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Experience (300 characters max)
Retired USAF disabled veteran. BBA in Finance/Accounting. MBA in Business Finance. BA in Education. Current certificated SPED teacher with 12 years teaching at SKHS. Previous board member for California Credit Union. Emergency management expert with FEMA experience. Managed $275M in JCS funds.
My degrees and experience in Finance and Accounting show that I understand the budgeting and accounting processes needed to manage the district finances; a paramount duty of the board. My military experience shows that my family has lived in a number of places other than Washington. My son attended six schools so we are familiar with how other communities, countries, and school systems work. Having a perspective other than living in Port Orchard all our lives is important because we see other ways to do things that the district may not have considered. As a current SPED teacher, I taught at the SKHS for 12 years. I understand the district procedures, I know the district people, and I know the teachers. I have been there and understand both the joys and challenges that teacher’s face on a daily basis. I have been researching the community, district, and the position for a year. I do my own research and any data that I offer can be checked by anyone who wishes. I am a doer, not a talker.
1. The most important issue by far is academic excellence for ALL students. Despite strong community financial support, the district remains low among the state school districts in terms of test scores and academic standing. The best measure of success is how are SK graduates doing at college, technical skills, and their choice of profession; not the graduation rate which is easily manipulated.
2. The second is transparency and trust. Many folks are wary of the school district as evidenced by the number of bond and levy failures. Running a bond issue 4 times without going back to the community after the first failure to see what voters were concerned about shows a lack of respect for the voter voice.
3.Third, financial accountability eludes the district. In most cases, the accounting systems are unable to tell voters how much a specific program costs. The district payroll has increased to $108 M out of a $147 M budget. It will cost the district $5.4 M in increased pay costs each year.
3. Academic excellence for all students is the mission of any school district- period. First, all personnel and all programs need to be reviewed to see if they are directly supporting the mission of academic excellence. Once the district has restored academic excellence, then other programs need to be funded. Self-supporting clubs and activities needs to be the rule versus asking the taxpayer to fund any idea that comes along. Academic excellence is paramount- then other programs. Second, the district needs to implement “metrics” in all areas. Metrics are how businesses measure success and allows them to focus on their main objectives and problem issues. An example is personal budgeting. If you have trouble budgeting your money correctly, you track every expenditure for a month or so and find the “leaks”. The district needs to implement metrics in all areas to achieve academic excellence and for cost control. You can’t fix what you don't measure. Every successful business does this.
4. Since the goal is academic excellence for ALL students, all student need access to the same programs at their level and at their school. If the IB and Spanish Immersion programs are so great, why are they not offered at all schools to give all students the same opportunity? Answer- because they are so expensive which is why other school districts did not implement them. Other districts prefer to spend their money on needs that the majority of student require, not just a certain segment. The district IB program graduated 10 students this year. SKHS classes are not full and many parents and students prefer to start college at the HS level or later. The Spanish Immersion program has few students in it? Isn’t this region heavily Asian and our trade with those countries? Isn’t it these folks whom our student professionals will work with in the future? Are these pet projects or just a way to be different to attract students? If so, is it working given the huge cost of each program
5. No one can assure or guarantee the safety of students at school. The district forgets that the students are vulnerable when grouped together during fire drills, elementary school recesses, sports fields, school bus loading, and sitting waiting for them all to leave at one time. Our school cafeteria doors are open in the back of all schools most of the time, the south entrance to the SKHS not blocked off full time, badges are not worn by all personnel, and “maintenance” vehicles are allowed unannounced on playgrounds and at schools at any time. The district needs to learn to live with the inconvenience of passes, pre- announcement, and all administrators outside watching the wooded areas and parking lots for problem issues when kids are outside the building for bus activity, recess, fire drills, etc. Video cameras for all schools should be a very high priority. The PO Police and Kitsap County Sheriffs should visible during bus activity, fire drills,, etc. when kids are vulnerable.
The question implies that racial inequality could be an issue in the SKSD. If so, this is the responsibility of every teacher, administrator, principal, district staff member, and the Superintendent to fix immediately. If a school is tolerating racial inequality, why are the people involved still employed? Since this is federal law and now a cornerstone of our society, unions need to understand that employees who are contributing to such an issue are terminated- period. No tolerance for this is acceptable at any level. If a Principal needs help to solve the issue, the district is full of people who are highly paid to help as well as the Superintendent. The Superintendent should always be informed of any issue of this type and if not taking immediate action, they should be terminated- period.
7. How about asking the student and the parents what they want. What is their choice of a career profession and then the district staff maps out how to get each student there? The money comes from programs not supporting the primary objective- Academic excellence so a student can pursue their desired profession. If not offered at the high school, the district staff can find who does and find a way to help the student get there and where they want to go. If cheaper, bring the program to the high school. The district cannot offer everything to everyone but can offer what most students’ want- shipyard skills, automotive trades, construction craft trades, etc. Instead of cutting programs when money is tight, how about reducing redundant staff and district staff and using that money to fund the programs versus asking the taxpayer for more money. How about contracting out many of the tasks that maintenance does (lawn mowing, painting, etc.) versus adding more expensive people to the payroll?
8. Again, another question that possibly implies that the district does not provide an education for all students. If so, what is the district staff for? If the law mandates this or other requirements, why is the district not in compliance? It is their job to work with community officials, family and students affected, and then with the principals of each school to ensure that each student in our district is offered a superb education. If the SKSD is not providing this, what is the Superintendent doing as well as the district staff? What are all these directors, assistant directors, and others doing if it is not providing the needed services to all students? Why do we tolerate people not doing their job if this should be a problem in the SKSD? Money- it comes from people or programs not in direct support of the primary district mission - to provide a superb education for ALL students- period.
Town where you live
Experience (300 characters max)
Service on SK School Board for 8 years, including service as President, Vice President and Legislative Representative, 4 years on Instructional Material Committee, Executive Board of South Kitsap Public Education Foundation.
1. I have eight years experience on the Board. I think I have a better understanding of our District, and the people who work there, than the other candidates for this position. My experience as an attorney for more than 40 years is helpful, since I am used to dealing with complex factual matters. I am also married to a retired teacher in our District, and her insight has been very helpful to me. I truly believe that public education is the foundation of our democracy and that our schools are the heart of our community.
2. The biggest issue facing our District is the age of our facilities. We are addressing some of these with our latest capital levy. Our buildings are well maintained, but they are old and outdated. We need a new high school, and new schools to replace the buildings that house Cedar Heights Middle School and South Colby Elementary. The next challenge is the current taxation structure and the manner in which education is funded. The legislature seems to be working through this, and they recently restored some local funding. I also believe we need to continue to increase our academic rigor, particularly in the area of mathematics, and increase our test scores and high school graduation rate. South Kitsap High School’s four year graduation rate has continued to increase and was 86% in 2017-2018. One of the Board’s goals is to increase this to 90%. We have made great strides in technology since I have been on the board, but we still need to increase access at all schools.
3. I still believe that we need to pass a construction bond in this District. The majority of our constituents support this, but we have been unable to overcome the 60% requirement. Our needs have only gotten more urgent. I believe this can and should be done. I support a change in the 60% requirement to allow the majority of our voters to decide this question.
4. School Districts need to use their resources in a manner that is equitable to all students. This does not necessarily mean that equal resources go to every school. It is a difficult issue. For example, we currently have one elementary school that has more than 50% of its students eligible for the free and reduced lunch program. There is a direct correlation between student achievement and poverty. Simply giving them 1/10 of the elementary budget (we have 10 elementary schools) may sound fair, but it is not truly equitable. I also support continuing special programs at our schools, such as AVID, Project Lead the Way, International Baccalaureate, Spanish Immersion, SOAR, and other innovative programs.
5. Our District has been a leader in providing security and safety for our schools. Since I have been on the Board we have increased our security staff and hired a Director of Safety and Security. By the end of this summer, all of our schools will have secured entry systems in place, which means that doors are locked while students are in school. Five years ago, we instituted a Threat Assessment Protocol to evaluate and secure treatment for individuals who may pose a threat to our schools. This protocol is now mandated in Washington. Our District is a leader in this area. A security audit was performed and we hired Crisis Reality Training to train our staff and students in dealing with threats. The safety and security of our students is a high priority with the Board. This work is paid by local levy funds.
6. Racial inequality and economic inequality are closely linked. Our District is becoming more diverse. When I was elected to the Board in 2012, 85% of the students were white. In 2017-2018, that number was about 70%. The largest growing population is Hispanic/Latino. They comprise about 11% of our student body. The achievement gap in our District is more economic than racial. The equitable allocation of resources is one way to change this situation. We work to ensure that our staff are sensitive to all our students and we try to increase diversity in our staff.
7. Technical education should be available to all students at all levels. Our District has one of the best Career and Technical Education (CTE) departments in the State of Washington. It is a source of South Kitsap pride. At the high school, over 90 courses are offered. Our CTE Director has been named the best in the State. We have valuable relationships with local employers. One challenge is to integrate CTE with basic education courses. We also offer CTE courses at the middle and elementary levels. One of the requirements of State law is that we provide a path for careers as well as college. I think our District excels in this area. CTE courses are not a “track.” Most of the students in the high school will take these courses. I and other members of the Board have worked to ensure that this program is adequately funded.
8. Public Schools in the United States are required to provide a Free and Appropriate Education for all students in the District. Homeless students are provided transportation under the McKinney-Vento Act. We maintain an English Language Learner (ELL) program at all levels. I have supported using local levy funds to provide extra services to meet the social and emotional needs of our students. Our District has counselors at all levels. This is not considered basic education under state law, so this is paid for out of local levy funds. I and other members of the Board are committed to educating the whole child and believe that all children, without exception, are capable of success in school. It is our guiding principle.