Seven candidates are running for two open seats on the Dolores School Board. They are Jerry Whited, Kay Phelps, Sandra Corbitt, Eugene Reininger III, Casey McClellan, Rebecca Frasier and Lisa Holz. Terms are for four years.
The Nov. 7 election will be by mail-in ballot, and the top two vote-getters will earn board seats.
Each Friday, The Journal will publish candidates’ answers to a different question submitted to them.
This week the question is:
In an era of more limited financial resources, how will you enlist support for increased taxes for school improvements from voters, including those with no children in schools?
Rebecca FrasierThis boils down to communication. If the school district wants voters and taxpayers that do not have children in the school to support bond issues and public school spending, then we need to keep them in the loop throughout the entire process, not just when we’re looking for a vote to spend their money. We should be seeking their input and doing our best to work with them from the beginning stages, which may create more of a buy-in for them. If voters and taxpayers see a genuine need in what the school district is asking for, I believe they will ultimately vote on what is best for the community.
Sandra CorbittI think just educating the public on whatever the school’s needs are, regarding spending or bond issues. It is important to keep pumping information out to the public as much as possible.
Kay PhelpsWhen students, from preschool to grade 12 engage in visible and meaningful ways with the community, it’s a win-win for both community members and the students themselves. Internships, service-learning, project and problem-based learning are good examples.
In addition, showcasing accomplishments for community members to see, and ideally interact with (as in the case of panelists, judges, internship supervisors, etc.), helps unite a community around shared goals for youths. In this era of political polarity, working together on behalf of academic and social growth in children is key.
Lisa HolzOur schools are a reflection of our community. Cultivating a healthy and engaging school environment benefits everyone in the community by creating engaged and productive citizens. In the case of a proposed bond issue or increased public school spending, I would make every effort to proactively communicate with the community at large surrounding the need for additional financial support for our schools. I would also consider how the schools could leverage resources already existing and available within the community to fulfill their needs. Last, I would make an effort to change the conversation from one of “scarcity” to one of “abundance.” Language is important, and I would look for creative solutions to fully and effectively utilize the resources we do have available.
Jerry WhitedThey need to be informed and always have a open line of communication. The community needs to know all the facts and have input. They also need a voice and feel they are heard. If you are using the money you are asking for in a smart way that benefits the community, and the school is turning out productive, educated students, that goes along way with the public.
Eugene Reininger IIITo enlist support of taxpayers with no children in the public school system, I would need to use the statement, “Education for the sake of Education.” All people who live in any particular community need to realize the overall impact that the education system has on that community. Thriving, happy students build thriving happy communities, and it’s that simple. I think that if the general public needs to be educated in that respect, then that should be done.
Casey McClellanEven if a voter or taxpayer has no children in their school district, chances are they have had children in a school district in the past, or they have a young family and the children will be in school in the future, or they have a relative in school somewhere. The point is, they typically understand the value of a strong school system.
Families relocating with school-age children commonly decide where they will live based on the strength of an area school district. Conservative voters and taxpayers are not scrooges; they want the district to operate responsibly, work within their budget and be careful with taxpayer dollars. There is a tendency within government to look at taxpayer dollars as free money. Taxpayers do not want to give their hard-earned money up only to see it squandered, myself included.
However, if a school district has a record of handling their finances responsibly, living within their means, not viewing grants as free money, and funding all aspects of the school system appropriately, with academics as the No. 1 priority, then when it comes time to fund a much-needed project, the money will be easier to justify to the voters and taxpayers.