*Candidate responses were not modified or altered.
Q1. The resurgence of Black Lives Matter has shined a spotlight on the failure of police departments throughout the country to truly ensure public safety. What would you do to address school police and discriminatory punishment procedures in regards to black and immigrant students?
Q2. In addition to school police, how would you address racial injustice in education?
Q3. COVID-19 has devastated local budgets. What would you do to address budget shortfalls in the school district?
A1. Research, ask, listen, implement, evaluate and improve.
Form a community and school committee, comprised of interested, caring and fair individuals who are authentically interested in listening, learning and improving policing in our schools for all students.
The first step for the committee is to identify and define discriminatory punishment procedures (laws [state and federal], school regulations) that are in place in regards to our black and immigrant students. The second step is to capture input from individuals (students, families, employees and the public) who have experienced discrimination in order to understand their experience. Third, capture the input of school police in order to understand their obligation and experience. Raringly, are problems of the “human condition” solved calmly, equitably and sustainably without a deep-dive into personal situations. We must understand the rules and roles that guide each individuals decisions and then move into working together to solve identified problems. Ensuring the safety of the public is an on-going process that requires diligence, honesty, collaboration and adherence to laws, regulations and rules of human decency.
A2. Same process as the first answer. In fact, I know that a comprehensive deep-dive into the first question must include the conceptual understandings and contextual situations of “racial injustice.”
A3. 1) Understand how budgets in Nevada are formulated – Nevada Plan / Distributive School Accounts in an effort to understand the “big picture.”
2) Fully review the WCSD budgets and all components that comprise money in and money out. Ask the experts for help, listen and keep asking.
3) Work closely with relevant district departments to understand historical, current and future budget planning processes and strategies for budget decisions.
4) Align spending with district goals, while maintaining an awareness of possibilities, challenges and necessary expenses versus wishes.
5) Continue to engage the community in efforts to design strategies that strengthen educational programming and support community endeavors.
6) Collaborate, Collaborate, Collaborate
A1. I do not agree with the beginning of your statement regarding failure of police departments throughout the country, there is not evidence that this is occurring. are there failures, sure but I do not believe nor have I seen any evidence that it is systemic. Never the less, discrimination is not tolerable, every student should be treated the same in regards to law enforcement in the school district. I believe this is already policy but it there are problem, they should be addressed.
A2. I believe that every student should have an opportunity for the same education no matter their ethnicity and I have not seen any statistical data that clearly shows racial injustice in the Washoe County School District. If it there is data that supports your claim, I would be happy to review it and work with others to resolve the issues.
There is currently a problem with poor performing schools in our community that need to be resolved. I do not see this as a racial issue as much as it is a geographic issue. more emphasis needs to be made on allocating appropriate funding so that schools are equal in the terms of technology, in addition standards and accountability need to be established in order to improve the poor performing schools in order to close any educational gaps.
Expansion of charter schools would also be an effective way of giving parents zoned for these poor performing schools to have more choice in the education of their children and charter schools have been very effective in closing educational gaps.
A3. As a School Board Trustee, we only have authority in how we utilize the funds allocated to the schools from the legislature and the county commission. We do not have the statutory authority to generate revenue above this therefore, we can only make cuts to accommodate shortfalls. The biggest single line items for school expenses is labor force, salary. We can nickle and dime cuts in various key locations but in order to have any significant impact on the overall budget, decisions on reducing staff will be inevitable but, we need to do this to minimize impact in the classroom.
Q1. What are your top 2 priorities for the Washoe County School District?
Q2. How would you increase the resources needed for our students and teachers to be successful?
Q3. How would you ensure that all of our students and teachers learn and work in a safe school environment?
Q4. How would you ensure a welcoming and inclusive environment for marginalized communities, such as people of color and religious minorities, in our schools?
A1. 1) Successful development, implementation and monitoring of a budget based on student needs and their success, employee support, infrastructure management and community partnerships.
2) Continue to develop instructional programs and support systems to ensure every student obtains a useful & relevant knowledge-base that aligns with a skill-set while positioning them for a successful future.
A2. A) 1) Identify the must-haves and corresponding expenditures. 2) Identify the nice to have and can live without and corresponding expenditures. 3) Identify the do not need and corresponding expenditures. 4) Place in abeyance those nice to have and dump the do not need. This is an easy concept to write about, not as easy to implement. It will take a broad range of deep-dives that must include all areas within WCSD operations. The deep-dive, in conjunction with the trustees and community partners, must be shouldered by the experts- WCSD district employees, this too is easy to identify, and complex to enact. 5) Thoroughly examine revenue streams to identify – sustainability, gaps and strengths as well as opportunities for innovation. B) 1) Continue to identify and cultivate community partnerships that support WCSD programming and infrastructure, 2) Identify new WCSD programs that support our surrounding communities’ needs and visions. How to increase resources is an important question, with no one correct solution. As I type my answers, during our COVID-19 challenges, I am reminded that as there is no one right answer, there too is no one person who can solve the problems related to the human condition. We Are In This Together!.
A3. Continue the work of the WCSD Safe and Healthy Schools Commission (SHSC). Much has been accomplished as a result of the SHSC’s dedication to each and every student’s well-being. My mind tells me that a 100% assurance is fleeting, my heart tells me it must be done. Every student, employee and anyone participating in a WCSD activity must be safe at all times – the goal is a worthy one.
A4. No matter who you are, where you come from, what you look like or how you came to your current place – WE All Must Be Treated With Dignity and Respect…..until as such time something else is warranted.
A1. 1. Leadership at the board, gaining more control of the district at the Board Level. 2. Improving the WCSD Culture, the working culture within the school district has been toxic, with a new superintendent and a new Board, there is an opportunity to work to improve the working culture.
A2. The most important need for resources is increasing school funding to the national median level. This is not something the Board of Trustees can do however, we can lobby the legislature to move in this direction.
A3. The intangible portion creating a safe environment is tied to improving the WCSD Culture, this will take work but does not include a significant financial investment. The second would be to include security and safety improvements to our schools such as single point of entry. Such improvements will require significant investment into our schools and are currently being implemented.
A4. I think the biggest benefit to our communities would be to increase educational opportunities. We have schools with specialized programs such as: college prep; CTE; STEM and; STEAM programs. If you are zoned for schools that doesn’t offer a program that reflect your learning needs, you may be out of luck because you can’t get to the school that works best for you. We need to either expand our programs to more schools or improve our transportation system to get kids to schools that will maximize their potential.
ACTIONN is a 501(c)(3) non-partisan organization. We do not endorse any candidate or party.