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Chat about the Lawrence School Board race with candidate Michael Pomes

March 23, 2007

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

Michael Pomes, who ran for school board in 2003, finished in eighth place out of eight candidates. Pomes is an environmental scientist who runs the permitting program for storage tanks for the Kansas Department of Health and Environment. He said the board needs to improve its communication with the public and to increase accessibility for the handicapped.

Moderator:

Hi there. I'm Joel Mathis, managing editor for convergence. Michael Pomes is in early, so we'll get going.

Michael Pomes:

Thanks, Joel. I'm interested in taking questions about what what I stand for in my race for the School Board. If you want more information, please go to my Web Site:

www.michaelpomes.org

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. Would you support Kansas opting out of this expensive, underfunded and deeply flawed program?

Michael Pomes:

No Child Left Behind is another issue entirely. Judging from what I have seen my daughter, Jennifer, do in the Second Grade at Broken Arrow School, I think all day kindergarten would give students a better start in school, especially give them more time to learn the basics like math and reading.

southernmiss:

One of your campaign focuses is to increase accessibility for the handicapped. Since this issue is federally mandated by the Americans with Disabilities Act, why (and how) would the school board be involved?

Michael Pomes:

The School Board should survey USD 497 Facilities to see if accessibility issues are addressed, how these can be dealt with, and especially look at what issues can be address as reasonable accommodations that will not take much funding to address. Parents, students, staff, and teachers should also be aware of accessibility issues as these arise and communicate these issues to School Board Members and the Administration of Lawrence Public Schools.

Moderator:

Here's a question asked of other school board candidates: What do you think of expanding the ESL program to additional elementary schools, and the teacher-training requirements that will bring?

Michael Pomes:

The English as a Second Language program should be expanded to other schools as the need presents itself. However, I disagree with the School Board's decision to make all the teachers at Sunflower and Schwegler get certified in ESL. Garden City Public Schools made the certification requirement voluntary. The Administration needed to look at other alternatives for certification and look at school districts where there is a much greater need for ESL instruction. Some schools in the Garden City District are 98% Hispanic and there's a greater mix of languages being spoken in Garden City than there is in Lawrence.

Moderator:

There are concerns about a "teacher drain" in the district. How would you address that?

Michael Pomes:

The first thing Lawrence must to do compete with neighboring school districts is to increase pay and make the salaries of teachers in Lawrence Schools comparable with the higher paying districts. Lawrence must ensure that the best possible teachers educate our kids. The salary grid that pushes younger teachers up the pay scale faster and better compensates veteran teachers is a step in the right direction. Additionaly, the District should devote as much funding as it can to ensure that teachers are fairly compensated for the essential work they perform. One of my concerns for teachers is how much they have to pay out-of-pocket for supplies for their classrooms. Besides advocating for increased teacher salaries, I want to fing ways to provide supplies for teachers so they don't have to spend so much of their own money without being compensated for their expenses. Broken Arrow PTA does reminburse teachers for some of their expenses, but more must be done for teachers on the lower end of the pay scale.

Moderator:

Another question that's been posed, on a related note: How could additional funds to pay for teachers be found?

Michael Pomes:

One overwhelming way to increase funding for all schools would be to elect legislators to fully fund public schools in Kansas. Finding additional funding for teachers will be both a mission and something I must learn about if I'm elected to the School Board.

Moderator:

Please discuss your philosophy concerning parental input, and what you would do if you were aware of a parent concern or complaint.

Michael Pomes:

I have one daughter, Jennifer, in school and have had another daughter, Sarah, graduate from Lawrence High School.
My wife, Marsha, and I have had times where we've communicated concerns to teachers or administrators. Overall, we had good luck in that process -- teachers and administrators took care of our children and alleviated our concerns.

I want to make sure that the same happens for all parents, and I will take any parental concerns or complaints seriously. Additionally, I help those parents direct their concerns to the appropriate parties, teachers, or adminstrators, and make sure that District Guidelines are followed.

Moderator:

We'll make that our last question today. Anything else you'd like to say?

Michael Pomes:

I will work to ensure that "Kids Come First" in Lawrence Public Schools. I will "Keep Kids Firt" by ensuring all Kids have the best opportunities to learn, building on their abilities, regardless of their backgrounds. I will work to ensure that the best teachers teach our Kids.
I am also the candidate who will walk extra mile for you. Here's a, "Hello" to all of you I saw while I was walking in the St. Patrick's Day Parade. Finally, I will work to ensure the Kids, teachers, and staff have full access to the best and safest facilities possible.

If you have any questions of concerns with Lawrence Public Schools and this School Board Election, please go to my Web Site or give me a call. I'm in the phone book.

Thanks to Joel and the Lawrence Journal World for this opportunity to get the word out about my School Board Campaign. Remember, the General Election is Tuesday, April 3. 2007.

Michael Pomes:

I will work to ensure that "Kids Come First" in Lawrence Public Schools. I will "Keep Kids Firt" by ensuring all Kids have the best opportunities to learn, building on their abilities, regardless of their backgrounds. I will work to ensure that the best teachers teach our Kids.
I am also the candidate who will walk the extra mile for you. Here's a "Hello" to all of you I saw while I was walking in the St. Patrick's Day Parade. Finally, I will work to ensure the Kids, teachers, and staff have full access to the best and safest facilities possible.

If you have any questions of concerns with Lawrence Public Schools and this School Board Election, please go to my Web Site or give me a call. I'm in the phone book.

Thanks to Joel and the Lawrence Journal World for this opportunity to get the word out about my School Board Campaign. Remember, the General Election is Tuesday, April 3. 2007.

Comments

bearded_gnome 7 years, 9 months ago

Also, Michael Pomes was one of the four candidates endorsed by the local Federation of the Blind. don't know why the LJW didn't print their news. they liked his concern for students with disabilities.

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