Q&A with incumbent school board members

Stephanie Ivankovich
Q&A with incumbent school board members

Three school board director seats are open this fall. Six people have shown interest to take those spots. Incumbents Jim Lutmer and Kenia Alarcon are the candidates for the election Sept. 8. Other candidates are Susan Brelsford, Linda Andorf, Corey Eastman and Pete Malmberg.

Jim Lutmer

Job:Store Manager for Shopko for 22 years.

What is your view of public education’s purpose?

Public Education is there to educate all kids. It allows all students to learn and grow to become knowledgeable for whatever they choose to do after graduation. It should be a place where they feel safe and are allowed to set and achieve the goals that they want to strive for.

What will be your top five objectives, if elected to the school committee?

1. Making sure all students are provided the opportunity to get a quality education and graduate.

2. Continue to improve the image of our school district.

3. Continue to put the pressure on the state and federal government to get the funding needed for the district. We cannot be continually under budgeted every year, our kids will suffer.

4. Continue to improve the communication between the city, parents and the school district. We have seen/shown a lot of improvement in this area over the last year or two. A couple of examples are, We meet with city leaders once a quarter as well as have board retreats every quarter. 5. We need to make sure that we all continue to work as a team, the board can only be successful if they have the same objective, to do what is right for the kids. If it does not benefit our kids we should not be doing it.

What long-range plan would you want to implement for the school district? (May include growth, curriculum, staffing, and/or parental involvement.)

This is both a short and long range plan for,our district as well as other districts. Like I said earlier we need to get our state representatives to get us our needed funding. If we continue to be under budgeted year after year our kids will suffer as well as our staff. We will not be able to go out and update or add to the curriculum, buy new text books, or update our technology that we put in place a couple years ago.

Do you have any specific changes you want to make in school district policies, programs, or the various school curricula being offered? If so, what changes do you want to make and why?

There is not much one person can do, one must remember that we are a team and we must all have the same agenda, to do what is right for our kids. Remember, they are the reason we are doing this.

Other Comments:

I am re-running for the school board again because of the passion I have to make sure our kids are given every opportunity to get a good quality education. We all live in a great community and deserve to have a top notch school system. As a current board member I know what it’s going to take to achieve this. We need to celebrate our improving test scores and continue to try and give our staff what they need to get the job done. We have a excellent staff and need to find ways to keep it that way.

Kenia Alarcon

Job: Branch manager at Family Credit Union

What is your view of public education’s purpose?

I’ve have always believed education is the key to success or in other words knowledge is power. Education is an empowering process where kids have the opportunity to self discover themselves and develop what they are most passionate about. Public education involves teaching our kids the most basic things from reading and writing to learning how to interact with others. As a parent I see Public education as a priority for my child.

What will be your top five objectives, if elected to the school committee?

In my opinion my number one priority would be making sure we are focusing on all of our students and giving every child the attention needed. For those who need the extra help, making sure they are receiving it and for the talented making sure we are creating ways, classes that will challenge them as well. The district’s goal is have each child be proficient in both reading and Math and we can only accomplish this by giving our kids the attention needed. Secondly, in order for help our kids become proficient we need to make sure we have the right people on board. This can only happen if teachers have the right tools and training needed. Every teacher needs to know that we as a board are here to support them. Third, parent involvement plays a vital role in our kids education, we need to learn to work together and know that without one or the other it will be a long and painful battle in helping our kids succeed. we need to find creative ways for parents to become involved in our kids education. Fourth, technology has become an integral part of society and it plays an important role in education and as such Perry has done a great job in introducing the 1 on 1 laptop initiative and its our duty to keep our technology updated. Lastly, we need to continue to have a safe learning environment for all kids.

What long-range plan would you want to implement for the school district? (May include growth, curriculum, staffing, and/or parental involvement.)

Every year parent involvement is a challenge and as district we need to think of creative ways to get our parents to become involved. I truly believe parent involvement is a key factor in education.

Do you have any specific changes you want to make in school district policies, programs, or the various school curricula being offered? If so, what changes do you want to make and why?

Funding is something I would want to see change, but unfortunately this is something that is out of our control. It is extremely hard to explain how we can build new buildings yet not have the ability to purchase new materials or supplies and even having to reduce staff. The way funding is allocated and spent is a challenging topic and very difficult to understand.