After about 5 minutes of consideration, we decided to issue a 2015 edition of our candidate questionnaire. We cobbled together questions from the discussions on the Facebook page and blog that engendered the most “hits” or comments. There are quite a few questions. We tried to keep them vague and open ended so that the candidates could respond as they see fit, rather than forcing them to engage in a debate with us. We understand that candidates may not be able to answer all of the questions we asked.
As of 8 PM on Tuesday, September 8, all school board candidates have been sent the questionnaire. We have asked them to have their responses tour by 9 PM on Monday, September 14. That gives them one week to respond to questions that require more than just a passing thought.
We will publish all responses received by the deadline. Responses received after the deadline will not be published.
The questions are below the fold.
Who are you?
Please introduce yourself and explain why you’re running.
Commitment to the job
Representing the citizens of this county on the school board will consume many hours of your time. You’ll be expected to research complex issues with no staff support in a short period of time. You’ll be expected to respond to citizens concerns and e-mails promptly, attend events at schools that your children don’t attend, and sit through meetings that sometimes last until the wee hours of the morning.
What have you done to demonstrate that you understand the level of work necessary to perform this job? How many school board meetings have you attended in the last year? How many had you attended before you decided to run? Have you attended a budget or CIP work session?
If you could wave your magic wand and make one thing happen immediately, without regard for cost or politics, what would that be?
If PWCS received $20 million that would be provided on an annual basis in perpetuity and was not restricted, what would you do with that money?
If you had to cut $10 million from the budget, what would you cut?
Do you believe classes in PWCS are too large, too small, or just about right?
If you believe class sizes are too large, do you believe they need to be reduced? If so, what is your plan for determining the appropriate size and bringing class sizes down, including paying for it?
Planning / CIP
Looking forward, do you believe PWCS is adequately planning for student growth?
If not, where do you think those plans are inadequate and what changes would you propose to address those deficiencies?
Lack of transparency in the process used to propose and amend school construction projects has resulted in the community losing trust in the school division. Ferlazzo Elementary and the pool in the 12th high school are examples of that lack of transparency.
Do you believe the process used to inform and solicit input from community about school development in their area is adequate? If you believe it is inadequate, what would you change?
Do you believe special education is adequately funded and supported in PWCS? If not, what areas do you believe are underfunded or inadequately supported and where would you look to find sufficient resources for it?
Students attending New Directions currently do not have transportation to or from school. They have to ride public transit, take cabs, or have their parents drop the off and pick them up. Do you believe PWCS should provide transportation for students attending New Directions? If so, would you vote to direct staff to ensure that transporting these students is a priority for the 2016 – 2017 school year?
Do you believe our faculty and staff are adequately compensated? If you believe compensation is inadequate, how would you propose increasing it, and how would you pay for it?
In recent years there has been a movement, both in PWCS and across the nation, for lesson pacing to be defined by central administration and mandated through common assessments that must be given within a set date range. This has left teachers with little ability to adapt lesson pacing to suit their personal instructional style and their students’ needs.
What are your thoughts on this movement? Do you believe it will improve student learning or do you believe it should be scaled back?
Zero Based Budgeting
Do you agree or disagree with the school board’s vote on zero-based budgeting? Do you believe any savings will be discovered as a result? Which departments / schools do you believe should be examined next, and why?
Do you believe the process used to review and adopt a budget should be changed? If so, what do you think can be done better and how would you change it?
Do you believe that the School Board should accept the school division’s proposed budget without adjustment, because the division and their staff know what’s best and it’s not the school board’s job to nickel and dime things?
Do you believe there are areas where savings can be found in the budget, and, if so, what are those areas?
Do you believe there are areas in the school division that are underfunded, and, if so, what are those areas and should funding them be a high priority for the school board?
What are your thoughts on the citizen budget advisory committees?
Do you believe the goals and objectives stated in the PWCS Strategic Plan should be the goals and objectives of the school division? If not, assuming you could change it, what changes would you make to it?
What do you believe should be the Superintendent’s goals and objectives for the 2016 – 2017 school year?