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McPhersonSentinel - McPherson, KS
  • Little River BOE Pos. 6: Philip Nelson

  • This is the eighth installment in a series introducing 2013 local election matchups
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    • Susan Zeller also is running for council but did not return a questionnaire.
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      Susan Zeller also is running for council but did not return a questionnaire.
  • Age: 50
    Education: Some college
    Occupation: Farmer and small business owner
    Experience: Four years as a member of school board and two years as board president.
    1. Why are you running for a seat on the school board?
    Education is one of the most important keys to the future. The better we prepare our children, the better they will be able to cope with the challenges that we know are in their futures. As a board member, I find it vitally important to step up to the task and to use vision to prepare our students for the challenges.
    2. What would you like to accomplish as a school board member?
    As a school board member, I would like to keep an important focus on balancing the education of our children in highly technological subjects and the core subjects. Recently, I toured a junior college campus with my son Justin, who graduates this year. One thing that was evident was the strong need for expertise in the use of the computer at that level. But the students also need an acceptable level of knowledge in the core subjects. I think they can go hand in hand. Even in a rapidly changing and developing society, one cannot be sacrificed to the detriment of the other if the students are to be able to succeed in upper levels of education.
    3. What, if anything, do you think the state needs to do to reform the school funding formula?
    The easy answer is to fund what they tell us the education of an individual student should cost. The truth is that to fund education while not putting a large burden on the state taxpayers is very difficult. One thing that I think would help is to simplify the FTE count —the formula the state uses to allocate funds to school districts. It is a very complicated formula and hard to understand because there are many variables. I understand some of these variables are necessary, but I also think that the state has built a large bureaucracy around the school funding formula that is not cost effective.
    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?
    I think the Kansas Legislature should have a leading role in determining and distributing funding in the state. If the parts of the state with large taxpayer and industry bases don't help the smaller districts as the plan is now, many of the small school districts will not be able to afford education for their students.
    Page 2 of 2 - I think individual district's curriculums should have input from local school boards, as well as the state and Federal governments. I think there should be a general outline for curriculum, but individual school districts should have choice and input, as well.
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