Archive for Thursday, March 31, 2005

School Board hopefuls want technology

March 31, 2005

Candidates for the Eudora USD 491 Board of Education had the opportunity to let voters know what they stood for at a candidate forum March 23 sponsored by the Eudora Chamber of Commerce.

The candidates were given the opportunity to introduce themselves and explain why they deserved votes in the April 5 election. After their introductions each candidate was given one question for discussion.

School Board candidates are Branden Boyd, Marion Johnson, Jim Martin and incumbents Brenda Clark and Bob Rice.

Johnson and Boyd were not able to attend the forum.

Johnson's wife, Vicki Johnson, appeared in his stead with notes from the candidate on issues facing the school district.

Unable to attend, Boyd submitted a letter stating his qualifications and interest in the School Board position.

Boyd has lived in Eudora since 1984 and is a graduate of Eudora High School. He earned a bachelor's degree from Kansas University in civil engineering and works for a local contracting company. He is married to lifetime Eudora resident Kirstin (Rice) Boyd.

On finance issues, Boyd wrote he would like for the School Board to continue to attempt to pay teachers what they deserve and still offer students the best technology possible.

"The school (district) can't function without a budget that will support its need," he wrote. "We can't afford to hire the teachers we need or pay the ones we have, keep the classrooms small enough so that all students get a better chance to learn, build the infrastructure to support the growth and offer the education needed without a supporting budget. A staff of 100 professional financial experts would still never come up with a solution for the perfect budget. This means as a community and as Board members we must find every possible way to ensure that if any Kansas budget cuts come, they don't come knocking on the educational system's door."

Boyd wrote he would also like to see the school district make preparations for higher education a priority by offering advanced courses to its students.

Johnson has lived in Eudora for 10 years and has had three sons in the Eudora school system.

"The Eudora school system has given a lot to our family over the last 10 years," he said in a letter read aloud by his wife at the forum.

Johnson served on the USD 491 Board of Education from 1997 to 2001, including one year as president of the board. He said his experience would allow him to "hit the ground running" if he was elected.

Martin has lived in Eudora for eight years and has three children in Eudora schools. He is a detective with the Lawrence Police Department and president of the Lawrence Fraternal Order of Police. He said he has been very happy with the school district and that having his children in the schools gave him great interest in being involved making decisions for the schools.

Martin said his experience as a leader with the Fraternal Order of Police had taught him budgeting skills that would be beneficial as a board member. Although the district's budget is largely determined by the state, he said he wanted to be part of the budget planning to make sure important programs weren't cut and facilities were efficient.

"We're here mainly for the kids," he said. "To make sure they get a quality education."

Clark has been a Eudora resident for 20 years and is completing her second term on the School Board. Her children were educated in the Eudora school system, and Clark has 22 years of work experience in other school districts.

Clark was instrumental in re-establishing the Parent/Teacher Organization in Eudora schools in 1991 and served as president of the organization.

She said one of her priorities was to stay current on technology and make sure students are being prepared for an increasingly technological working environment after high school.

"We would be really negligent not to teach technology," she said. "That's a costly item, but I think that we have done the right things so far. I would like to see that continue, and I would like to be a part of it."

Rice said he and his children were all educated in Eudora public schools. He has been on the School Board for 16 years.

"We've got a lot of neat stuff going on in our district," he said.

He said the biggest issues facing the district were growth and a lack of funding.

Polls for the Eudora USD 491 Election will be open 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesday.

Commenting has been disabled for this item.