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Chat about the Lawrence School Board race with candidate Mary Loveland

March 19, 2007

This chat has already taken place. Read the transcript below.

Mary Loveland, 58, lost her bid for a fifth four-year term in the 2003 election, finishing in seventh out of eight places. "I told myself a year ago that I had to think about it and maybe give it another try," Loveland said. She said she had no agenda but would offer her experience with serving as a volunteer in education for more than 20 years.

Moderator:

Hello and welcome to our chat today with Mary Loveland, one of eight candidates running for four open seats on Lawrence's school board in the April 3 election.
I'm Dave Toplikar, the education beat reporter for the Journal-World, and I'll be serving as moderator today.
Welcome, Mary, and thanks for coming down to our offices. We already have a few questions, so let's get started.

EmJones:

Why all-day kindergarten? I don't think all children are ready for all-day school at this age. I think we push them too hard, too soon, already.

No Child Left Behind has no fans among any of the teachers or parents that I know. Is there a chance Kansas will opt out of this deeply flawed program?

Mary Loveland:

The main reason for all day kindergarten is to give students and teachers more time to cover a very full kindergarten curriculum. Topics, units, can be covered with more depth and , therefore, increase the opportunity for mastery of the lesson. Full day kindergarten is often optional in other districts, so parents have a choice as to whether or not they will take advantage.

I am not a fan of No Child Left Behind either, but if we opt out of participating I believe there is a resulting loss of federal funding.

multiagelearner:

What are your feelings toward the district's ELL endorsement requirements for all teachers at cluster and neighborhood sites?
Do you think other models could be implemented per the research that supports them?
Are you comfortable overturning a board policy if research and other models show to be more effective.

Mary Loveland:

I am not totally comfortable with a requirement that all teachers acquire an ESL endorsement if they teach at new ESL cluster and neighborhood sites. A significant percentage of
the district's teachers are approaching retirement and so the course requirement and years of additional teaching at the school post-endorsement can be a commitment they are unwilling to make. I do not know the rationale for requiring 100% faculty endorsement, especially since at least one special education professor has told me there is no research that supports such a requirement. But I would still encourage as many teachers as are willing to acquire the endorsement. Projections indicate that our ESL eligible student numbers will increase dramatically in the near future, so a number of new sites will need to be identified for ESL programs. It is always professionally beneficial for a teacher to expand their credential.

I am always willing to revisit a policy or decision. Changes should always be evaluated for their impact and effectiveness. But the newly elected board will not take office until July and that can be too late to make changes for a school year that starts the next month.

southernmiss:

What do you believe that you can accomplish in this term that you didn't do when you were on the school board before?

Mary Loveland:

Since I did not file with a preset adgenda, I don't have any accomplishments planned. I have a personal policy of not making any campaign promises other than that I will explore or study every issue as thoroughly as I can, examine the pros and cons of all potential decisions, and make a decision based on my conclusions as to what is best for the education of the school children of Lawrence Public Schools.

rhd99:

How was it decided on which schools to close? There was so much talk about the Americans with Disabilities Act. when the decision to keep Cordley open & close Centennial created an uproar in our community. Why did you vote to close Centennial?

Mary Loveland:

For me, the basis of the decision to keep Clordley open and close Centennial had to do with the locations of the two schools. Decisions were made in the 50's to build schools too close to other schools, a decision based partly on the fact that all or most children walked home to have lunch and then returned to school. Such a small boundary area does not provide enough housing to sustain a stable school enrollment number. By closing Centennial, you have a better dispersement of elementary schools. I studied maps and worked out distances to Schwegler, Broken Arrow, New York and Pinckney, from Cordley and Centennial and Cordley made more sense to me.

An elementary school needs a large enough boundary to sustain enrollment. The house 6 blocks from school that once sent 3 kids to elementary school may be occupied by empty-nesters now. When there are enough houses within the boundary, the now empty-nested house may be next to a house that didn't have school age children but was sold last year to a young family, filling the void in school enrollment created by the house whose nest was emptied. I believe that in an ideal district picture, schools would have at least 2 or 3 sections per grades. It is a much better situation for controlling class size and for the staffing of the specialist educators that serve all grades in a school--music, art, counselors, etc.

Mary Loveland:

For me, the basis of the decision to keep Clordley open and close Centennial had to do with the locations of the two schools. Decisions were made in the 50's to build schools too close to other schools, a decision based partly on the fact that all or most children walked home to have lunch and then returned to school. Such a small boundary area does not provide enough housing to sustain a stable school enrollment number. By closing Centennial, you have a better dispersement of elementary schools. I studied maps and worked out distances to Schwegler, Broken Arrow, New York and Pinckney, from Cordley and Centennial and Cordley made more sense to me.

An elementary school needs a large enough boundary to sustain enrollment. The house 6 blocks from school that once sent 3 kids to elementary school may be occupied by empty-nesters now. When there are enough houses within the boundary, the now empty-nested house may be next to a house that didn't have school age children but was sold last year to a young family, filling the void in school enrollment created by the house whose nest was emptied. I believe that in an ideal district picture, schools would have at least 2 or 3 sections per grades. It is a much better situation for controlling class size and for the staffing of the specialist educators that serve all grades in a school--music, art, counselors, etc.

justthefacts:

What is your opinion on school vouchers; are you for or against the idea?

Mary Loveland:

I am against school vouchers. I presume that some of the fans of school vouchers are unaware of the history of the concept.
My understanding is that school vouchers were conceptualized in the south after public schools were desegregated. One of the responses to desegregation was the establishment of many private, segregated schools. Vouchers were proposed as a way to send public funding into those schools. So the concept of vouchers for me always begs the question--what is the agenda?

Mary Loveland:

I am against school vouchers. I presume that some of the fans of school vouchers are unaware of the history of the concept.
My understanding is that school vouchers were conceptualized in the south after public schools were desegregated. One of the responses to desegregation was the establishment of many private, segregated schools. Vouchers were proposed as a way to send public funding into those schools. So the concept of vouchers for me always begs the question--what is the agenda?

interestedparty:

Your answer on the domestic partner registry was not clear to me. Do you support? Do you consider yourself friendly to "LGBT causes"?

Mary Loveland:

I am not opposed to a domestic partner registry. I guess that I can best be described as a moderate politically. (I'm a lifelong Democrat is you want to know.) By moderate, I mean that I make decisions on causes one at a time. I guess that is a reflection of my independent nature.

Mary Loveland:

I am not opposed to a domestic partner registry. I guess that I can best be described as a moderate politically. (I'm a lifelong Democrat is you want to know.) By moderate, I mean that I make decisions on causes one at a time. I guess that is a reflection of my independent nature.

Moderator:

That will be our last question.
I'd like to thank Mary Loveland and our readers for participating in today's chat.
Our next scheduled school board candidates' chat will be at 11:30 a.m. Tuesday with Mike Machell.

Mary Loveland:

Thank you for the opportunity. I must say that I talk much faster than I type (keyboard?), but I always enjoy talking about education and our schools. Educating today's children is an important investment in the future of our community. I would appreciate your vote on April 3.

Comments

bearded_gnome 7 years, 1 month ago

school closures are necessary sometimes. however, centennial should have been the one left open! very very poor choice. seemed they did it their way for sentimentality?

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Pilgrim 7 years, 1 month ago

School closures are not, in and of themselves, bad. All schools cannot stay open indefinitely. Closing inefficient schools saves money. Saving money is a concept not enough school administrators and/or school board members seem to grasp.

Keeping a close eye on your tax dollars should be a very high priority for any elected official. That school closure decision was about the only thing Mary Loveland ever got right, and it's the reason Scott Morgan needs to stay on the board.

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rhd99 7 years, 1 month ago

Under the misguided direction of Mary Loveland AND Scott Morgan while they were board members, does anyone know how many teachers lost their jobs as a result of school closures under their watch?

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Pilgrim 7 years, 1 month ago

That should be "To which..."

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Pilgrim 7 years, 1 month ago

Posted by hawkperchedatriverfront (anonymous) on March 20, 2007 at 10:30 a.m.

Her campaign message is SPEND MORE.....


Tho which the only response necessary is: Kansas City, Missouri

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75x55 7 years, 1 month ago

So, school vouchers are actually racist ploys to keep segregation alive?

How could anyone read that and not howl with laughter? The only 'segregation' involved is allowing parents to have the choice to help their kids avoid crappy schools. If the local public schools are good, then they won't have issue with vouchers, will they? They'll be able to compete effectively.

"Oh, but vouchers will reduce the amount of money available to the local public schools...." How? By one child, that they won't have to teach and spend money on? How about all those folks without any children in the system that get tax dinged as well - that won't be disappearing with vouchers. That's a dead argument.

And, if so many people pull their children out of public schools that it causes an actual funding problem - then there NEEDED to be a funding problem, as the school(s) were terminally ill to begin with.

No, let's say it like it is - resistance to vouchers is about keeping the public school monopoly and all the power it wields.

Ms. Loveland - you've done enough, go back home now.

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rhd99 7 years, 1 month ago

Looks like we all are united against Loveland. Now, let's take that message across to our friends, families neighbors &/or co-workers, & vote against her come election day.

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hawkperchedatriverfront 7 years, 1 month ago

Her campaign message is SPEND MORE.....

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rhd99 7 years, 1 month ago

My issue with the Americans with Disabilities Act comes when a former school board candidate lashed out some time after his loss. Garner(?) was a candidate & he lashed out at the board members for their inability to make Cordley school wheel chair accessible. His kid went to Centennial & yet, Loveland & Scott Morgan were among those who wanted Centennial to close. Let your friends & neighbors know about Loveland & her irresponsible leadership on the school board. Let's unite & get the community out to vote against her. Lawrence schools are better than this. Our kids deserve better.

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KLM 7 years, 1 month ago

This statement is in regard to the school closings that Loveland pushed so hard for. Loveland states that "I believe that in an ideal district picture, schools would have at least 2 or 3 sections per grades. It is a much better situation for controlling class size." When Centennial closed, my son went to Cordley school. At Cordley, he had one class section for first grade that was very large. Decisions by Loveland when a board member have not been wise, and she will not get our vote.

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bearded_gnome 7 years, 1 month ago

left open the old, inaccesible, lead-paint filled school, and closed the newer, more accessible, better for walking school? dense! hope she comes in last.

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ECM 7 years, 1 month ago

Oh my gosh if you can read this transcript and still vote for this fool AGAIN you deserve what you get.

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KsTwister 7 years, 1 month ago

I waited to what schools were closing,because that is the only thing the past 25 years my association Loveland has taught me. Now I know. Good luck to the parents and teachers involved.

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