School board position 2 candidate: Ed Kite
Name: Ed Kite
Date of birth: 2/16/54
Family: Wife-Joanne, Son-Andy 11 years old
Current employment: Owner-Kite Video (3 years)
Past employment history: Sprint Communications - Sales, Management, Project Management, (19 Years)
Education: Bachelor of Science - Business Administration, Kansas State University
Number of years lived in community: 15 years
Previous public offices held: None
- 'Family Promise' Coordinator-Douglas County Homeless Outreach Program
- Methodist Church Finance Committee
- Methodist Church Leadership Committee
- Annual Food Drive-Kite Video
- USD 348 Facility Committee
- Member of Baldwin City Chamber of Commerce
What made you decide to run for office?
Maximizing the educational opportunities for my son, as well as all students in USD 348 was the driving factor in running for office. I was raised in a family where education was a priority (my mother and 2 brothers are teachers). We were in a rural community that is very representative of the Baldwin school district. I want to ensure the children of this district are offered every educational and social opportunity possible.
What special qualifications would you bring to this office? My broad business experience gained from working with a large company, and now owning and operating a local small business provides a sound background and perspective to make tough and difficult decisions when necessary. My involvement in the community affords me the opportunity to hear and better understand many of the patrons' concerns and issues about our education.
How do you plan to familiarize yourself with the issues that come before the board?
Over the last 3 years I have attended many board meetings, as well as serving on two USD 348 committees. This has provided a solid understanding of many issues our board currently faces. I've spent a great deal of time reviewing the information on the district website, and had one-on-one discussions with several current board members as well as Mr. Dorathy. I have also researched information on surrounding school districts. My personal schedule allows time to research , analyze and understand issues that help determine policy.
What leadership qualities do you possess?
A key to leadership is a willingness to engage others in discussions and include others in defining solutions. I am very open-minded, analytical in reviewing information, thorough, action-oriented, dedicated, and willing to implement new and progressive ideas.
How do you plan to stay in touch with constituents if you are elected?
We live in the technology age that offers multiple electronic methods of communicating. Operating a business in Baldwin, along with my community involvement also allows me to personally hear and understand the district's patrons concerns and issues. I plan on attending CSO/PTO and Site Council meetings to stay abreast of additional parent and teacher concerns.
Describe what you see as the main role of a school board member.
1) Provide and manage the long term vision for the educational goals of our children.
2) Provide guidance to the superintendent that reflects the educational needs and financial management needs of our district.
3) Set policy that will achieve the educational needs and proper financial management of our schools.
What is the best attribute of our school district and why?
When speaking with teachers in our district, I am always amazed and grateful how truly dedicated they are to the educational needs of our children. Having a university here brings an additional emphasis to the importance of education in our community, and it also provides some very unique benefits that we can further capitalize on in educating our children. During school board elections there can be a tendency to concentrate on the negatives, but we need to ensure we communicate and celebrate all the wonderful successes that our students and schools have achieved.
What are the three most important issues facing the school district and how would you confront them?
Financial challenges- We need to firm up the long term vision of our district, that will set a more specific path to make sound financial decisions that will provide better educational opportunities for our children.
Consolidation - We need to complete a smooth transition of the rural school consolidation so the community can move forward in a cooperative manner to best educate all our children.
Communication - A tremendous amount of district information is made available to the public, but better communicating that information is extremely important in informing the community of the issues we face.
Do you think public schools are adequately funded?
No, public schools aren't adequately funded. That is why it is so imperative we maximize our financial resources. School funding doesn't look to improve in the near future. Regardless of our public funding constraints, the proper education of our children has to come from a joint effort of our school, the parents, and the community.
What areas of the budget would you target for spending cuts if necessary?
Every item of the budget (from transportation to staffing to meals to facilities, etc) needs to be further evaluated as to the cost vs. benefit it offers to the educational value of our children. We need to look at all the avenues of funding we receive or could receive, and make sure our policies are maximizing how that funding is being utilized.
Are the district's teachers being compensated fairly? Why or why not?
Our teacher's compensation is behind other surrounding districts of similar size. State funding, special funding, and how we have chosen to utilize our resources have all contributed to that. We need to improve our teacher's compensation, and I think we can but it will be gradual and take some time. I firmly believe that retaining and recruiting quality teachers is the single most critical educational tool we can have to properly educate our children. We need to offer our teachers competitive compensation, facilities that meet and promote our educational goals, and an administrative environment that encourages our teachers to excel in their classroom.
Under what circumstances would you favor increasing property taxes?
Based on the community's current tax burden, no I would not favor any property tax increases at this time. With the current turmoil in educational funding at a state and federal level, we need to stay educated on all possibilities so we can be pro-active in our decision making on future funding.