Why are you running for the Burnsville-Eagan-Savage Board of Education?
Our public education system is one of those societal, foundational blocks that is in place to serve all students and provide these students with the tools and opportunities to be successful. As an experienced board member, I am able to call on that experience when muddling through seemingly never-ending statutes and policies to land with decisions that will benefit our students the most. I enjoy the interactions at all levels but, quite frankly, interacting with and seeing our students excel is what being a board member is all about. I have been fortunate to have met many families and staff members who care so deeply about our schools. I always will have the students’ best interests at heart.
What skills and qualities would you bring to the school board if elected?
I am finishing my second term on the board, during which I have served in many roles — clerk, vice-chair and currently chairman. I have also served on many committee assignments. In the community, I am actively involved with the Burnsville Athletic Club as their Treasurer and have coached and officiated for over 18 years in various programs. I have previously served on the district math curriculum committees and school parent-teacher organizations and as scout leader and a member of my church’s finance committee. I have a bachelor’s degree in computer science and a master’s in business administration with a finance concentration, both from the University of Minnesota.
What is your philosophy when it comes to budgeting?
Budgeting is one of the most important functions of the school board. They are responsible for setting the parameters which dictate the budget and then ultimately approving it.
Setting the parameters has many aspects, such as understanding the current and projected revenues and expenses and creating the board priorities, such as class size and instructional programming.
When setting the budget parameters, it is important for me to not only understand the details of the numbers, but, more importantly, it is critical to understand the priorities of all our stakeholders.
What do you believe has caused the declining enrollment the district has experienced for the past decade?
The board needs to address the ongoing challenges with declining enrollment, regardless of whether the rationale for leaving the district is real or perceived. We need to look beyond the impact of private, charter and homeschooling students leaving the district. While that is certainly a factor, we need to better understand why many of our students are open-enrolling in other districts. We need to identify the various root causes, such as missing learning opportunities, security concerns, disciplinary concerns — and likely the list will go on. It is important that we understand and discuss the reasons openly.