What makes you the best candidate for the USD 353 Board of Education?
I have always had an interest in education and served on the Catholic School Board while City Engineer in Liberal, KS from 1985 – 1990. I served on the Kennedy School Site Council from 2004 to 2006. My son graduated from WHS in 1998 and my daughter in 1999 and we have three grandchildren at Eisenhower. I have always maintained an excellent relationship with USD #353 personnel through my years as the Wellington City Engineer. I worked on many school projects – including the 2002 bond issue projects and the "Safe Routes to School Project", which will add needed sidewalks in the vicinity of the four elementary schools and the Middle School. I feel that my extensive background in municipal engineering and the fact that my family has lived and attended schools in other cities (Liberty, MO, Liberal, KS and Salina, KS) gives me a good background for this position. I am familiar with budgets and working with state and federal regulations.
ONLINE BONUS question: What are some specific, local education issues you'd like to see addressed if elected?
I would like to see the following issues addressed:
1. Salaries – There needs to be an increase in the base salary for starting teachers. The School District is losing out on good teachers because of low starting pay.
2. Improved technology - It's easy to fall behind in technology and I believe the school district has slipped behind in this area in recent years.
3. Preparing students for college or for employment – The new "College and Career Readiness Standards", which are coming in 2014, is definitely a step in the right direction. I would like to see an internship-type program for high school students to learn job skills at local industries like TECT and Stellex.
4. Safe Rooms - The new High School has a safe room for adverse weather that will accommodate the entire building, but the elementary schools are still hiding under heavy tables and hoping for the best. All of the elementary schools need safe rooms.
5. Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) - All school buildings must meet ADA standards. Lack of funding is no longer an acceptable excuse – there must be continual progress. The ADA compliance deadlines are all in the past and the District is at financial risk if out of compliance.
6. Security - Each elementary school needs to be reconfigured to control the entrances and exits for greater security. Access needs to be controlled with cameras and a buzzer system. Sad to say, but the days of the front doors of the schools being unlocked during all the school hours are gone.
7. Strategic Planning - The school district needs to go through a strategic planning process and prioritize their capital improvement plans. You need to know where you're going, set goals and continually make progress.