowing policies over the past decade. Left unchecked, Woodstock’s 4.6% property tax rate is a negative feedback loop which will continue to escalate in severity. Survival instinct is a powerful motivation.

2. Why do you believe that you would be a good school board member?

2. I perform independent research, and evidence-based rather than emotional analyses.

3. What do you believe is the role of a school board member?

3. First determine a budget which is appropriate relative to the means of the community. Next obtain input from administrators tasked with optimization of student education. Perform independent research to validate or refute recommended guidance. Later, evaluate outcomes and change what isn’t working.

4. What do you think is/are the biggest concern(s) facing District 200?

4. Woodstock’s 4.6% property tax rate is conscripting an inordinate percentage of local households’ incomes which could otherwise be saved for a child’s college fund or parents’ financial stability. A lot of fellow humans in our community are one stroke of bad luck away from financial crisis. This district should be very concerned about the next recession (there has not been a decade in recorded economic history without one).
5. What current critical issues do you see impacting District 200?

5. Lakewood TIF represents an enormous economic threat to the taxpayers of D200. The IGA is arguably unenforceable and contains a loser-pays clause making litigation an expensive gamble. Additionally, Woodstock TIF ( taking $700,000/year which must be replaced by property -taxpayers) is seeking a 12 year extension from 2020 and will obtain it unless the D200 Board vigorously objects.

6. What valuable training do you feel that school boards members should have or need?

6. Board members need to understand the Budget and debt for which they cast votes. Statutory Tax rate caps which apply to various Funds, PTELL, and maximum debt limits should be understood before any votes are cast.

7. How do you feel District 200 compares to other districts in the country?

7. National Center for Education Statistics (EDFIN) at has a peer review comparison tool. The comparison indicates that D200 spends significantly more per pupil per year than national peers in almost every spending category.
Illinois School Report Cards indicates D200 students underperform State students on PARCC, DLM. 50% college readiness is better than State 47%, but it is difficult to express pride over 50% college readiness.

8. When are you available to visit schools and classrooms?

8. I will make myself available when it is convenient to the teachers and students. (But not on Wednesdays).


Susan Handelsman Shares Answers to Woodstock Teachers’ Union Questions — 18 Comments

  1. Fact based measure able analytical analysis and guidance….

    You are a gift Susan.

    Your stated desire to cooperate without collaborating is refreshing and needed in government.

    No luck wished because excellence doesn’t desire or need it.

    Should the community truly understand what you propose you will win.

  2. And who is the McHenry County Federation of Teachers Local 1642 endorsing for the upcoming school board election?

    Certainly not someone who wants to reign in spending.

    Teacher unions always want more spending.

    They are always for tax hikes and referendums.

    There is always an education funding crisis.

  3. Have heard VERY negative talk about Susan by current D200 teachers.

    Good Luck, Susan!

    I no longer live in D200, but for years paid the taxes/fees.

    Personally, I feel my
    child was left behind!

  4. Teachers are like any other profession in that some are better than others.

    And, some children or parents might think a certain teacher is wonderful, and other children and parents might have a negative view of the same teacher.

    That’s true of any school district and any school.

  5. Some teachers will vote for Susan, even if the union does not endorse her.

    Just because a teacher is a member of the teacher union does not mean the teacher agrees with every the union does.

    Wonder how many teachers are not member of the union in District 200.

    Meaning those that opt out of joining the union, but are forced by state law to pay a large percentage of the union due amount as agency fees to the union.


  7. Doesn’t this poor lady get it?

    Sky high property taxes are a marvelous way to redistribute income from the productive to the indolent. Her children, if she has any, are the sacrificial lambs for a degenerate system of destruction.

  8. You are on the wrong place for fact checking. This blog is all about propping up candidates that swear allegiance to Cal Skinner.

  9. Feel free to be specific on allegedly false answers.

    Moderate is here because the blog is effective.

    Moderate’s role is to agitate, discredit the blog, bird dog the blog, and promote Jack Franks.

    Candidate x pledges to the allegiance of Cal Skinner…that’s pretty funny.


    It was a good idea by Susan to post her answers to the teacher unions questions regarding her candidacy for the Woodstock District 200 school board.


    Using Moderate’s logic, William Nattress swears allegiance to Cal Skinner.

  10. hah Moderate must be a tax & spend candidate/politician that Cal calls out!

    Great FACTUAL information here Susan.

    Your campaign should be S.O.S. with an upside down flag.

    Save our school!

    (because the current board are filthy tax and spenders along with the city council members and Mayor!!

  11. How many on his blog tried to Stop Ellen Wrezski in 2006 to create a new school?

    0 I was at the event when the voters of the city of Woodstock approved a referendum to create new schools.

    Where was Susan?

    Suing her children in law.

  12. Moderate, you’re assuming that because people were not involved in politics 11 years ago they might as well not get involved now.


  13. Moderate wasn’t posting on the blog as Moderate until a few years ago so what is the real story.

    What’s got Moderate all riled up today.

    Maybe it’s Susan’s answers to the teacher union’s questions.

    Some good information in there.

    Maybe it’s the fact the City of Woodstock is hiking sales taxes while reducing property taxes, resulting in an overall tax hike….Jack Franks Cut 10 program is really a tax hiking scheme?

    Maybe it’s the fact that Oliver Serafini, the Jack Franks patronage hire whom was told by the County Administrator Peter Austin via email that he had the job before submitting his application for the job, apparently totally bypassing HR (the County Administrator signed in slot designated for the HR Director), hasn’t posted on his LinkedIn account that he is actually employed by the County.

    Maybe it’s that Chuck Wheeler, a McHenry County Board member, photographed Oliver Serafini wearing the political campaign logo of his boss Jack Franks while working the McHenry County booth at the McHenry Chamber of Commerce expo on February 25, 2017.

    Or maybe it’s that Mr. Wheeler said that Scott Hartman, the Deputy County Administrator (#2 man in County Administration behind Peter Austin, and the person that labeled Mr. Skinner a Frequent Requester for FOIA purposes) was also at that event representing the County which featured Jack Franks political campaign items at the county booth.

    Maybe he’s still miffed that Jack Franks’ supporter Jeffery Lichte was outed for running as a Republican in the March 15, 2016 63rd District State Representative Republican primary in which Jack Franks ran unopposed as a Democrat.

  14. Northwest Herald

    Woodstock School District 200 Board Candidates Talk School District Future

    March 9, 2017

    by Brittany Keeperman

    “Two incumbents – Bill Nattress and Board President Carl Gilmore – are running along with John Parisi, Susan Handelsman, Barbara Gessert, Suzann Schroeder, Karen Kockler, Jill Ferrarini and Jacob Homuth – who was absent from Wednesday’s forum because of illness.”

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