I was told to keep answers less than 200 words.
What are the most important issues facing your district and how do you intend to address them?
The communication with the community needs to improve. This includes parents, but also those who do not have children in the district that still support our schools financially. If they feel their voices are not heard, they may move and be replaced with families with children putting more strain on our schools. Special Education is being addressed but needs supervision as it goes through a time of much needed improvement. Poor communication was the main culprit there, and I share my ideas to improve Special Education and Communication with the community on my website. We need to work closely with City Council to ensure we are developing our community in a responsible way. We cannot add to an overpopulation issue, which ultimately lowers the quality of our schools and negatively effects our property values. We are replacing our Superintendent as well as four principals, we need to evaluate how we hire these positions, and look for people who will commit to the district. This board must maintain its integrity of being filled with reasonable, open-minded, well-rounded, individuals which will make decisions that are in the best interest of the community, not them personally. There is no place for politics here.
How satisfied are you that your school district is adequately preparing students for the next stage in their lives, whether it be from elementary into high school or high school into college or full-time employment? What changes, if any, do you think need to be made?
We need to spend more time on the hard sciences, history, literature, and civics in our curriculum. This is the primary job of the school and should be supported at home secondarily. When it comes to items like behavior and emotional health, this needs to be primarily addressed at home, and supported secondarily in the schools. We must get these in the right balance to properly prepare our young ones to be productive members of society. We can foster this by improving communication between the school and the parent, empowering them to support in the academic lane, and lead in the emotional health and behavioral lane. This is an elementary school board, I have ideas for what we can do in the high schools, but here we are working to ensure they gain a healthy thirst for knowledge, and appreciation for education. That way, when they get into the high school, where the content is more robust, they will be eager to learn and excel. We need to develop great thinkers in our district, children who seek knowledge and ask questions, not seek answers from google. We need to teach them how to think, not what to think.
What budgetary issues will your district have to confront during the next four years and what measures do you support to address them? If you believe cuts are necessary, be specific about programs and expenses that should be considered for reduction or elimination. On the income side, do you support any tax increases? Be specific.
I think we pay enough in taxes, in my personal life I focus more on how I spend money than what I make. Before any levies are considered, we need to demand we are doing all we can with the treasure of resources we already have. We need to look at our teachers’ and administrators’ compensation compared to other peer districts. We have ageing infrastructure in our district, so building maintenance is and will continue to be a big item where we can look for savings. I believe if the board had a better understanding of construction, we could make our dollars go further here. I am the son of a carpenter and have always had an appreciation for construction. We have construction expertise in our community, they may not be willing to commit to serving a board, but a subcommittee where we can rely on their knowledge to help us make wise decisions would be great. I see us much too often hiring a consultant or an attorney at several thousands of dollars to tell us something. We need to spend more time asking our community, at zero dollars what they think and what their desires are.
Are you currently employed by or retired from a school district, if so, which one? Is any member of your direct family — spouse, child or child-in-law — employed by the school district where you are seeking a school board seat?
As contract talks come up with various school employee groups — teachers, support staff, etc. — what posture should the school board take? Do you believe the district should ask for concessions from its employees, expect employee costs to stay about the same as they are now or provide increases in pay or benefits?
We need to make all negotiations with the teachers’ union public, so the public can understand how their money is being spent. I have always said that we should reward high performing teachers, but we cannot make a policy of rewarding all teachers. When we do that, we devalue the hard work of the productive teachers, and in no way encourage good results. If we set up our contract appropriately, we will attract and maintain the best talent in the area and even go so far as to discourage those underperforming teachers from wanting to teach here. If anyone has a problem with that posture, we should seriously evaluate if we want them in our schools anyway. Unless we recognize an improvement in the schools, we should not be considering an overall pay increase. I do not want to rate the teachers strictly on test scores, we as parents need to make sure we are sending in our students well fueled, rested, and limit their exposure to technology. We also need to hold our administrators more accountable, to relay a truthful message of what is going on in the classroom and give our teachers the tools they need to perform.
If your district had a superintendent or other administrator nearing retirement, would you support a substantial increase in his or her pay to help boost pension benefits? Why or why not?
No, we do not encourage this practice ever in the private sector because it does not increase performance. The sole purpose of this practice is to improve an individual’s retirement, not the well-being of the students’ education or the taxpayer.