Robi Vollkommer – 2021 District 211 Board of Education Election Candidate Questionnaire


Photo courtesy of Robi Vollkommer

Gabe Classon and Maya Nayak

The Viking Logue sent out a questionnaire to all nine candidates in the District 211 Board of Education race. Below is candidate Robi Vollkommer’s unabridged response. See here for The Logue‘s full coverage of the April 6 election, including other candidates’ responses to the questionnaire.


BIOGRAPHY: Tell us about yourself. What qualities, experiences, and skills make you a good choice for the Board?

I grew up in Hanover Park and I am a Hoffman Estates High School alumna. I hold a bachelor degree in Sociology and minor in Japanese from Illinois State University. After graduating college, I spent two years living and studying in Japan. I have resided in Schaumburg for the past 15 years along with my husband and three children who have gone through District 54 and D211. Two children are currently in D211.

Since 2013 I have worked as a Bilingual Recruiter at a Japanese staffing agency in Schaumburg.

My commitment to volunteering and fostering positive change has included being a commissioner of the Village of Schaumburg Sister Cities and being part of the Welcome Committee for diplomats and students from Japan and Germany. I also lead two trips to Japan with local students via my Non-For-Profit organization that I started back in 2008, Schaumburg Oyanokai. Schaumburg Oyanokai also sponsors an annual Japanese Culture Night at Dooley Elementary School in Schaumburg, home to the Japanese Dual Language Program. This largely attended community event allows for Japanese cultural learning beyond the classroom. This event has grown over the years and has included attendees like the Mayor of Schaumburg, the Japanese Consulate General, and D54 and D211 administration and board members.

I also worked successfully with D211 administration to offer Japanese language classes for students at all five high schools after seeing a need for students to have a continuum of their Japanese language studies in high school.

Some of my current volunteer commitments are Co-President of the Schaumburg HS Booster Club, Director of Schaumburg Oyanokai, and a Village of Schaumburg Sister City Commissioner.

These experiences have allowed me to gain valuable knowledge of the needs of the community.

MOTIVATIONS: Why did you decide to run for the Board of Education? What would be your top priorities if elected?

I am running for the BOE to try to bring back a focus on academics and to reduce costs wherever possible. I have served as an advocate for students and families for years, and those in the community who have worked with me know this. The BOE position would allow me to continue what I have been doing all along.

Some of my accomplishments are:

*I worked succesfully with D211 administration to offer Japanese language classes for students at all five high schools after seeing a need for students to have a continuum of their Japanese language studies in high school.
*I am a strong advocate for academics and persuaded SHS to update their Academic Scholar Wall after 7 years of neglect.
*I persuaded SHS to offer a field trip for orchestra and choir students when only a band field trip existed.
*I persuaded SHS to get a certificated teacher to offer AP World History after noticing this course was offered at other D211 schools.

There is still work that needs to be done however, and I am hoping I am able to continue to advocate for students and families at the next level.


How can the district support the mental health, physical well-being, and academic achievement of students during the pandemic? How should the district approach reopening?

The timing of this question is a little late since we are already in mid-March.

I firmly believe we could have reopened the schools with full-day in-person learning awhile ago. There are several school districts like D304 that have been providing an in-person learning option for students from the beginning of the pandemic. Districts D214 and D220 will now be going back to in-person and full days after spring break. D304 has also provided two independent teaching staffs, one for remote learners and one for in-person students.

I feel the district could have looked at other school districts, both in-state and out-of-state as guidelines for reopening or explored additional options by thinking outside the box.


STUDENT CONCERNS OVER EQUITY: Over the past year, district students have addressed the Board over racial equity and sexual violence concerns. Please describe how you would approach these issues if elected.

The candidate did not respond to this question.

TRANSGENDER STUDENT LOCKER ROOM ACCESS: After five years of vocal community input from both sides of the issue, the district in January 2020 implemented a policy to allow transgender students unrestricted use of the locker room corresponding to their gender identity. What approach should the district take toward transgender student locker room access?

The candidate did not respond to this question.

Fiscal Policy

PROPERTY TAXES: Striking the right balance between minimizing the tax burden on district residents and ensuring the future financial security of the district is challenging, especially during these economically uncertain times. What is your stance on abating or rebating a portion of the district’s property tax levy?

I feel with more than a $30 million dollar surplus that we have to look at abating or rebating as an option. Letting that money just sit just doesn’t seem to be in the best interest of the community or tax payers.

EXPENDITURES: In which areas should the district focus its spending? Are there areas where spending should be cut?

I think there is always room for improvement and we should always analyze where the district can be more cost effective. As a school district, we should be investing in academics as much as possible.

I don’t have an opinion at this time about where spending should be cut, but I do think we should invest more into our high academic achievers.

Role of the Board

COMMUNICATION WITH THE COMMUNITY: Recent months have shown increased community interest in Board proceedings. How should the district communicate with the community? How should the community be able to communicate with the district?

I think there should be a forum where the BOE could communicate with the community in a setting where a back-n-forth dialogue could ensue. Something like a “Coffee with the BOE”. Obviously, this would only occur while maintaining the Open Meetings Act guidelines.

COOPERATION WITH OTHER BOARD MEMBERS: While the vast majority of Board resolutions are passed unanimously, many important votes have come down to a 5–2 split. Additionally, some have raised concerns over the introduction of divisive politics into local elections. Please comment on how you would work with other Board members if elected.

I have already been working with board members both past and present. I especially worked with board members when I was advocating for a Japanese class option at all five high schools. We may not always agree, but I am very open to respectful dialogue and listening to other’s points-of-view.

Final Thoughts

OTHER ISSUES: You may feel strongly about an issue for which we did not ask a question. If this is the case, please take the opportunity to share your thoughts on that issue here.

There are a few.

I don’t agree with this NON-PARTISAN Board Of Education election being treated as a partisan election with some candidates getting political endorsements. I also feel it’s a conflict of interest when candidates receive a Teacher’s Union endorsement.

There seems to be a huge inequity between all the schools regarding academics.

1) There are course offerings at some of the high schools and not others. When my oldest was a freshman at SHS, she wanted to take AP World History, but it wasn’t offered. However, it was offered at other D211 high schools like Fremd and Conant.

2) There is a huge emphasis on athletics over academics within the school district and academic achievements are not given their rightly deserved recognition. I had to pursuade SHS to update their Academic Scholar Wall after 7 years of neglect and Hoffman Estates doesn’t even have one.

A POSITIVE NOTE: It’s been a rough year, so let’s end this on a positive note. What is your favorite thing about District 211?

The amount of Honors or A/P course offerings. My daughter competed in a state-wide academic competition last year and there were a lot of contestants that went to schools where there wasn’t a single Honors or A/P course offering.