Archive for Monday, February 19, 2001

School board issues - Dale Vestal

February 19, 2001


Dale Vestal, 39, 2130 Vermont.

Occupation: regional sales manager for Hasty Awards, Lawrence.
Education: bachelor's degree.
Family: married, two daughters.

The school board should consider consolidating elementary schools in Lawrence. Yes or no? Why?
"No. Every single option should be thoroughly reviewed before consolidation even becomes a topic of conversation. The No. 1 topic should be boundary restructuring.

Tax abatements to draw large businesses into Lawrence are detrimental to the public school district. Yes or no? Why?
"No. Tax abatements have a very small impact on the school system. As we can only raise a maximum percent from local taxes, state funding is the major issue."

The introduction of technology in Lawrence schools is a blessing. Yes or no? Why?
"Yes. The access to unlimited information and resources is critical in expanding the educational process. However, technology is a hindrance if it is not operational and accessible."

I would modify the district's approach to inclusion of special-education students. Yes or no? Why?
"Yes. The needs of each special-education student is unique. Those needs must be assessed on the basis of how they can interact within a typical classroom. Some special-education students are not best served in a regular classroom."

The district should alter the three-year junior high school format or create four-year high schools. Yes or no? Why?
"No. Students at these ages (sixth and ninth grades) face enough difficulties without adding unnecessary peer pressure. The present system allows them the opportunity to develop socially and mature at a comfortable or more natural pace."

It was a mistake for the district to spend $4.1 million on a new warehouse, which is too small, and an administrative headquarters. Yes or no? Why?
"Yes. While the facility is nice and offers some flexibility in certain areas, it does not meet the needs for which it was intended to address. As taxpayers, I feel we were never provided the complete information on the intent of the district's purchase."

I support substantial pay raises for district teachers, administrators, paraprofessionals and classified staff. Yes or no?

How would you pay for it?
"I feel we must first examine why it is so difficult to live within the budget. Each aspect must be scrutinized. We then must realize this issue is a school, city and county issue and approach it in that manner."

There is over-emphasis on college-bound students in the Lawrence school district to the detriment of students with technical or vocational interests. Yes or no?
"No. The system should be designed to prepare students for higher education. If a student decides not to attend college, they will be better prepared for whatever they choose. The present vocational-technical programs should be enhanced so opportunities are available to all."

Raises for teachers should be tied to academic performance of students in their classes. Yes or no?
"No. Too many variables are present from class to class and year to year. We must be able, however, to keep the good teachers in the district and replace those who are not performing to our standards."

I support a policy allowing high school students to graduate early if they score above state benchmarks on the ACT or SAT. Yes or no?
"Yes. The vast majority of these students would be college bound. Allow them the opportunity to begin their college career early so they can be challenged."

Homeschools should be subjected to greater oversight by the Kansas State Board of Education. Yes or no?
"Yes. I feel we must focus on the student we have and let the state control the homeschool issue."

All-day kindergarten should be extended to all Lawrence elementary schools. Yes or no?
"No. We must look at the additional demands on facilities, teachers and the cost of the program. It must be decided if this is a priority."

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