Friday, October 30, 2009

Tom Kasper

At Large school board candidate answers The Hillsider questionnaire (vote for two)

See questionnaire here

1. Most important responsibility
The most important responsibility of a school board member is to honestly and openly represent all students, parents, and taxpayers of the district equally.
2. Nutritional health
I think our school lunch programs should offer a broad variety of healthy, nutritious lunch choices. For some students lunch may be their best opportunity to eat healthy.
3. Red Plan and soothing divides
My position has been that of moderation.
I believe there are parts of the “red plan” that are good, for instance, the upgrades to facilities like Denfeld and East. Both are historic structures that have served our community well and with improvements will continue to serve for many generations. Also, things like improving safety of our students and staff is long overdue. A safe school environment is essential to students’ learning. I also believe that improving accessibility is paramount. No student regardless of physical ability should be excluded from a classroom setting. I also believe that some very selective school consolidation is necessary. ISD 709 has a declining enrollment because of many factors and we can no longer sustain the amount of buildings we have in the district.
However before any school building is closed exhaustive measures need to be taken to ensure the necessity of that action.
Regardless of what plan was brought forward there should have been an opportunity for the public to weigh in through a referendum. For that reason as well as others the community is deeply divided on this. I think first and foremost we need to re-establish trust in our elected school board officials and, if I am fortunate enough to be elected, I will work tirelessly toward that.
4. Federal No Child Left Behind Act.
I think the No Child Left Behind mandate is necessary. We need a form of accountability that allows us to measure the success of our students on a larger scale. However, it, like any other mandate whether state or federal, needs to be adequately funded.
5. Weapons policy/small pocketknives?
I would not support a change to the district’s weapons policy. Even a small pocketknife, if used inappropriately, can cause bodily harm. I believe we need to make and keep our schools as safe as possible.
6. Role of U.S. Constitution
The United States Constitution has given us a representative form of democracy as a foundation of government. In the school board member’s case citizens voted them into leadership to represent them. If citizens disagree with their leadership they have the opportunity to vote them out in future elections.
7. Class size
I believe that large class sizes are an unseen consequence of the Red Plan. With school closures being rushed in advance of the plan, kids are forced into cramped conditions where learning could be compromised. Teachers with large class sizes have little ability to offer students necessary one-on-one guidance. This ultimately can lead to lower test scores and students falling behind. I believe it can also lead to teacher burn-out and frustration. If I am fortunate enough to be elected I will work to ensure that as much of every dollar as possible will go directly to the classroom to support teachers efforts to educate our children.