School board position 1 candidate: Shawn Nelson
Name: Shawn Nelson
Date of birth: July 1969
Family: Wife, Kelsey; son, Haven, 9; daughter; Ivy ; son, Elliot, 5; daughter Pippa, 1
Current employment: Kansas Department of Revenue
Past employment history: Self-employed seven years in restaurant management, computer programmer four 5 years, high school math and computer science teacher for five years
Education: BS physics from KU and MS curriculum and instruction from KU
Number of years lived in community: 3
Previous public offices held: none
Community involvement: Member of Chamber of Commerce – Melange Apron
What made you decide to run for office? I am running to be more involved in educating the youth of our community.
What special qualifications would you bring to this office? Business and finance experience, previous teaching experience and parent of three children in the district.
How do you plan to familiarize yourself with the issues that come before the board? Research, collaboration and dialogue with the Community
What leadership qualities do you possess? Integrity, vision and motivation.
How do you plan stay in touch with constituents if you are elected? More community forums with two-way dialogue, building relationships with community and parent organizations, dynamic Web site, email.
Describe what you see as the main role of a school board member. Protect and improve the quality of education for all students in the district.
What is the best attribute of our school district and why? The students. Educators, staff, parents, and community members have few rewards greater than participating in, and seeing, the growth of their children.
What are the three most important issues facing the school district and how would you confront them?
Transition after closing the two rural schools. It is mainly up to the current board and administration to handle this task since new board members would not take office till mid-summer. This community has been split by the decision and both the rural and in-town elementary students need support as their communities change.
Transparency in financial matters. This is a time of economic turmoil and the board needs to lead the district in open dialogue about making needed financial changes that also preserve the quality of education. This dialogue must include the city, the business community, and all citizens.
Teaching our kids that adversity happens but it can be overcome with responsible and creative optimism, and belief in the resiliency of ourselves. Hope, not Fear.
Do you think public schools are adequately funded? Why or why not? No. There is not enough money available to pay educators what they deserve.
What areas of the budget would you target for spending cuts if necessary? Items that are reproducible in other forms. For example, while textbooks are important, they are increasingly being used as secondary and not primary resources because of on-line resources and other “real-world” experiences. I also think a well coordinate car pool program could eliminate several bus routes at huge cost savings.
Are the district's teachers being compensated fairly? Why or why not? I would say in general that educator salaries are below private sector market rates. Education is the No. 1 best thing we can give our children. We should reward those who do this job for us with above market pay and benefits.
Under what circumstances would you favor increasing property taxes? When 100 percent of that property tax was allowed to be used by school districts in whatever way the school districts best saw fit for their students.