WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) — KSN News sent a questionnaire to each Wichita candidate facing a challenger in the November general election. Voters in south Wichita will decide the Wichita Board of Education District 4 race.
We have not made any edits to the candidate’s answers.
Age 61. I have served on the Wichita BOE since October of 2017. Served as Board President for 2 of those years (2021 and 2022). Resident of District 4 since 1970 (53 years). I am the father of 3 daughters, all who have graduated from Wichita Schools, and my wife of 42 years, Miscy and I have 8 grandchildren of which 2 are currently students in Wichita Schools. I currently work as a Supply and Logistics Clerk for Ascension Via Christi.
Campaign website/Facebook/Social Media:
What are the top 3 things you think deserve your immediate attention, and how do you plan to address them
I want to maintain our upward growth in graduation rates while also creating more opportunities for our graduates to be future ready. We can do this by offering more after-school credit recovery problems and working with higher education and private businesses in the area to create dual college credits, apprenticeships, on-the-job training through our Future Ready Centers, and certification programs.
We can improve student behavior by getting to the root of poor and disruptive behavior. We must use a balanced approach of appropriate consequences to the behavior and support our staff and understanding, making students understand and accept the consequences of their actions through our Restorative Practices.
Retention of teachers is closely related to improving student behavior. 30% of our educators are actively planning to leave the profession. Educators have told us they need three things to avoid this shortage of staff: They want more respect from the public with the difficult job they have in front of them due to student behavior. They want a better and more robust mental health program geared directly toward their profession. Finally, they want improved pay and benefits.
What do you think is the largest obstacle to student success/graduation, and how do you plan to address it?
Students falling behind their basic skills scores made student success and graduation harder for our students. We know that 2nd-grade reading scores and 9th-grade Algebra scores are key indicators of success in school. We need to identify these early red flags and offer help to students to catch up. Summer school for early elementary students who are scoring low in reading, writing, and math is important.
At the Middle School level, we need to focus on getting students up to an 8th-grade math level to prepare them for 9th-grade algebra. Passing 9th-grade algebra is also a red flag. We need to double down on our after-school credit recovery efforts and continue our investment in mentoring programs.
What is your vision for USD 259?
I want to be the best urban school district in the Midwest. A school district where every student, regardless of their zip code or position in life graduates prepared to reach their fullest potential. Our students must be prepared to be strong, critical thinkers (especially important in this era of artificial intelligence and misinformation) and fully participate in our community.
What can schools do to promote culturally responsive and racially-inclusive education?
Schools need to meet students wherever they are in their life without discrimination. Our district’s diversity is a strength, not a weakness. Each student should feel safe at school and should see themselves represented in books and lessons.
What resources do you think Wichita schools need that they currently don’t have?
We need help funding special education. Under state law, Topeka should fund 90% of special education needs. They have continually avoided paying their full share. The result of this is we all pay higher local property taxes to make up the deficit.
Would you change how much the school district budgets on its different departments (teachers, safety, special education, etc.)? If so, how?
I have been extremely active as a Board Member in the budgeting process. Understanding and providing input into the budget are key to focusing the priorities of the district. We will need our budget to reflect our needs to maintain growing graduation rates, improve student behavior, and retain our staff. I will make that job number one and make sure those efforts are funded first and responsibly.