Toni Conner

Address: Candidate did not provide.

Age: Candidate did not provide.

Family: Candidate did not provide.

Employment: Candidate did not provide.

Education: College Graduate

Hobbies/Interests: Bowling, dancing, documentaries, movies, travel.

Previous experience that would be helpful in this position: About 12 years of experience with employment in the public school system and continuing education classes. I have worked as a special education para professional, in the EBD department. (Emotional & Behavioral Development), as an educational assistant, and an AVID program tutor, this past school year. When my children were young, I was a state licensed childcare provider, and in recent years, a licensed foster care provider.

Contact information: Connertoni@ymail.com Why are you running for this position?

I am running for a seat on the District One91 School Board, because my passion and purpose is to advocate decisions that impact education, specifically for middle and high school students. My plan is to assist in the result of well-educated, well-socialized, future citizens and leaders of our community. My efforts always focus on advocating for student successes in education, as well as in society.

What are the top three issues you would face during your term?

Reallocating and negotiating budget resources to better serve the needs of the teachers and the students. I have witnessed first hand, while working in the school environment everyday, some ideas where school funds may be better used or cut.

To introduce some curriculum additions to meet and inspire, not only STEM for students, but to teach “Life Skills” to enhance students emotional health.

Help promote students with quality education that meets the needs of this generation! To entice students to learn, care and display an interest and see the value, of what they are being taught.

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?

I have no criminal record, always pass all criminal background investigations, and no personal or business bankruptcies.

The Burnsville-Eagan-Savage District’s student enrollment numbers have been declining steadily for 20 years. Why do you think some local families choose to attend public school elsewhere, and what ideas do you have for attracting and retaining district students?

My opinion regarding enrollment declining is due to the educational needs that are not being met, partially due to the diverse culture and changes in the minds of this generation. When I was a child in school, I also questioned, “Why do I have to learn this? I will never use this in life!” Some of the students I worked with last year asked the very same question. Unfortunately, as when I asked this question, I felt I could not give these students a very satisfactory answer. As educators, we must strive to meet the changing times with these changing minds.

Over 95% of teachers in the Burnsville-Eagan-Savage District are white, according to data from the Minnesota Department of Education, but white children represent less than 39% of the district students. What do you believe is needed to recruit and retain teachers of color?

All teachers need to be paid more to entice them for the very challenging responsibility they have.

If a person has a bachelor’s degree, passes a federal background investigation and takes a teacher preparation program and passes, the licensing should be part of the certificate you earn after successful completion.

I have met and worked with so many great teachers and educators over the years in the districts I’ve been employed. They are so caring, and have different, unique teaching styles that leave lasting effects on the students they encounter over the years.

The district’s unassigned fund balance — reserved for unexpected or contingent expenses — is projected to fall below 6% of the district’s expenditures this year. District policy calls for this fund to remain at 8% or higher. How would you look to rebuild the district’s financial reserves, and what is your stance on the 8% policy?

District school funds should already show savings due to COVID-19. Distance learning is saving on bus transportation, there is some reduction in the school breakfast and lunch program allocation. Custodial services are reduced with no students to clean up after.

Students should do more daily cleaning to reduce some custodial duties and hours anyway. There is nothing wrong with students cleaning up behind themselves, by sanitizing desks, lunchroom tables and picking up litter from their peers. I would like to assess overall budget and spending and share ideas from a front line perspective, from my experience working in the school system.

What makes you proud of ISD 191?

I am proud of ISD One91 because I have witnessed some wonderful dedicated education staff providing heart-felt, great teaching of your children with the school system restraints they have to deal with. As I mentioned before, I have met and worked with great educators from other Dakota County Districts also.

Why should voters choose you?

Voters should choose to vote for me due to my successful years of experience working in the school system and my passion in advocating, teaching, caring and acknowledging the needs that directly impact education and the well-being of all students. I care about the necessity to implement some helpful changes in the school’s curriculum to better meet the needs of this generation. To strive to engage students to want to learn life skills they so desperately need, not only S.T.E.M. This is evident with the statistics on bullying, teenage suicide, depression and emotional health issues.

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