Archive for Sunday, March 24, 2013

Two candidates vying for open Baldwin USD 348 seat answer questions

Baldwin USD 348 Board of Education

Baldwin USD 348 Board of Education

March 24, 2013

Toby Ebel

Toby Ebel

Toby Ebel

What prompted you to run for board?

Toby Ebel

Occupation: LMS System Administrator at Baker University

Education: Bachelor’s from the University of Kansas, teaching certification from Baker University

Political experience: None

Community involvement: Committee member for 2008 USD348 Bond Issue, long time basketball coach for K-6 at BCRC, referee for summer basketball at BHS, volunteered to create and implement BCRC dynamic website free of charge, volunteer at BHS track meets.

Family: son Britton (19), daughter Grace (13)

I’ve been interested in helping this district and community for a number of years if the community feels I can be of value. My two children have had very positive experiences in this school district and if I can give a little back, I would enjoy doing so. Also, there are times when I’ve been critical of some of the decisions made by the board and administrators, and I’m a firm believer that you cannot just complain about something and sit around hoping others will take care of the problems. So, I am running to offer what guidance and support I can based on my background and experiences living in this community for the last 16 years. Feel free to visit my website at www.electebel.com to learn more.

Q. What in you background would help prepare you for the position?

A. I finished my undergraduate degree in English literature at the University of Kansas in 1995 and then completed my teacher certification at Baker University. From 1997 to 2000, I taught junior and senior English at Pomona High School in the West Franklin district. I was chair of the English department, sponsor of the Chess Club, and was an assistant coach in volleyball, basketball and golf.

Currently, I am the LMS System Administrator at Baker University, where I have worked for the past 12 years. My responsibilities include administration of the learning management software for all online courses. Other duties include helping faculty build and facilitate their online courses, managing our emergency alert software and services, and training faculty and students on a variety of technical opportunities available to them.

Prior to 2003, I worked in the office of the registrar with responsibility for transfer evaluations and maintenance of its website and later was appointed Baker’s first webmaster. Prior to Baker, I worked briefly for AllofE, an Internet company in Lawrence, where I developed interactive and Flash websites for clients.

Q. All indications are USD 348 and other districts will see a reduced level of funding from the state as a result of last year’s income tax reduction. What do you think the board’s priority should be if state funding is indeed cut?

A. Without access to some of the key details, at this point it looks like we need to make sure we have enough money in the budget to maintain what we currently have. If cuts are required, priority would of course go to maintaining the facilities we currently use, our educational opportunities for students in the classrooms, and making certain we can keep the quality teachers and coaches that we have. If we have remaining excess properties for sale, making those sales a priority might help alleviate some of the funding cuts, should that happen.

Q. The board recently approved providing iPads to all high school students starting with the 2013-2014 school year. Would you have supported that measure and would you support their eventual introduction into the middle school?

A. Again, without the details of the plan for using the iPads, I can’t say for certain I would have supported the measure. However, in general, I know that technology in the classroom, when used effectively, can benefit students and teachers. However, I am concerned about many things with regards to this measure, and can’t wait to get on the board and learn how teachers and students will make use of these so that student achievement is significantly increased.

My current position at Baker allows me the opportunity to witness first hand how powerful technology can be in the hands of a knowledgeable teacher who uses it as an extension to their everyday lesson plans, and not simply as an e-reader. I’m also concerned about the turnover of these iPads, but my assumption is that the fine board members and administrators we have serving now did their due diligence and have put in place an effective and financially sound plan. Basically, this is how I can see it benefiting students in middle school, as well, if a similar measure comes up in the future.

Q. Do you think the district has been aggressive enough in marketing its excess properties? If not, what more do you think the district should be doing?

A. I’ve have been happy with the marketing of our current excess properties. I know of a few opportunities that came about, and when it was right, the board pulled the trigger and made the sale. If they weren’t a good fit for us, they have rightfully declined and awaited a better opportunity.

Gregory “Greg” Kruger

Gregory "Greg" Kruger

Gregory "Greg" Kruger

Q. What prompted you to run for the board?

A. I have a passion for community service and doing whatever I can to make our community a better place. One of the most important and vital segments of our community is our children and the schools they attend. I want to ensure that the best decisions possible are made concerning our schools and the education our kids receive.

Gregory “Greg” Kruger

Occupation: Branch manager of Kansas State Bank in Baldwin

Education: Kansas City Kansas Community College and the University of Kansas

Political experience:

--Current president of the Baldwin City Chamber of Commerce

--Current board member of the Baldwin City Recreation Commission

Community involvement:

--Current member of the Baldwin City High School SITE Council

--Local volunteer firefighter /nationally certified in Fire I and Fire II

-- Certified EMT / Fire 1 Instructor

--Past member Baldwin City Economic Development Committee

--Past member Douglas County Community Emergency Response Team

--Past member Douglas County HAZMAT Team

Family:

My wife Cindy works at Baldwin High School and my son Cody is in the Army National Guard and is a corrections officer in Shawnee County. Cody attended USD 348 schools from kindergarten through graduation of high school.

Q. What in your background would help prepare you for the position?

A. I believe that with my business and leadership skills, I can help our school district navigate the challenges before it to help give our children every advantage we can. I have years of experience serving on boards and committees and know how to work with people to get things accomplished. Also, as the parent of a student who was in this district throughout his school years, I am quite familiar with this school system and the issues it faces.

Q. All indications are USD 348 and other districts will see a reduced level of funding from the state as a result of last year’s income tax reduction. What do you think the board’s priority should be if state funding is indeed cut?

A. Unfortunately, in today’s economic times, funding cuts are an almost constant certainty, and we have to do the best with the hand we are dealt when it comes to that. While the state’s decisions as to our funding are largely out of our control, the board’s priority should always be to give the kids the best education possible. I will look long and hard at all options in evaluating what will be in the best interest of our children. Difficult choices sometimes have to be made, but my focus will always be on the kids.

Q. The board recently approved providing iPads to all high school students starting with the 2013-2014 school year. Would you have supported that measure and would you support their eventual introduction into the middle school?

A. A primary focus of K-12 education is to ensure that our high school graduates are college and career ready. As a banker and a business owner, I see daily how technology is used in the work place. I vow to do everything in my power to make sure our school system provides our children with the tools they need to successfully face their future. As a member of the school board, that will be my focus: Making sure our children are prepared for the world they will be entering. It’s all about the kids. Giving them the best head start for their future should be our number one goal.

Q. Do you think the district has been aggressive enough in marketing its excess properties? If not, what more do you think the district should be doing?

A. I am a licensed real estate agent in Kansas. With my years of experience in this field as well as many personal contacts in the profession, I can bring to the table many ideas on marketing the properties.

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