School board forum answers: John Dunbar
Position #2 Candidate
Knowing the current budget position and potential future reductions, would you support or oppose reopening the Vinland and/or Marion Springs schools at this time, and why?
I would oppose re-opening them at this time, but I would be interested in opening them as soon as the funding would allow. The reason for this is that I believe that education should be kept as local as possible.
If elected, what will be your top three objectives, and why?
A. Dive into the budgets and get hands on view of where our tax dollars are going and why. This is the most critical thing we face.
B. Have a meeting with the teachers and staff, and re-establish a level of professionalism with how their jobs should be carried out. I have been told that the teachers struggle with so many of their own problems; they lack the ability to handle the student’s problems.
C. I would like to find a program that would test teachers on the subjects they intend to teach our kids. I want to ensure that those teaching have the basic skills for the classes they are teaching.
In a time with so many negatives within our school district, (job losses, budget cuts, closing of schools, etc.), how can you promote a more positive climate as a board member?
I would like to focus on how we were successful historically, and redirect our finances as needed to shore up the district. We need to get serious with our communities and explain to them our situation we are all facing. We need to encourage greater involvement from the parents at the home level, because education is a complete process that starts in the home and continues in the classroom.
Sports and extracurricular activities are viewed by many as part of a well rounded educational experience. With the strain on the districts budget, at what point would you consider cutting the funding on these activities?
It would depend on the amount of students desiring to participate in the activity and the over-all cost for the school to provide service.
In your opinion, what is the goal of public education (K-12)?
To equip the students to enter life with the skills and knowledge necessary for the field of work they desire to enter into. And to build character within each child to have integrity. (On the second item mentioned, most of this comes from the home).
Do you believe that the current board and administration is performing their duties at an acceptable level, why or why not?
I don’t know for sure. In the years that have gone by, we possessed a magic that I fear that we are losing.
What other issues, besides the budgetary concerns, do you feel need to be addressed? Please explain.
I believe that our teachers have the power to generate interest in learning. This needs to be achieved. If the teachers don’t want to be doing what they are doing, how can we expect the students to want to learn? We need incentives for the teachers to be the best they can be, and in so doing, they need to be expected to be an example in front of the students in every way, this includes the way they speak in front of students with regard to other teachers, and they in no circumstances should use offensive language. They should lead by their good examples.
Describe your personal and professional experiences that you feel make you the most qualified candidate for the USD #348 School Board?
I personally have attended approximately 22 years of education and have had the opportunity to be under the instruction of excellent educators as well as poor ones.
I have served in capacities in which I have instructed children for over 20 years. This experience has given me some understanding of what educators face.
My wife and I have reared 6 children of our own, in which we have utilized all forms of educational opportunities.
I have also had the opportunity to be in business for myself for the last 21 years. With this have come the burdens and the successes that come with this privilege. Tough decisions had to be made nearly every day, and the consequences of these decisions were felt in many diverse areas. The management skills that are learned here are taught no-where else.
Assume that you have been elected to the school board and the district is faced with needing to make an additional cut to its budget. The school board is given the following 6 categories to make those cuts, list the categories in the order in which you would look to make those cuts (1 – the 1st category you would cut, 6 – the last category you would cut):
6 2 Teachers
4 1 Sports/Extra-curricular Activities
3 3 Support Staff
5 4 Curriculum
1 5 Administration
2 6 Maintenance/Repairs