Why are you running for this position?
The children in our community deserve our best, and there is room for improvement. It is my desire to encourage deliberative problem solving among the board. We need proactive solutions that empower teachers to educate, fosters an attitude of service to parents and their children, while providing financial transparency and accountability to taxpayers.
What are the top three issues you would face during your term?
First, one size does not fit all. We need learning environments that work for the diverse needs and values of teachers, district staff and parents.
Second, we need fiscal accountability and accounting transparency.
Third, we need teachers that are empowered to teach to the best of their ability.
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?
I co-founded a Facebook group, “Citizens of Prior Lake,” to encourage open and respectful communication across the city. If elected to represent the Prior Lake-Savage School District, I will continue to foster respectful discussion and open communication across the school district. I intend to make myself available to the community, and to advocate for the concerns of the individuals of our community.
Do you feel students should be attending the school year virtually, in-person or via the hybrid model as they are?
What I hear from the community is that we need options for both full-time in-person school and distance learning. I will work with teachers to reach solutions amenable to struggling single-parent and two-income households, as well as families that are particularly at risk of pathogens. I would be open to hazard pay or other contingencies that would encourage the voluntary participation of our most valuable resource in education, our teachers.
Should the 2020-2021 school year have been prolonged to further prepare students and families for the academic year?
It would seem that a delayed start to allow teachers to prepare was prudent. I think that the board needs to be open to any solution that meets the needs of teachers and community. I would be open to discussion regarding extending the school year if the prevailing opinion of our teachers felt it was prudent.
Would you have changed anything in regards to the board’s response to COVID-19 and fall education?
Yes, we should have had school plans out much earlier to both teachers and parents. I regret that we did not have an option for full-time school, if even for a limited number of students from struggling families. Not everyone can afford the full-time school provided by private schools.
What changes, if any, would you make to the district budget?
First, we need open-book accounting practices. As it stands, we are unable to ascertain how our money is being spent now. This is unacceptable. In a city full of CFOs, it is downright embarrassing. We need open-book accounting practices and we needed them before we approved the last referendum, which gave the previous board over a hundred million. In spite of the massive infusion of taxpayer cash from the referendum, however, the school district has been laying off teachers. I feel that our teachers should be a greater priority than they have been given.