School board position 3 candidate: Slade Dillon
Name: Slade Dillon
Date of birth: 10/1/71
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. firstname.lastname@example.org, 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.