What is the biggest issue the district is currently dealing with? What’s your solution?

I think everyone recognizes the budget is the biggest issue the district is facing. We need to address the budget limitations, but it’s also important to discuss the most pressing issues that have resulted from not addressing the budget sooner. The staff at our schools are struggling to keep themselves and our students safe with reductions in staffing, families are struggling to adjust to Special Ed programs being consolidated, and many of our students are struggling in larger classrooms.

While I think it’s important to look for federal and state funding opportunities, I also think it’s important to take responsibility for the students in our community when federal and state funding simply isn’t enough to support the level and quality of staffing our community values. It’s always important to fight for the federal and state funding our district needs, Ignoring our responsibility to our students has left our district struggling. It’s become clear that is is long past time for this budget issue to be addressed and I would advocate for a local levy as soon as possible to increase staffing levels at the upper grades and regain recent losses.

If elected, you may be confronted with the question of placing a supplemental levy on the ballot next spring (in order to save or restore some programs). Under what circumstances would you be in favor of such a levy?

While it’s important to advocate for ample state-level funding for education, I believe one of the School Boards responsibilities is to present opportunities for voters in our community to fund the district’s programs and staffing beyond what is deemed “adequate” by state legislators. Those opportunities come in the form of levies. Many voters have expressed concerns with cuts to specific programs and I believe voters will support the levies necessary to protect funding for the staffing and programs our district values.

Of the recent cuts, which do you feel has most affected the quality of education in Spokane Public Schools?

I believe the loss of staff will have the most significant impact on the quality of Spokane Public Schools because smaller classroom sizes, dedicated librarians, and ample maintenance staffing are vital to a quality educational experience for our students. We must work hard to ensure remaining staff have the resources and support they need to succeed at their jobs without suffering exhaustion.

Moving forward I will advocate for restoring staffing levels by looking for ways to reduce redundant or ineffective spending and working with state legislators to increase funding to the district. It’s also likely that the district will need an additional Levy to be able to restore staffing and programs quickly.

Should the district seek a local levy for additional operating funds? If so, when and why?

The district had to make many cuts to the staffing due to budget reductions during the last year. Despite that, the district is still facing a budget deficit in the next few years. I think a levy is necessary and I believe voters in our district will support funding for things like increased staffing at the higher grades, librarians, and to accommodate the professional time our teachers need (which results in Early Release days).

Should local communities be able to raise funds without limits for education? Why?

Yes. I believe local communities have a right to fund their students educational experience above and beyond that which state and federal legislators allocate. An important responsibility of the School Board is providing voters opportunities to fund specific programs, infrastructure, and staffing levels that our community supports when state funding to the district is insufficient.


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