Winsted-Lester Prairie Journal, Oct. 25, 1999
Lester Prairie School Board candidate profiles
Three candidates are seeking the three available positions in the Nov. 2 Lester Prairie School Boad election.
1. Describe your past commitment to and your involvement in public schools, including enrollment decisions concerning your own children.
2. Would you vote for school reform plans, vouchers and other initiatives that would permit parents to use public funds to send their children to private elementary and secondary school?
3. What should be the role of a school board member in selecting textbooks and curriculum materials? Who should be involved in the process of selecting textbooks and curriculum materials?
4. Do you support inclusion in the curriculum of courses and materials dealing with multi-culturalism?
5. Do you believe the following should be included in family life or health education programs? a. sex education; b. parenting; c. AIDS education; d. contraception alternatives; e. abstinence only; f. wellness clinics; g. alternative lifestyles
6. What is your position on teaching creationism as an alternative to the theory of evolution in public schools?
7. Do you support school prayer in public schools? If so, under what circumstances do you believe prayer in public schools is appropriate?
8. Recent research and court actions indicate that sexual harassment is a problem at schools. How do you believe schools should address this issues?
9. What will be your top five objectives if you are elected to the school board?
10. Describe what you believe is the primary function of a school board member? What special contribution could you make as a board member?
11. As the district is involved in a long range planning discussion, what would your recommendation be for the district to move towards?
12 Given that the district will be voting on an excess levy referendum the evening of the election, what should the district do with the funds if it passes, and how should it proceed if it does not?
13. Feel free to discuss any issues which you believe are important that have not been touched upon by previous questions.
1. My past commitment to public schools has been demonstrated by my service on the Lester Prairie School Board for the past three years. My children are enrolled in Lester Prairie School and Little Learners preschool.
2. I do not support the use of public funds to send children to private schools. I believe our public school system would suffer if the limited public funds that are available were to be used to send children to private schools.
3. The Board of Education is legally responsible for the operation of the school. The responsibility for the selection of instructional materials is delegated to licensed personnel.
4. The inclusion of multi-cultural, gender-fair and disability sensitive material in the curriculum plan is the policy of our school district and the Minnesota State Board of Education. Our responsibility in public education is to prepare young people to live and work in a multi-ethnic, gender-fair and disability-sensitive society.
5. Regarding the topics taught in the Family Life and Health Education courses: It is the policy of our school district to provide materials on opposing sides of controversial issues so that young citizens may develop, under guidance, the practice of critical reading and thinking.?
6. With regard to creationism vs. the theory of evolution I also refer to our policy of providing materials on opposing sides of issues.
7. Prayer in schools is a personal issue for each student. With the cultural diversity of the United States, formal prayer in one religion would not support the multi-cultural policy of most schools.
8. The Lester Prairie School district has a policy that prohibits all forms of discrimination. A procedure is in place for reporting and investigating such discrimination.
9. My top five objectives if elected to the school board are: 1. to ensure that every student in the district is given the opportunity to learn; 2. to ensure that the Lester Prairie School District maintains a viable program; 3. to work on a long-term space plan; 4. to ensure the balance between academics, arts and athletics; 5. to encourage and increase parental involvement in the school
10. The primary function of a school board member is to work closely with the administration and staff to ensure that the best education is provided to the youth of the district. I will bring to the district a commitment to public education in Lester Prairie.
11. The district should be looking for innovative ways to efficiently use the current space while exploring alternative options for expansion space.
As the city and townships grow, the school will need to make plans for additional building space.
12. If the excess levy does not pass, the district must look at ways to reduce its operating budget. We will also need to approach the district again for an excess levy.
13. Lester Prairie has an excellent school that with continued support from this community can continue to provide and expand its quality education for the students of this district and those that chose to open enroll to our school.
1. I moved from the Twin Cities metro area out to Lester Prairie five years ago. One of the major considerations for us was the school district our children would attend. We wanted a smaller environment where children and their families would be treated as individuals and be allowed to grow to their fullest potential. We have a daughter in Lester Prairie Elementary School and one that will start preschool in two years. I have been on the school board for one 4-year term and am seeking reelection.
2. I do not think that voucher plans which redirect dollars from public schools to private schools are in the best interest of the vast majority of our families. Public schools are already suffering from funding shortfalls. Competition is often cited as a reason to be in favor of these reform initiatives. I believe that public schools can compete given a level playing field. Private schools get to play by different rules such as student admission and dismissal. Many private school representatives I've spoken with would rather keep things the way they are than to have the public school mandates applied to them.
3. The School Board is a policy making body with oversight of all activities. I have no interest in micromanaging the process of procuring educational supplies. We use a process of teacher/principal evaluation along with input from a committee which includes parents. This was done with success 2 years ago when we purchased a new elementary reading curriculum.
4/5.Much of the course work we cover is mandated by the State of Minnesota.
As such, topics such as multiculturalism, sex education, parenting, AIDS education, family planning are included in our curriculum. The exact method of classroom delivery is something I defer to the professional teachers we hire each year. Our teaching these topics must not be seen as usurping the parent's role in raising their children. The public schools only provide the safety net of a base level of information on these topics. Values like these must be enforced in the home through family communication.
6. The public schools should be about providing information/knowledge to students so that they are ready to become contributing adults in an ever changing world. Theories such as evolution vs. creationism should be presented to the students so that they along with their parents can come to some understanding.
7. School Prayer: The separation of church and state requires that we do nothing to promote religious beliefs in the public arena. This does not however mean that we should remove that right from those who choose to exercise it. Classroom time should not be used to this end but voluntary activities outside educational time should be allowed to use district facilities for that purpose.
8. Sexual harassment should not be condoned or left unpunished in any venue.
In business, there is a common Human Resources policy which states that there is 'ZERO TOLERANCE' for harassment of any kind. Our young people should be treating each other properly thereby preparing themselves for the world after leaving our school.
9. Top 5 objectives:
a. student achievement
b. financial responsibility
c. staff development
d. facilities review/planning
e. long range planning
10. A school board member is part of a team of people elected to watch over one of our community's most important assets. We should be keeping our eyes on what is best for our kids. I have been on the board for four years and have learned much. I understand the issues and have taken the initiative to research and attend training on many topics. I have children in the school, which keeps me somewhat in tune with the day-to-day pulse of the facility.
I have a degree in Economics, which helps me understand the funding of K-12 education.
11. Long-Range planning is a process. I think that we have much of the information we need in our hands to finalize some planning in the next year.
The only specifics I can state are: a) do whatever possible to keep district #424 strong and independent; b) be willing partner with the city and townships in their planning efforts. The excess levy referendum being voted on in November will have a great impact on what constraints we need to work within.
12. I will think positively, that the excess levy referendum will pass, rather than negatively that it won't . I have been on record for this levy for over two years and I brought the motion to the board last winter. We need to provide our school the resources our neighboring districts already have if we are to be able to continue providing a quality education to our children. The dollars raised by this referendum will provide the operating funds for continuing current programs. There would also be some amount left over to upgrade the level of technology available to the students. Finally, I would hope that there would be dollars left over to upgrade some of our programs. If the referendum fails at the polls, it will be an unmistakable message to me that there is not the level of support needed in this district to continue and improve upon our school system. We would need to do what any individual does when their checkbook is running low; cutback where possible and postpone any improvements.
13. Open Enrollment: Our district has not grown over the last couple of decades to the point where we can support a K-12 school on the basis of school-age children residing within our boundaries. Due to what is seen as a quality educational experience, we have a very large net influx of students from neighboring districts through the open enrollment program.
Our current survival depends on keeping these 'doors' open to all. I have a future vision of a time when our district grows to the point where we can support the school with our own children alone.
When that time comes, I would push to lower the number of open enrolled students for two reasons:
a) it is not our taxpayers' financial responsibility to build/maintain buildings and infrastructure needed to educate students from outside our district;
b) we need to help the district's growth (city and townships) by insisting that one lives in the district if they want to send their children here.
My name is Robert (Bob) Remer. My wife's name is Marcy. We have 5 children. Ben, a 1998 graduate of LPHS and currently a student at Ridgewater College in Hutchinson; Bryan, a senior; Leah, a ninth grader; Evan, a seventh grader; and Abby, a fifth grader.
I am originally from Brooten, Minn. where I farmed for 17 years until back problems forced me to seek a different occupation.
I graduated from Ridgewater College with a degree in metrology and am currently a metrology technician with MTS Systems in Eden Prairie.
1. We looked at many different schools and towns in the area surrounding Hutchinson before we moved to Lester Prairie in the summer of 1996. We chose Lester Prairie because of the small town atmosphere and small sized school, which was similar to the school district we moved from. We like the opportunity for involvement in extra curricular activities that a school this size offers our kids.
2. I would not vote for plans that would let parents pay for private school education with public funds.
3. I believe that the teachers should be the ones involved in selecting textbooks for their students. They are the individuals best suited to access the value of the teaching material and will be the primary users. The school board should possibly over see the process and retain some right to veto.
4. I do support the inclusion of multi-culturalism in the school system. It is good to see how other people live in the world in comparison to our environment.
5. I believe that sex education, parenting, AIDS education, abstinence, and wellness clinics should be taught in school. Of the other two, their place is not in public schools.
6. I believe that creationism should be taught along with the theory of evolution.
7. I believe that prayer should be allowed in school, but if it is not a valued practice at home I don't believe it does much good making the kids pray in school.
8. Schools need to have zero tolerance for all forms of harassment weather it is sexual in nature or not.
School needs to be a safe place for kids to learn and not one where they have to worry about their security.
9. My number one objective is to make sure that Lester Prairie schools stay in Lester Prairie. The town that we moved from paired with the neighboring town and that experience taught me how much a town risks losing when the school is gone. After that I only want the best education at an affordable price for our kids.
10. To see that the school reflects the needs of the community. My special contribution to the school board would be that I have kids in school and am more in touch with what goes on in the school as it relates to the students.
11. I believe that we need more room for our students. I believe that in the future more people will choose to send their kids to Lester Prairie Schools for the same reasons that my wife and I chose this school and this town.
12. They should use the money to better educate our kids If it doesn't pass then we have to make the best use of the assets we have.
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