Why are you running for this position?
I am running for school board to help bring transparency, accountability and ethical responsibility to how tax dollars are spent, and to ensure the priorities of the schools represent the students, families and taxpayers of the district.
What are the top three issues you would face during your term?
Transparency — board and district communication needs to be clear and responsive to the community.
Responsible spending — accountability needs to start now. No-bid contracts and frivolous spending have damaged the trust in our community. We need a board that will be responsible with taxpayer dollars.
Return the main focus of school to the original intent of reading, writing, math, science and history. Test scores in reading and math have declined steadily over the past few years. This trend must be reversed. A return to focus on the core purpose of education — preparing our students for the future — is needed right away.
I would lobby to get Christmas and Halloween parties back in all Prior Lake schools.
Have you been charged in the past year, or ever been convicted, of a misdemeanor or higher, or been involved in a personal or business bankruptcy or foreclosure?
As a board member, how would you foster communication with teachers and parents?
It is vital our district deliver on openness and transparency to both teachers and parents within Prior Lake and Savage. I would push for more accessibility to board study sessions, meetings and other communication.
Do you feel students should be attending the school year virtually, in-person or via the hybrid model as they are?
All students should attend in-person five days a week. Students suffered this past spring by being thrown into distance learning. For both their mental and educational health they need to be in a productive classroom.
Should the 2020-2021 school year have been prolonged to further prepare students and families for the academic year?
No, it should have started on Sept. 8, in-person, five days a week along with all school-related activities.
Would you have changed anything in regards to the board’s response to COVID-19 and fall education?
The board should have directed the superintendent to begin fall preparations much earlier, just as other Minnesota districts have done, with earlier updates given to the board and parents. Local control is paramount, and for the superintendent to have waited for the governor’s direction is unacceptable. This placed undue strife on both families and district staff.
What changes, if any, would you make to the district budget?
I would examine spending and work to eliminate wasteful spending on consultants that do not directly impact the learning of the core subjects. I would start with the elimination of $700k spent annually on the equity consultant Dr. Sharroky Hollie. We entrust in our teachers to deliver a good education. I will examine every avenue to get our district out of the current $3.2 million deficit.