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School District 266 District 2

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    James Johnson

  • Heather Killpatrick - O'Connor

Biographical Information

What do you see as the biggest successes in the Public Schools and what areas do you see could use some study and/ or changes?

A lot of schools district have not been= able to recruit enough teachers to fill all positions with certified teachers.. Last year the Wichita district had to start the school year with 80 positions filled by long term substitutes . What do you think can be done to perhaps help solve this problem?

What strengths do you think you bring that will make you a useful member of the on the Board of Education?

What is your view about Kansas state revenue funding going to support tuition to non-Public schools if a family chooses to send their student there?

What is your opinion of the Ks Supreme Court’s ruling on the Gannon case about adequate and equitable funding for Kansas Public Schools?

What ideas would you like to have the Board explore to enhance the schools in this district if you are elected?

What do you think the school district should add or take away from its policies or practices.

Personal Biography I’m a lifelong Wichitan and have been married to Carmen since 1991. Our three children–Tanner, Drew & Kendyl went through the Maize school district. Since 2007, I’ve been heavily involved in the Maize school district, primarily through the MHS Booster Club. I enjoyed working with others toward a common goal of providing the best experience for our students. I remained active until my daughter graduated in 2019. I served as president for six years and worked with many dedicated families.
Campaign Phone (316) 570-3539
Campaign Email
Education Wichita State University, Bachelors in Finance
Community/Public Service Wichita Board of Directors for the American Heart Association, Wichita Community Board of Cornerstones of Care, Executive Leadership Team of the American Heart Association 2020 Heart Ball. Also volunteer(ed) with Special Olympics Kansas, Ronald McDonald House, Arkansas River Trash Roundup, Wear Blue: Run to Remember, Kansas Honor Flight, Habitat for Humanity, Make-A-Wish and Wichita Children’s Home.
I believe the mix between elementary and secondary students is 90% public and 10% private, or something near that rate. There are many successes to list. Here are some: • The literacy rate in the US is 99%+ for those over the age of 14 • Our dropout rate has declined consistently over the last 50 years • Nearly 50% of public school students will go on to seek a secondary degree. • Public School graduates make up over 60% of the incoming freshmen at Harvard. • Presidents Clinton, Reagan, Carter, Ford, Nixon, Johnson, Eisenhower, and Truman all graduated from public high school.

As far as improvements-here are some things that interest me: class sizes, attracting the very best teachers, retaining our best teachers, invest in on-boarding and career development for teachers, student and family engagement, reviewing hunger issues with kids, how we address bullying, etc.
The obvious theory is to pay more, but coming from a finance background, I understand that funds are not without limits and as in the business world, compensation is a component, but not the only solution. I’m proud say that the Maize School District has increased wages for teachers and paras through the coop; this is a great start to attracting and retaining great teachers and para-professionals. Other areas that can help attract & retain great teachers include creating a rewarding work environment. We must have really strong on-boarding programs where new teachers have great mentors to help guide them and shown them the ropes, so to speak. There has to be opportunities to learn and grow in a comfortable environment. There has to be opportunities for professional development and learning systems to challenge teachers to continually grow. We must treat teachers as valued professionals, eliminate teachers needing to spend their own money on school supplies, make school fun again.
I have a passion for our kids, teachers and administrators. I’ve had 3 kids go through the district and I was highly involved and engaged from fall of 2007 through May of 2019. I have a business background and have worked for many of the large companies in the Wichita area and have worked in roles in accounting, finance, planning, audit, compensation and strategic pricing, so I have a good understanding of budgets and how things tie together. I also have a passion for serving, as evidenced in my philanthropic involvement over the years. I am also the treasurer for Cargill Cares, which is a team of volunteers at Cargill tasked with managing the company’s community giving.
I have always gone to a public school. My wife and kids have always gone to public schools. I have extended family members and close friends that have gone to private schools. I personally believe both do a great job and both have a place in our education system. My personal opinion is that general tax dollars should be earmarked for public schools, as these schools are generally available to all students that reside in the district. I believe public tax revenue should not be spent on private schools. A family should have the opportunity to decide what they believe is the best path for their child and in some cases, that may be a private education. Those choices do (and should) come with a cost.
I believe this ruling was a win for public schools. The 1st win was the increase in annual funding of $525M in 2018. This was a great start, but the Supreme Court ruled that the increase did not account for inflation. The 2019 ruling called for an additional $90M. The continuing oversight of the court on this case will (hopefully) ensure that we keep up with the needs in the future as well. Again, I view this as a victory for our kids and teachers in Kansas.
If elected, I will come in with an open mind and an attitude of learning and doing what is best for our kids and teachers. I do not come in with an agenda or a list of changes to be made. Maize USD 266 is a fantastic and desirable place for kids to be educated. This is evidenced by the tremendous growth and the need to expand classrooms once again. I will learn and look for opportunities to improve our district.
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