As the Tuesday April 4 election approaches, WSPY reached out to local school board candidates for their perspectives on key issues and why they believe they are the best choice for voters. In a series of interviews, candidates shared their visions and priorities for the future of education in the community. Here's what they had to say.

My Name:

Leslie Smogor

School District:


Describe yourself and why you are running for the board of education.

I have been a resident of Yorkville for the past 15 years. My husband and I have two children who are currently enrolled at Yorkville High School, and have spent their entire educational path in Y115 schools.  I have a proven passion for education, as shown through my involvement in 2 Parent/Teacher Organizations, the Yorkville Educational Foundation, my participation in several Y115 District committees, and my volunteer work and financial support for the Y115 school system.  This, combined with my BS in Business Management, give me the experience, skills, and dedication to use this position on the Y115School Board to make a positive impact on the education of our children.

What is the top issue facing the district and how would you address it?

An issue facing many school districts, including our own, is support.  Support for our teachers and staff; trusting their expertise and embracing their input and feedback.  Support for fiscal responsibility, to prepare the infrastructure to accommodate a growing community.  Support for the district to attract and maintain quality educators.  Support for security solutions and crisis plans that will keep our students, teachers, and all staff members safe every day they are in a Y115 building.  Support for our school leaders that will allow them to collaborate in order to make the best possible decisions for our students and meet the changing targets of college and career readiness.  Support for the Dual-Language program, solidifying it as a program that will support and strengthen bilingual learning and find solutions for staffing challenges.  Support for our students in their post-secondary plans, giving students options for any path they wish to follow and giving them the exposure and the tools necessary to make those decisions.  Support that the district will create and maintain an inclusive and equitable learning environment where all students have access to the resources and support they need to thrive.

Are you in favor of banning books from school libraries that you may personally disagree with? Why or why not?

I am not in favor of banning books.  In Yorkville CUSD 115 we have a fantastic team of librarians and Yorkville has made a strong commitment to literacy. 

What can school districts to do to reduce the burden on taxpayers?

Yorkville has done a great job in being fiscally responsible and not over-burdening the tax payers.  They have been very patient with decision making and effectively forecasting for long term solutions.

What should be done to improve school safety?

Safety must be paramount to school districts. Yorkville has taken steps to increasing the levels of security, but there is always room for improvement.  There are large numbers of students who cross high school campuses every day, with too much foot traffic for one person to effectively monitor at each campus.  We need to explore new options on how to ensure every person coming into the building belongs there and to keep our students safe.  One such idea would be for students to not only show IDs by wearing lanyards, but having those IDs scanned by an RFID device upon entering either campus, similar to a ski lift ticket.  This would give the campus monitor information, such as if that person is a current YHS/YHSA student, is the student that possesses the ID its actual owner, does the student have valid off-campus privileges, and perhaps more.  The district also needs to ensure that along with the intruder drills, there is a reunification plan in place and actively practice it.  Safety extends beyond run-hide-fight drills.  It also ensures that our younger students are safe entering and exiting schools, whether on the bus or with parents in the parking lot.  Some elementary schools have mostly adopted better strategies for pairing students and the responsible adult and keeping pedestrians safe.  YIS still has many challenges for cars entering and exiting the school due to their location. 

Is there anything else that voters should know about you?

Did Not Answer