Editor's note: The following questions were submitted to candidates for the USD 489 school board by the Hays NEA. The questions and answers are being posted as submitted with the permission of the Hays NEA and the candidates.
Three positions are up for election. Also running are Ken Brooks, Cathy Hopkins, Curt Vajnar, Thomas Wasinger and Meagan Zampieri-Lillpopp.
Please discuss your reasons for seeking a position on the Board of Education. What qualifications do you have that make you the best candidate?
I am a father of 3 children and care about the community, I am also unhappy about the poor representation and lack of action. I am not scared to ask the hard questions or do what needs to be done to make sure our community is properly represented.
What do you see as the greatest problem facing public education today? In Kansas? In USD 489?
The inclusion of politics of the school system. I believe we are not teaching our kids to be strong independent young adults with an owner mentality, instead we are creating immature dependent consumers. A lack of action in the leadership that trickles down to every administrator. I see this in USD 489 and in Kansas.
How do you see your role as a member of the Board of Education in regard to accountability to patrons of the district? … to teachers? … to students? Do you see your role as overseeing policy or making decisions regarding day-to-day operations?
I believe the boe makes policy and the superintendent does the day to day, if the super is not following policies, we'll need a new super. I will listen to everyone in the community, we are all in this together.
What philosophy/core belief will be the driving force behind your decision making if elected to the board?
Kids first, Politics Never.
What is your position on 1-to-1 technology for K-12? What changes, if any, would you like to see?
Before there can be any changes on 1 to 1 tech, there needs to be improvements in tech support, having these devices does no good if the building doesn't have internet, but it does teach resourcefulness to continue on learning with devices. I do believe in 1-to-1 tech, but I don't agree with having the same products over and over, students should learn multiple operating platforms to be better equipped in the world with more tools at their disposal. Switching platforms also spreads out department money to more than one vendor.
Describe the first change you would like to see enacted by the Board of Education.
Having a clear announcement that USD 489 is not a medical provider, and that we need parents to be more involved in their kids' learning.
We believe every student deserves qualified, committed teachers. How do you feel due process for teachers affects this goal?
Teachers that go the extra mile should be rewarded for doing so, and not with just a pat on the back.
What is your vision regarding facilities in the district to provide our students with the best opportunities for success? What are your thoughts on previous and future bond issues/elections?
I can get behind a simple clear bond that benefits the whole district, not just the high school, and not just a dumpster fire with blank checks.
How can the board/district recruit and retain quality teachers? What could the board do to improve teacher morale?
Pay them, fund for supplies, and the parents should not have supply the teachers.
How would you characterize your attitude toward collective bargaining? What role do you see yourself taking in this process?
Collective bargaining is great for establishing base pay and benefits that everyone should have, it is not great however for rewarding people that work harder than others, when everyone gets the same rate, motivation treads to the lowest level.