The uncertainty and downturn of our economy due to COVID-19 has caused families from around the country to "tighten their financial belt." As a district we must do the same. We must make sure that our contracts are competitive, meaning we are not paying too much for products and services and we must also make sure that we are conservative in our spending. Our spending must be focused on student achievement and securing safe, comfortable spaces for education.
The goal of ensuring that every student who graduates from the Stillwater Area Public School system is college and career ready cannot be taken lightly. Therefore, we must make closing the achievement gap among racial and ethnic groups, students living in poverty and students receiving special education services top priority. I have a plan that takes into consideration the family system. Studies show that if you support the family, the student does better in school. The achievement gap is a community issue and we as a community must come together and work towards closing this gap for good. Improved academic performance across our student populations would also likely draw more district families to choose ISD 834 schools.
As a father of a child with special needs, I know intimately the day-to-day challenge of advocating for your child’s education. As a member of the Board, I will be a champion for special needs families, always asking the question, “How does this policy affect students with special needs?” You will not find anyone who will fight harder to ensure that our special education program has all the recourses necessary to ensure student success.
In general, I am not a big supporter of non-voter approved levies because I believe the public should have a say in the financial investment in public schools. However, there are times when the need is so urgent that a non-voter approved levy may be necessary. The Brookview expansion is an example of a case that I would consider supporting a non-voter approved levy. However, I would also at the same time need to see a clear path to upgrading or replacing Lake Elmo Elementary, which is in major disrepair.
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