Archive for Thursday, March 17, 2011

School board position 3 candidate: Slade Dillon

March 17, 2011

Name: Slade Dillon

Date of birth: 10/1/71

Family: N/A

Current employment: Specialty Lumber Solutions, LLC, KCMO.

Past employment history: I've also been accused of swinging a hammer from time to time.

Education: BA, Economics, University of Kansas, 1994.

Number of years lived in community: Over 30

Previous public offices held: N/A

Community involvement: I believe I was among the first people to rake the greens this year at the Baldwin Golf Association.

What made you decide to run for office?

I'm deeply concerned about this district's commitment to educate children.

What special qualifications would you bring to this office?

I won't engage in deliberate deceit of the public. I'm not gullible. I understand the fundamental differences between assets and liabilities.

How do you plan to familiarize yourself with the issues that come before the board?

I’ve spent over 100 hours researching school financing and the issues facing our district. I will continue this diligence in the future.

What leadership qualities do you possess?

I believe I have the ability to effectively identity wants and needs. I’m always willing to listen to new ideas.

How do you plan stay in touch with constituents if you are elected?

Communication., 594.3223, and 245 E 1600 Rd will have to do.

Describe what you see as the main role of a school board member.

Stay out of the newspaper, as much as possible. Focus on responsibly educating the children of our district without actively engaging in community-wrecking behaviors.

What is the best attribute of our school district and why?

The people that live here.

What are the three most important issues facing the school district and how would you confront them?

1) Lack of planning. Short-term, long-term, you name it. There appears to be no planning transparent to the public (and quite possibly, to the Board) from the Administration, and I believe this is both socially shortsighted and economically dangerous. Lack of planning leads to knee-jerk reactions and poor decision making under duress. We'll start with a plan. I recommend the initial plan (the one lauded by the district and utterly abandoned) should be to maintain and fortify the high standards for pre-K-5 education that have served as a wonderful foundation for this community for almost 50 years.

2) Lack of cooperation between governmental agencies. I don't understand why this community feels it's perfectly acceptable to build two new schools and a bunch of ball fields in the city limit without even one proper sidewalk connecting the city to the complex. I couldn't possibly care less at this point who ends up paying for Elm Street, or the road composition thereof for a few years (The storm drainage issues are an incidental mess. That development has washed out Eleventh Street again and I get to enjoy changing a tire tomorrow.)--it's a perfect summation of our measurable level of commitment to cooperative community-building and it speaks volumes to the misguided societal values that currently exist in our community. I understand separate entities protecting their own interests, but we've all got to get past being fearful of our neighbors continually stabbing each other and ourselves in the back.

3) Educate the children. We seem to be losing our focus.

Do you think public schools are adequately funded? Why or why not?

No, they're not, but I feel that's only due to inherent waste in the educational system. What should be the true focus of the community? Providing ALL children with an adequate safety net they may otherwise be unable to achieve in a dysfunctional home environment. This is a community failure at this time.

What areas of the budget would you target for spending cuts if necessary?

Any and all. The country is broke. The state is broke. The county is broke. The school district is broke. (A special shout out to the local voters--you wanted it, you got it!) I believe I would start by installing a toggle switch to turn off the scores of lights that nightly sear the sky above Lawrence Avenue. Those lights aren't making anyone smarter.

Are the district's teachers being compensated fairly? Why or why not?

Life isn't fair. Ask this to the farmers who've been providing capital investment for the entire district's benefit for almost 50 years and are now being told to smile wide, shut up, and enjoy the irresponsible process of the greater community kicking its primary financier in the teeth. The district is prohibited through tenure policy from removing the ineffective and uncaring teachers that truly need replacement, so this is a systemic problem here. Probably 90% of teachers do a fantastic job, and it is their life's passion. I'm obviously not talking about these fine educators, who are the backbone of our community, and deserve an adequate compensation for their fine work. I'm talking about the lazy and ineffective teachers who are protected by a collective construct that no longer serves society well. The best teachers are usually the first to acknowledge the fundamental flaws in our retention system. They (and our children) are the ones most hurt by these inadequacies. They have to work with that dysfunctional ten percent or so of educators who selfishly drain the entire system daily.

Under what circumstances would you favor increasing property taxes?

I would begin by living in a community that neither understands bond financing nor wishes to appreciate that actions have consequences.


uapinochet 9 years, 6 months ago

Just wait until he tells you how he really feels. . . . .

Seriously, Baldwin, how can you not vote for Slade? He just made every other candidate for school board seem like a simple-minded talking head. None of these little asinine niceties just to get elected -- only how he honestly feels.


lisagaylesmith 9 years, 6 months ago

Wow. This guy has my vote. He's not trying to hide anything and not putting up any fronts for sure.


Nathaniel Johnson 9 years, 6 months ago

Slade communicated directly with me after reading one of my posts. He HAS done the research and is perfectly aware of the limitations that a local school board can have. He legitimately wants to retain control of the schools at a local level and avoid consolidation. This should be one of the items high on the agenda with every candidate. In fact their should be a question in the questionnaire "Do you support school district consolidation?" His comments about teachers are politically dangerous and yet I believe he is near the mark on it though maybe a bit naive on determining which teachers are high performers.

In my view, the most important thing a person looking at a new job can do is admit where there is room for them to improve. Hubris in established politicians makes them say the most ambiguous things. Slade Dillon seems to have the sincere desire to educate himself on issues. Even if I don't agree with him on all of the issues, I believe that I have a chance to have a real dialogue and a possibility of him moving his position should a better alternative be presented.

Nathaniel Johnson


BigCat 9 years, 6 months ago

ZING! Slade, well said and you have my vote. Chad doesn't hold a candle to you.


larry_and_ames 9 years, 6 months ago

Don't think that Slade is expressly for reopening VES and MES come heck or high water? May I present your first one-issue candidate. Slade Dillon, come on down....

You're the next contestant on "How to Bankrupt a District So My Kid Doesn't Have to Ride the Bus Very Far"!


larry_and_ames 9 years, 6 months ago

Ah, Slade. I see you brought someone with you. Will you please introduce us to your guest? Oh, it's another one issue candidate also? Awesome. Everyone, please give a big bankruptcy welcome to Tony!:

Tony Wedel, everyone. Please tip your waiters and waitresses. I'll be here all week.


Slade 9 years, 6 months ago

I'm glad someone finally mentioned bankruptcy around here. It's about time, because the actions of the voters of our district buffered by ill-timed and poorly considered decisions of the current board have made this a very real possibility for #348.

We NEED an open an honest dialogue about what's going on around here. The entire bond repayment mechanism is absolutely reliant on those little schools being open and thriving. I didn't know until my district tour that the two facilities the board has elected to close still have substantial future bond and interest payments on the books. The budgeted cost of educating kids at those facilities for next year is not zero. It's infinity.

I plead with anyone that can do so to please bring some real numbers to the table that consider all revenue sources to the district, and all associated expenditures, including the capital outlay and bond obligations. One-sided accounting practices don't cut it with me anymore. I want numbers, and not imaginary ones based on little more than optimism, pessimism, fear, or anger.

I've taken the time to look at our district's current financial situation from what I believe to be a comprehensive perspective, and the decisions to reallocate resources are quite simply preferences. That these preferences are tremendously shortsighted and fiscally irresponsible will be lost on any who don't care to take the time to investigate the fiscal and educational effectiveness of the district's assets.

I hope you enjoy your stay here this week. Baldwin City is a fantastic place. That's why if I can afford to do so, I'll very likely be here my whole life.


larry_and_ames 9 years, 6 months ago

Probably also worth noting that Ken Hayes "heartily" endorses Slade for School Board:

Just so everyone realizes, either Ken Hayes is for reopening Marion Springs and Vinland or he didn't do his homework before his endorsement.

Or, there could be another possibility, although it's too sinister to really consider ... that Slade and the other one-issue candidates are attempting to hide their singular mission to reopen the country schools from the voting public.

But it's not like I would expect Slade or any of the others to come out and say it, since that would take real courage.


Slade 9 years, 6 months ago

I wouldn't expect you to sign your name to an anonymous post, either. Since I'm already on the record stating that closing those little, efficient, and highest performing schools appears silly in any true statistical and academic measure, here you go--Keep those schools open. I am most definitely a one-position candidate: Educate those kids without killing this wonderful community.

The fact that there is a contingent across the community that is determined by motives I cannot easily identify to close and liquidate at below market value those schools come hell or high water, I will strengthen my previous instinct to open them both.

There's an assault on the rural schools all over the county right now that stinks of collusion. I don't think it's a coincidence at all that Wak Valley is about to be shut down by Lawrence.

Everyone has to hate something. I hate the New York Yankees. But they are not my friends and neighbors, and in the end, I can certainly can respect their performance and their prerogative.

For those of you in the voting community that hate little schools that work as well as any in the state, keep right on hating if you feel that's what you need to do, but don't try to justify that hatred behind a misrepresentation of flawed statistical data as fact. Back it up, or bring a better understanding of the sources of your discontentment to the table. Or vote for someone else. I'm tired of the adults in this town I love acting like a bunch of confused teenagers when the issues facing our community are quite serious, and merit discussion and thorough consideration. If you want to vote for someone who endorses closing the best performing schools in the district, go right ahead. I'm not your guy.

How's that for courage? What's your name again? I missed it. Oh, well. My phone number's right there above. We can talk about this. Or you can email me. But I doubt it. I can't speak for anybody else, but I am totally unafraid to speak for myself, and for what I have become absolutely convinced through a whole lot of statistical research, communication, and a clear understanding of the applicable demographic data.

I'm way past fear and misguided anger dictating my decision making process. Many people are not.


ksrush 9 years, 6 months ago

I would like to whole heartedly endorse you for the school board - in fantasy land. While you seem to have a fringe following the mainstream luckily opts for the financial, conservative side of reality. But good luck pimping an idea that's already been shot ( closed ) down.


larry_and_ames 9 years, 6 months ago

golf clap

Now how 'bouts the other single-issue candidates sound off, if they have the onions?

Or is it sufficient to say that since Sandy Chapman, Tony Wedel, and Shawn Nelson have all expressed their love for Slade that they are of the same mind? I'd hate to arrive at the wrong conclusion, but if they don't further clarify their position with regard to endorsing Slade then we really don't have much choice but to assume they feel the same way (and as strongly) as Slade.


greyghost 9 years, 6 months ago

baby claps

Larry here has to be one of the vocal one-issue minority in our district. School closure is their one issue. What else needs to happen? You just reallocated $200,000-$400,000 by closing elementary schools. You saved no money. You did not cut the budget. What are you going to be vocal about cutting now? How about sports, band, art, and any other luxury that is not essential to core education?

Put something on the table Larry. It can't be school closure, that's been done.


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