Orland School District 135 Board of Education Member Linda Peckham-Dodge brings a unique set of life experience and qualifications to her position. Linda is a District 135 mom, very involved in the parent groups in her child’s schools, including being president for several years. She has also been involved in the district committees, serving on both the Finance and Technology Committees.
Linda has extensive business experience, serving as chief-of-staff for a S&P 500 professional services company where she oversaw more than 600 employees and a budget in excess of $500 million.
“I am a strong believer that a great education matters to people throughout their lives and I enjoy public service,” Linda Peckham-Dodge said. “Participating as a school board member for Orland 135 is my way of giving back to our community. I am currently encouraging people to participate in newly established D135 committees. We need our stakeholders’ voices to be heard.”
Since being elected in 2017, Peckham-Dodge has utilized her skills on the Finance and Personnel Committees to implement cost savings of more than $1 million per year by combining positions, eliminating district office positions, condensing activity buses and decentralizing registration. “I will continue to press for more savings and cost efficiencies,” Linda said. “Every taxpayer should know that Orland School District 135 will likely receive no new money from the state. We are on our own to fund a quality education for our kids which supports property values, while keeping property taxes as low as possible.”
Linda outlined the three most pressing issues facing Orland School District 135:
#1 Finances, both short term and long term. In the short term, the district is running at a deficit, drawing down reserves in part because the state owes us $6M dollars, and we owe money primarily abated back to commercial property owners due to incorrect assessments. “We recently voted to restore services that staff recommended we cut, I will push for ways to reduce our spending that do not impact the classroom, and I will push to rationalize our fund balance policy to a more sustainable level. Our long-term financial plan has to be revised, with more community input, to reflect the realities we face.”
#2. Community involvement. “In my two years on the board, it’s very clear to me all the stakeholders in our district need to more aware of and involved in our decision processes. The first step is to implement a committee to look at scheduling and class offerings in the middle schools. This should be comprised of community members, teachers, administrators and board members. Second, shortly after the new board is sworn in, we need to install community/staff committees to operate in conjunction with our board committees. We need to be more transparent as a board and district. I’ll push to make documents easier to find on the website and over-communicate meeting dates and information on sensitive issues.”
#3. The state. There is a never-ending stream of mandates coming out of Springfield and of course, no funding for those mandates. This needs to stop. We need to quantify the cost of every mandate to understand the impact on our kids and our property tax bills and share this with the people making the laws. That means direct involvement with talking to the legislators, including taking part in sessions offered by the IASB (Illinois Association of School Boards).
Voters can secure more information about Linda Peckham-Dodge at her Facebook page, Linda for Orland School District 135. Early voting begins on Monday, March 18th at the Orland Township Hall, 14807 Ravinia Drive in Orland Park, Election Day is Tuesday, April 2nd.