Archive for Monday, February 19, 2001

School board issues - Leni Salkind

February 19, 2001


Leni Salkind, 53, 734 Ind.

Experience: former art teacher, elected to board in 1997.
Education: bachelor's degree from University of Bridgeport, master's from University of Maryland. and doctorate in art education at KU.
Family: Married, one son and one daughter.

The school board should consider consolidating elementary schools in Lawrence. Yes or no? Why?
"No. Consolidation is cost effective, but it does not ensure educational excellence, which is our priority."

Tax abatements to draw large businesses into Lawrence are detrimental to the public school district. Yes or no? Why?
"The millions of dollars of tax abatements reduces the amount of money available to the state of education. The mayor's planned task force should produce a thorough report on the effects of tax abatements."

The introduction of technology in Lawrence schools is a blessing. Yes or no? Why?
"Technology is an important tool in today's society, and students must be adept in it. However, curriculum must come first. Technology is only one tool for encouraging students growth and learning."

I would modify the district's approach to inclusion of special-education students. Yes or no? Why?
"I would recommend changes in our special education services if we could more effectively address the needs of all our students, and the district is evaluating this question now."

The district should alter the three-year junior high school format or create four-year high schools. Yes or no? Why?
"The board of education and administration has followed the community's wishes in maintaining junior highs and three-year high schools in our district. The board's job is to insist that the curriculum in all our secondary schools is rigorous, appropriately sequenced, challenging and meets the needs of all students through quality instruction."

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?
"The new building has been cost effective in both time and money. It saves staff and administration many hours of travel time daily. In addition, resource materials housed there are for the first time readily available to teachers for use in the classroom."

I support substantial pay raises for district teachers, administrators, paraprofessionals and classified staff. Yes or no?
"Yes. I support raises that will attract and retain quality staff. However, until the state legislature funds our schools adequately, we will not be able to give the substantial raises teachers, paraprofessionals and classified employees deserve."

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?
"The curriculum audit performed three years ago recommended we strengthen our vocational and technical programs. The board has developed a long-range plan to do so, and we are seeing that the plan is carried out."

Raises for teachers should be tied to academic performance of students in their classes. Yes or no?
"Tying raises to test results puts far too much emphasis on the test rather than on learning and improvement. Standardized and state test results aren't valid indicators of a teacher's overall educational program."

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?
"No, I don't support early graduation based on these state benchmarks. A high school education provides for more than one standardized test score."

Homeschools should be subjected to greater oversight by the Kansas State Board of Education. Yes or no?
"The local board of education has nothing to do with the oversight of home schools."

All-day kindergarten should be extended to all Lawrence elementary schools. Yes or no?
"Without funding for additional teachers and adequate classroom space we cannot provide this service. Also, the district is evaluating the effectiveness of its existing full-day kindergartens, and we need those findings before we can say whether the programs are worthwhile."

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