Challengers will be more responsive
With the District 41 school board election coming up on April 2, I read an article on greatschools.org entitled "What Every Parent Should Know About Their School Board." The article poses questions to evaluate whether a school board is serving community needs, including:
• Does the board focus on solving the district's biggest challenges or spend all their time on less important matters?
• Does the board listen to their employers, namely, you and your community?
• If there have been conflicts or concerns brought to them from the community, have they been responsive and respectful in their response?
When evaluating the work of the current board, led by Stephanie Clark and Kurt Buchholz who are running for re-election, I notice many examples where they are not serving the community. Instead of focusing on important goals such as how to implement full-day kindergarten or develop a taxing strategy, they micromanage the district, insisting on approving school supply lists and trying to modify school schedules themselves.
In terms of listening and responsiveness, they have clamped down on public participation at board meetings and, under their leadership, board member attendance at PTA meetings (traditional opportunities for two-way communication) has never been lower.
Again and again, dozens of parents and teachers have appeared at board meetings, sent letters and signed petitions to protest decisions they are contemplating, and Clark and Buchholz never hold communication sessions to allow for open discussion or compromise in reflection of community feedback.
In contrast, candidates Jessica Buttimer, Julie Hill and Ted Estes have already proven themselves more available, responsive and open to feedback than Clark and Buchholz have demonstrated in the past four years. I have no doubt that they will better serve this community.
Vote Bottom Three on the Ballot on April 2 -- Buttimer, Hill, Estes.