This is the seventh installment in a series introducing 2013 local election matchups.
Education: Hesston High School, Hesston College, Wichita State University, University of Kansas School of Medicine and Smoky Hill Family Practice Residency in Salina through University of Kansas
Occupation: Emergency room/Urgent Care physician
Experience: My husband and I have two children in the McPherson school district — one in the middle school and one at the high school. I have served on PTOs at three of our elementary schools (Lincoln, Eisenhower and Washington) and have volunteered at each of those elementary schools. I was on the special education advisory council last year. I currently volunteer as the district Medicaid consultant to facilitate reimbursements the district is eligible for through Medicaid.
1. Why are you running for the school board?
I started going to board meetings in 2008 when school funding first started being cut. For the next two years, if the budget was on the agenda, I was there. I found that going to board meetings was a great way to find out what was going on in our district, and I realized I was interested in far more than just the budget, so I started going to pretty much all the meetings and workshops as well (we, the public, are welcome to attend). If elected, I would hope to continue the tradition of excellence we have in our district.
2. What would you like to accomplish as a board member?
I think USD 418 is an outstanding school district. Our district’s scores on achievement tests consistently place us above average in the state as well as the nation. We have excellent programs in both athletes and the arts. I think our administration and board have been visionary in the development of C3. I am not running because I see major problems that need to be changed. I think the board has done an excellent job and, if elected, I would work to continue and improve on the success we have achievement as a district.
3. What, if anything, do you think the state needs to do to reform the school funding formula?
I think the formula is adequate; it just needs to be funded. At the 2011 Education Summit fall, part of the program addressed changes to the formula sponsored by Governor Brownback. The consensus of the school administrators I spoke with was that the current formula was reasonable, just fund it. That was after a third year of cuts to school districts, and significantly less than the $4,433 per student the courts had recommended. When I asked Landon Fulmer, Governor Brownback’s representative, what was wrong with the current formula, his response was, “we can’t afford it.” I think we can’t afford not to adequately fund education.
4. What role do you think the Kansas Legislature and the Kansas Courts should have in determining funding and curriculum for Kansas’ schools? What role do you think local school boards should have?
Public education is one of the few state expenditures that is mandated by the Kansas constitution, so the state should fund public schools. Since this is matter of law, if there are disagreements in the interpretation of the law, it is appropriate that those be settled in the courts. Local districts should have the option of supplementing the amount given by the state if they so choose. I agree with the current system where the elected Kansas school board determines the minimal requirements for graduation and curriculum, but local districts have the option of adding to those requirements if they choose.
5. Do you support the USD 418 bond issue? Please explain.
I strongly support the bond. It is a well thought through plan that will continue to improve our district’s ability to provide a quality education for our students. I support all aspects of the bond, but am particularly excited about the plans at the high school that will expand our ability to prepare students for careers in metals and welding, as well as update the science area. The cafeteria and classroom additions at Lincoln and Roosevelt will allow for more optimal scheduling in those building and provide additional space as our lower grades are increasing in class size.