Here are responses to a questionnaire from the Dolores Educational Association with candidates for the Dolores School Board RE-4A. Responses from candidates Stan Mannis and Rick Carpenter will appear in next week's Dolores Star:
Why are you running for school board?
I believe all people need to be heard. Every student, staff, and community member deserves policy-driven decision making and honest communication.
What are your goals and priorities for our district?
My most immediate goal for the district is to help restore the relationship with the community. The trust of the community for the school district's leadership and the board needs to be restored.
What are the most pressing problems in our school district?
Restoring trust. Honest and open communication. Consistent policy-driven decision making.
What will you do to ensure that our district gets adequate local, state, and federal funding?
On the state and federal level we need to be sure we are seeking out every grant opportunity available. On the local level, if we restore trust with the community, mill levy and bond votes are more likely to pass.
What is the role of online and home-schooling in our district?
It's a reality that home-schooling and online education is competition to the public-school system. We need to be sure that these parents haven't chosen home-schooling because of something we can control. Our district needs to do its best to make Dolores the best option for their children.
What ideas do you have for how schools should measure student achievement?
Right now the district needs to be sure we are doing the appropriate steps to assure we have benchmarks that help assess the student achievement at various times during the academic year. There should be curriculum alignment throughout K-12 that assures each state standard is being met and that there is a logical process to achieve goals. I believe in horizontal and vertical alignment in scheduling helps teachers to meet and assess what those curriculum goals are and if they are working.
What role (if any) should our district take in recruiting students from other schools?
I don't believe it is necessary. I believe the best way for us to promote our district is through our academic achievement and record. When we have the reputation of being the district with the best education, it doesn't matter what accommodations other schools may have, Dolores is where parents will want their children to attend.
What do you believe is the role of a school board member in relationship to the community? To the superintendent? Principals, teachers and support personnel?
Community - they must take their constituents' feelings and desires into consideration when making any decision. They are a sounding board for the people. Occasionally that means putting their own opinions aside for the greater good, but understanding that all decisions must be based on clear fact, honesty and transparency. Superintendent - the superintendent is directly accountable for all decisions of the district. I believe the school board is responsible to help direct the superintendent in ways that are in the best interest of the staff, students, and people of the Dolores voting district. Occasionally this means holding the superintendent accountable when necessary, but giving him or her the support and means to succeed in doing what is truly best to accomplish the mission of the Dolores School District. Principals, teachers, and support personnel are all support to the superintendent. If for some reason the staff feels that they are being mistreated, misled, or unsupported by leadership, then the board should be asked to intervene. It is the board's responsibility to assure the best interests of the staff are being considered by the superintendent at all times. The board is always open for staff concerns.
As a school board member, what kind of communication do you want with the Dolores Educational Association?
As much as the DEA would like.
How will you work with the teachers and staff during salary and benefit discussions?
With open and honest communication.
What is your stance on Amendment 66? Why?
I am on the fence. I have not yet made a decision on this. I see pros and cons to both decisions at this time, and I want to study it further before taking a stance.
How do you plan to communicate with the community?
Openly and honestly and with as much foresight as humanly possible. Website, newspaper, newsletter. Whatever it takes to get the information out.
How should the school board respond to community concerns?
Openly, honestly, and transparently. But, also understanding that all decisions need to be made for the best interest of the students and community it serves, and policy is there to guide us in this area.