Mark Grosso knows there are some rough waters ahead for the Geneva School Board, but he's already steering the ship with a calm and steady hand.
Grosso formally was elected Geneva School District 304 board president at a special meeting last week, and this week, the School District begins teacher-contract negotiations that will be key to the district's financial future.
"We're going to try to work with the issues that we have before us," he said simply, when asked about his philosophy as School Board leader. "One of those is our longterm debt. Another issue is our upcoming teacher contract."
The first of those contract meetings is this week, and negotiations will continue "for however long it takes," Grosso said.
Look for the Grosso administration to continue a trend of openness and collaboration with the general public.
"We’re certainly in a tough economic times right now, and I thnk we’ve tried to be open and available to the public at our meetings," he said. "I want to continue and enhance that a little bit so that we have more of two-way dialogue."
Grosso, who had served as vice president, took over as interim School Board president after Tim Moran stepped down at the board meeting on Jan. 23. After chest pains sent Moran to the hospital, and with an increased workload at Schmidt, Salzman and Moran Ltd., Moran decided he needed to pull back some of this duties.
The board officially selected Grosso to fill the term through 2013, and chose Kelly Nowak as vice president.
Grosso is the third School Board president for District 304 in the past year. Mary Stith declined to seek the position after serving as president from 2007 to 2011.
The Grossos have two children and three grandchildren. Both children attended Geneva schools, their daughter graduating in 1998 and son in 1997.
Mark is retired, a 38-year employee of the the Chicago & NorthWestern and later Union Pacific Railroad.
In addition to the issues of a shrinking tax base, long-term debt and upcoming Teacher's Union negotiations, Grosso said an important upcoming decision is what to do with surplus properties, particularly the Coultrap facility and 27 acres of land on Brundige Road.
"I'm going to try to do a good job and take things as they come," he said. "And the issues—we have to deal with them."