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Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Alexandria School Board…. Who Do I Vote For?

I get a ton of people asking me who they should vote for in this up coming School Board Campaign. I must answer the question at least a few times everyday. I am not sure why people are asking me, but it is probably because I have done so much research into the school system and the candidates. I posted a lot on this blog about what is going on in the schools and how the current school board is working. This blog gets about 500-1,000 visitors per day, with many coming from Alexandria and the surrounding areas. I feel like I have a lot invested in the future of the schools and want to do everything in my power to make sure my children have the best opportunity possible.

I have spent literally hours every week understanding and drilling into the school budget, school board and how the Alexandria School System is doing. Overall the system is working. It is heavy at the top and a lot of money is being allocated to the Central Office with a lot of disorganization. The Superintendents office is not very organized and they continue to have communication problems at all levels of the system. But this is not a surprise to anyone.

But the way I look at this school board race is that we have a great opportunity to add some energy and accountability to the system. We have been really lacking both and this is not one person’s fault. We had a dysfunctional school board and a lack of community outreach from the school system.

Well, the board needs a well rounded set of people to continue some great progress we have made as a community. Now, let's be honest, we have a great situation, as all the candidates that are running are great and can help fill the holes. I think we need to fill these gaps with the best people to help expand our strengths and minimize our weaknesses. Note, some of the holes are bigger than others.

Here is how I look at it…

Money - We need someone that has budget experience. The school system is 30% of our tax dollars and is bloated at the top. We need someone that has budget committee experience and has been in the trenches for the last few years. The insights into how the money is spent and what works and what doesn’t are critical. – This person is Arthur Peabody Jr.

Passion - We need someone that has kids in the school system and are going to be in the system for the whole term of the cycle. We need someone that also has spent time, a lot of time, in the schools as a tutor and/or volunteer. The insight into the way the schools work and how the classrooms are working is critical. – This person is Yvonne Folkerts.

New Ideas – Last, but not least, we need someone that brings some new ideas to the board. Someone that has experience in corporate America and can help bring some new concepts to an old system. Bringing some best practices to the school system and creating a support system is critical. – This person is Peter Smeallie.

I can’t guarantee that these are the most important priorities for our children and community, but I can promise these votes will not be wasted. It is clear these candidates are the best and will help lead our community and schools to the next level.

Disqus for Cold Kiwi