As voters head to the polls in April, the Cass County Democrat Missourian asks candidates important questions regarding their district’s school board.
1. The overall state budget continues to take big cuts. If education becomes a major piece of those cuts over the next several years, what changes would you be prepared to support in order to accommodate less funding for your district?
Doug Alexander: I believe the school district has to look at the fund allocations and work to find a budget which allows them to work within their means. I think you have to be willing to look at all options that are proposed and be willing to make recommendations based on the best information available to you. In private business, we do benchmarking studies to see what other companies of similar size are doing; evaluate if the finding could be modified or applied to our company; and evaluate the ramification of any recommendations or changes with the overall goal of doing what is best. Right now I am not aware of any changes or cuts that would have to be made in our district. It is my understanding the current administration implemented some changes to the financial structure (debt service) which enhanced the district’s financial strength.
Jerald Dickey: I know that difficult decisions sometimes have to be made to the budget. I am a business owner and if and when those changes have to be made, they will have to be taken in order of priority. So, at this time I am unprepared to say what changes needs to be made to accommodate less funding in our district.
Theresa Stephens: With the federal government’s involvement over state and local school board, it becomes harder to obtain funds and use them where we see fit. Missouri tax dollars kept in-state would be spent more efficiently, thus providing better opportunity for quality education. Local businesses that will sponsor our schools could provide additional funding by contributing annually or funding incentive programs to motivate students. School fundraisers have always benefited our school programs, and should be continued. With the support of the citizens of Harrisonville we can come together for our children and still succeed.
Deb Welhoff: Unfortunately potential and real educational state budget cuts have been a major concern for several years now. We, as a school district, must continue to focus on spending our resources wisely, reviewing and refining each program/contract, and striving to ensure that our students’ continued academic growth is at the center of each and every financial decision.
Susie Yoder: First of all, I will continue to vote for elected officials who support education. Should the legislators make major cuts to the funding of our district, I would work with the other board members, administrators, parents, and students, to make the best decision for our schools. To make an assessment, data must be gathered and analyzed, the needs and priorities of our faculty, staff, parents, students, and administrators must be weighed before a budget decision can be made. As a former teacher with 33 years of experience, the parent of three grown children, and two grandchildren in the Harrisonville District, I would not make any decisions without due diligence, putting our students first.