What are the three largest issues facing the district? What will you do to address them?
1. Effectively implement the facilities master plan and work hard for passage of the GO bond in 2017. I will be a vocal advocate for the plan and use the skills I have built as an organizer and marketer to build support for the bond and better understanding of the Facilities Master Plan.
The Facilities Master Plan is the most important initiative we have in the district. It’s set to do so much good for so many–and has already done a lot of good (New addition opening at Twain this fall, as well as Alexander Elementary opening and numerous other improvement happening across the district). My support for the Facilities Master Plan is unwavering. We need also to listen to the members of our community who have concerns.
I’m open to hearing further discussion regarding Hoover Elementary and I’m sensitive to concerns about our neighborhood schools. As a rule, I’m open to any discussion, regardless of the issue. The job of the school board is, in part, to listen and be a conduit for the concerns and values of the community. I’m committed to being that conduit.
I support neighborhood schools. They sustain our neighborhoods and strengthen our community. As long as the Facilities Master Plan continues apace, doing all the good it currently intends to do, I welcome any discussion.
2. Meet the challenges placed upon us by the underfunding of public education at the state level. We need to educate the community about how underfunding effects our students and what we can do to fight back, including vocal advocacy in Des Moines to reverse this destructive pattern.
It’s not the job of the school board to lobby the statehouse, but we can be a better conduit for the facts and impact the decisions made there have on our schools and lead our community in advocating for our students. We are one of the largest districts in the state. We are home to international businesses and an internationally celebrated university. We should be leaders in the fight to fund our children’s education.
3. Make sure we provide the best education possible for all our students. Look for new, creative ways to achieve that goal. We need to work toward diversity goals with purpose and resolve, but we need to recognize that moving lines on a map has not given us the results we need and if we continue to try the same methods over and over again, we will continue to divide our community and fail to reach our goals. We need to find new tools to use alongside redistricting, including possibilities like magnets schools and pairing schools together to broaden our community. We should explore an Education Master Plan the coincides with our Facilities Master Plan and our strategic plan. This plan should identify new initiatives, leading edge techniques, and leverage technology to aide in reaching our goals. I will champion a 1:1 laptop initiative for our district and encourage the administration to partner with teachers to find the best ways to reach our students. We are a creative community. We need to leverage that creativity in our schools.