Candidate Name: Rajesh Narayan
Office Seeking: School District 204 School Board
Campaign Website: rajeshfor204.com
Subdivision/Neighborhood: Ashwood Park
Closest School: Peterson Elementary School, Scullen
Occupation and/or Professional Training: Entrepreneur, Runs an IT consulting company
How long in years have you been a Naperville resident? 14 years
Service on Boards, Commissions, Task Forces, etc. with dates served (nonprofit too):
Board Member at FIA(Federation of Indian Association) – 2015-current, Vice President at IACA(Indian American Cultural Association) – 2018-present
The following answers have only been edited for formatting purposes.
1. Why are you running to serve the board of education?
I have been living in Naperville for 14 years. My daughter was born here. She went to Peterson Elementary School and now goes to Scullen. She is the inspiration that I am running to serve the Board.
2. What is the school district’s most pressing need?
The most immediate need of the district is to open the school with adequate safety measures. Our Kids are getting sub-optimal education and it has had profound effects on their mental and physical health. It has also led to much hardship on Parents.
3. What are your thoughts on the school district’s programs dedicated toward special education students, English Language Learners (ELL), students in the middle and gifted students?
I wholeheartedly support it. I would make sure that these programs are adequately funded.
4. Name three District 204 policies that need review or immediate attention.
- School reopening
- High density residential constructions have been approved that will increase the student population but won’t add sufficient property tax revenue to the district. Those constructions are under TIF (Tax Increment Financing) and they will be exempt from Property taxes for a few years. In the coming years, District’s budget will get stretched and it will impact the quality of education. This future issue needs to be tackled now.
- There should be increased efficiency and transparency of the district’s budget.
5. How often are you in touch with members of the current School Board? And do you attend/watch school board meetings live or after they’re saved in the archive?
I often attend Board meetings on Zoom and if I can’t, I see the recorded meetings on Youtube. That helps me know the issues that the district is facing.
6. What up-and-coming City of Naperville/City of Aurora development will impact School District 204 funding the most? As a board member, where would you look to make budget adjustments?
The upcoming Apartment buildings at Sears location in Fox Valley Mall and CityGate West development are high density residential developments that will not contribute enough in property taxes. It’s a concern because it will stretch the District’s budget in the coming years and will impact quality of education. City Administration should think about additional financing for the School Board 204 when they approve high density residential development.
7. In a public relations role, how would you orientate a new family to the school district?
I would advise a new resident to ask their local friends and neighbors to know more about the school district. I will also encourage them to meet the Principal of the school where their kids may go.
8. Consider K-12 core curriculum to include English (reading, language arts writing), science, technology, engineering, mathematics, arts (STEAM), foreign languages, computer science, civics/government/current events, economics, history, geography, physical education/health and social-emotional learning standards. If the school district were forced to eliminate a subject in order to add a new one, what would you eliminate? Any thought of what you would add at what grade level? What’s the parents’ role in monitoring curriculum changes and choices?
Each one of those subjects are important. It will be a very hard decision to eliminate any of those. Parents should have an active role and their feedback should be emphatically considered in monitoring curriculum changes and choices.
9. Research reveals that high self-esteem and student achievement are closely related to positive parental involvement in school. Considering growing interest in school choice, home-schooling and private schools, what are your thoughts on school vouchers?
America is a country of the Free. Parents should have a choice in school. Parents pay taxes for education and should be able to use those tax dollars to educate their children however and at whichever school they want. When schools compete for students, it improves education standards. School vouchers enable Parents, irrespective of their color and income levels, to choose the best schools for their kids and away from failing schools. School vouchers allow school districts to overcome racial and other segregations.
I understand there is a vocal opposition to the vouchers system by vested interests. I am of the belief that the School System exists for the Kids and the primary goal of the schools is to work in the best interest of our Kids, their future and our country’s future. Our Kids, regardless of their race, color and income levels, deserve absolutely the best education we can provide.
10. When was the last time you read the U.S. Constitution and Bill of Rights?
I have read the US constitution. It was a long time ago.
11. Have you received any donations or endorsements from any organized group(s)? If so, which groups?
My campaign is self-financed. I am not beholden to any special interest groups.
12. Name the school teacher who most influenced you. Please include grade, school, city and state. (Parents/family are not eligible.)
The teacher that inspired me the most was my 8th grade Biology teacher. He taught me (and us) to question everything and stand up for our beliefs.
Anything else you’d like to add?