Security, constructing new faculties and instructor retention are high priorities for Mandan College Board candidates looking for election.
Six challengers and one incumbent are working for 3 at-large seats on the nine-person board. Board members Ross Munns and Tim Rector usually are not looking for reelection. College board members serve three-year phrases and obtain an annual wage of $4,400.
The candidates are Lorraine Davis, founding father of a number of nonprofit organizations benefiting low-income households; Lori Furaus, Bismarck Public Faculties instructor and incumbent who was first elected to the board in 2013; Tom Peters, retired Mandan Public Faculties assistant principal; Savannah Schmidt, accountant; Heidi Schuchard, youth employee with the Mandan Police Division; Karmen Siirtola, enterprise proprietor; and Dustine Simmons, warehouse particular person at Basin Electrical Energy Cooperative.
Candidates, who responded to a questionnaire from The Bismarck Tribune, agreed that the 2 new faculties being constructed within the district will assist make sure that college students have enough area because the district continues to develop.
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“The district continues to do an amazing job of taking a look at enrollment projections and dealing with town and different sources to see the place progress will most probably happen sooner or later,” Peters mentioned.
Siirtola and Davis mentioned you will need to discover a technique to steadiness the price range with out placing extra pressure on taxpayers. Schuchard mentioned as extra lecture rooms are constructed, the district additionally must deal with discovering lecturers to fill them.
“I consider that our district must be extra proactive with overcrowding in our faculties as a substitute of being reactive,” Schuchard mentioned. “We have to preserve present educators and proceed to extend the variety of new educators so classroom sizes will be smaller the place college students are capable of have extra instructor contact.”
Greater than half of the candidates recognized instructor retention as an necessary situation. When requested how they might assist lecturers, candidates steered creating extra communication alternatives and taking lecturers’ must coronary heart. Schmidt and Peters proposed retaining lecturers with fascinating profit packages. Furaus mentioned she wish to present methods to collect suggestions and achieve perspective from employees.
“Top-of-the-line methods to assist employees is to offer alternatives for them to have a voice within the decision-making course of,” Furaus mentioned. “One other essential technique to assist lecturers and employees is to make sure that buildings are adequately staffed and that staff have entry to the sources they should do their job efficiently.”
Some candidates expressed concern over nationalized politics interfering with teachers. A regulation handed final 12 months by the North Dakota Legislature prohibits faculties from together with instruction referring to important race idea, which is outlined within the invoice as the idea that racism just isn’t merely the product of discovered particular person bias or prejudice, however that racism is systemically embedded in American society and the American authorized system to facilitate racial inequality.
Candidates supported the laws, saying the idea is inappropriate for Ok-12 college students, or inaccurate.
“Important race idea ought to have by no means entered our faculties to start with,” Simmons mentioned. “How can our youngsters deal with studying if they’re constantly reminded of their race?”
Whereas they don’t assist educating important race idea in Mandan faculties, Furaus and Davis each mentioned they hope folks won’t confuse it with different initiatives.
“I hope folks don’t combine up important race idea with range, fairness and inclusion,” mentioned Davis, who’s founder and CEO of NATIVE Inc. and Native American Growth Middle.
One other nationwide matter making its technique to college boards and lawmakers is using cameras within the classroom. Davis, Peters, Schmidt and Simmons mentioned they might not assist putting in cameras in lecture rooms.
Furaus, Schuchard and Siirtola mentioned they would want to know the rationale why the cameras are getting used earlier than they might assist them in lecture rooms.
“It comes right down to motive,” Siirtola mentioned. “If cameras are wanted due to elevated security considerations attributable to outdoors forces, then sure, cameras serve a objective. Total, we should take a look at research which are out there relating to the psyche of our kids. Do they take a look at cameras as a plus or a minus? A number of avenues must be thought of earlier than making the definitive selection.”
The entire candidates agreed that neighborhood members ought to play some function in reviewing curriculum.
“As a mother, I wish to know and perceive what my kids are studying,” Schmidt mentioned. “It is necessary in a profitable college district to construct connections between mother and father, communities, employees, and college board. With these connections, we are able to strengthen the assist of our college students.”
Attain Alex Kautzman at 701-250-8255 or firstname.lastname@example.org.