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Archive for Sunday, March 30, 2003

School board candidate survey

March 30, 2003

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  • indicates an incumbent

Cille King
Mary L. Loveland*
Rich Minder
Scott E. Morgan*
Sue Morgan*
Leonard Ortiz
Michael L. Pomes
Cindy Yulich


Cille King




Age: 55

Occupation: Apartment manager, office bookkeeper.

Family (spouse or partner, children): Joe (husband), Zachary, 18, Alison, 14

Lived in Lawrence: 32 years

Education: B.S. human development and family life and bachelor of architecture, KU

Do you support the current school board's bond issue proposal?

No. I disagree with school consolidation, expanding New York, Cordley and Deerfield, the design for a new South Junior High and plans for the alternative high school.


Do you agree there is a need for closing and consolidation of some schools?



No. Closing Riverside and putting more students at schools over capacity is wrong. Projected savings from consolidation of Riverside, Centennial and East Heights is probably illusory.


Do you think the district's financial situation is as dire as the current board portrays it?

Yes. The state isn't funding education adequately. The district could more actively raise private donations for schools instead of reducing programs.

Do you support cutting course offerings at the high school level to save funds?



No. I support eliminating low-enrollment classes with overlapping curriculum. But more alternatives, such as online courses, need to be considered where appropriate.


Do you support cutting junior high athletics and/or extracurricular activities to save funds?


No. These activities are sometimes the only reason students stay engaged in school. Students in these activities perform better in academics.

Do you support cutting band and orchestra programs at the elementary level to save funds?


No. We already start students later than many schools. Lawrence has a wonderful instrumental program now, but waiting until junior high to start would damage the program


Would you support a countywide sales tax to support public schools if Kansas courts uphold the legality of such a tax?


No. Not at this time. If the courts approve Johnson County's sales tax, and the state still hasn't adequately funded education, we could collectively take another look at a sales tax.

Are you concerned about the impact of Lawrence city limits stretching into the Perry-Lecompton school district?

No. We won't be building schools in the Perry-Lecompton district. Students there may transfer to Lawrence schools, but we can take them on a space-available basis.


In these tight budget times, are you more inclined to raise taxes or cut services to balance the budget?

Raise taxes. A state study found schools are underfunded. Good schools and educated citizens are our most important asset and a factor in economic development.



Among the projects contained in the current bond issue proposal, prioritize your top three.

Building a new South Junior High School, providing needed maintenance in the district and eliminating trailers used as portable classrooms.


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Mary L. Loveland*



Age: 55

Occupation: Homemaker

Family (spouse or partner, children): Chuck (husband), Meredith, 30, Doug, 27, Morgan, 24, Aidan, 22

Lived in Lawrence: 27 years

Education: B.A., KU

Do you support the current school board's bond issue proposal?


Yes. The bond is based on a broad evaluation of facilities. It takes care of the most urgent problems among $100 million in needs. If not done now, improvements will cost more later.


Do you agree there is a need for closing and consolidation of some schools?


Yes. We can improve the educational program for the affected students and experience considerable cost savings.


Do you think the district's financial situation is as dire as the current board portrays it?


Yes. The Legislature has failed to adequately fund education. Lawrence's enrollment is falling, which cuts state funding. Insurance and utility costs are rising dramatically next year.

Do you support cutting course offerings at the high school level to save funds?



Yes, to a degree. I agree with phasing out Japanese but am unsure about American Sign Language. We will consider raising the minimum enrollment in courses.


Do you support cutting junior high athletics and/or extracurricular activities to save funds?

No. I believe that athletics and extracurricular activities are important development opportunities for students and don't want to eliminate them.


Do you support cutting band and orchestra programs at the elementary level to save funds?



No. If you eliminate elementary instrumental music, you compromise the entire program. At some point in a good education, everyone should experience musical instruments.

Would you support a countywide sales tax to support public schools if Kansas courts uphold the legality of such a tax?

No. It's the Legislature's constitutional obligation to provide an adequate public education in Kansas. Legality of a sales tax is unknown and our need of funding is immediate.


Are you concerned about the impact of Lawrence city limits stretching into the Perry-Lecompton school district?

Yes. This will result in more transfer requests to go to Lawrence schools. We receive state funding for these students, but Perry-Lecompton is not offering any part of its tax base.


In these tight budget times, are you more inclined to raise taxes or cut services to balance the budget?

Raise taxes. This year's budget cuts are going to have an impact on the core educational program, and that is appalling.


Among the projects contained in the current bond issue proposal, prioritize your top three.

Projects at the four junior high schools, expansion of Lawrence Alternative High School and renovations at Lawrence High School.


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Rich Minder




Age: 45

Occupation: Collaborative projects coordinator

Family (spouse or partner, children): Vicki Penner (wife), Sophia, 5, Joseph, 3


Lived in Lawrence: 3 years

Education: B.S. Duquesne University; Master's, University of Pittsburgh

Do you support the current school board's bond issue proposal?



No. This is the wrong bond at the wrong time. I am concerned about use of a bond to close small elementary schools. The cost for a new alternative high school is exorbitant.

Do you agree there is a need for closing and consolidation of some schools?


No. Closing schools should be a last resort. This is especially true of small elementary schools in neighborhoods with a high population of economically disadvantaged students.

Do you think the district's financial situation is as dire as the current board portrays it?



Yes. The district's financial situation has placed the board under great duress in recent years. I am hopeful the state's school finance situation will improve in a year or so.

Do you support cutting course offerings at the high school level to save funds?



Yes. During austere times, we should focus our limited resources on courses that are more likely to improve students' performance in core areas such as reading, math and science.


Do you support cutting junior high athletics and/or extracurricular activities to save funds?

Yes. Lawrence as a community must provide sports and other enriching experiences. For too long, the public schools have assumed that role.

Do you support cutting band and orchestra programs at the elementary level to save funds?


Yes. I place music program cuts far below reductions for athletics and administration. Ideally, public education will retain strong arts and music education.

Would you support a countywide sales tax to support public schools if Kansas courts uphold the legality of such a tax?

Yes. I am interested in how sales and other local taxes can support education in ways that don't exacerbate economic disparities between communities across the state.


Are you concerned about the impact of Lawrence city limits stretching into the Perry-Lecompton school district?

No. It appears the city and county won't support that much expansion to the west. Growth to the south provides a more promising landscape for city, county, school relationships.


In these tight budget times, are you more inclined to raise taxes or cut services to balance the budget?

Raise taxes. Our educational fiscal crisis is completely a function of our state's failure to adequately fund education and services to children and families.


Among the projects contained in the current bond issue proposal, prioritize your top three.

Rebuild South Junior High School, make Americans with Disabilities Act improvements and increase energy efficiency.


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Scott E. Morgan*





Age: 45

Occupation: Publisher

Family (spouse or partner, children): Kathleen (wife), Kelly, 14, Calvin, 11, Grace, 7


Lived in Lawrence: 15 years

Education: B.S., KU; J.D., KU

Do you support the current school board's bond issue proposal?

Yes. As far as "wrong time," I couldn't disagree more. We do a disservice to students if we ignore low interest rates and low construction costs by not meeting needs in our schools.


Do you agree there is a need for closing and consolidation of some schools?


Yes. The district's budget is so strained it's possible schools will close even if the bond fails. The $1.4 million in annual operational funds we will save by closing schools is desperately needed.

Do you think the district's financial situation is as dire as the current board portrays it?


Yes. I am unclear why people think we would lie about our finances. We are kidding ourselves if we think there is an easy way out. The problem demands real solutions.

Do you support cutting course offerings at the high school level to save funds?


Yes. The district should regularly review course offerings. I'm not in favor of cutting just to cut, but I am interested in doing so if we find we have other courses we need more.

Do you support cutting junior high athletics and/or extracurricular activities to save funds?


No. I don't support cutting activities but will do so if we don't have money to fund them. These activities are significant learning experiences.

Do you support cutting band and orchestra programs at the elementary level to save funds?



No. I don't want to cut band and orchestra, but I have a responsibility to balance the budget. The $1.4 million from closing three schools will protect valuable programs.

Would you support a countywide sales tax to support public schools if Kansas courts uphold the legality of such a tax?

Yes. The school board has no authority to levy a sales tax, but it is inappropriate to fund public education only with property tax. The state should honor its responsibility to education.

Are you concerned about the impact of Lawrence city limits stretching into the Perry-Lecompton school district?

No. Lawrence can be served by more than one district. It works in Johnson County. The Lawrence district already extends beyond city limits into Leavenworth County.


In these tight budget times, are you more inclined to raise taxes or cut services to balance the budget?

Cut services. I am loathe to cut, but we have no power to raise taxes beyond what we do now. To say you're "inclined" to hike taxes, suggests doing something you can't.



Among the projects contained in the current bond issue proposal, prioritize your top three.

Replacement of South Junior High School, elimination of portable classrooms and bringing equity to the district's older school buildings.


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Sue Morgan*




Age: 52

Occupation: Business administrator for First UMC

Family (spouse or partner, children): Jeff (husband), Ryan, 20, Erin, 19

Lived in Lawrence: 14 years

Education: B.S. and M.P.A., University of California -- Riverside

Do you support the current school board's bond issue proposal?



Yes. It will help the district improve student achievement, recruit quality staff and make the best use of limited resources. The bond makes small class sizes more likely districtwide.

Do you agree there is a need for closing and consolidation of some schools?



Yes. Consolidations can improve education delivery and support services to kids. Larger schools are more efficient. If we can do better for less, we have a responsibility to taxpayers to do it.


Do you think the district's financial situation is as dire as the current board portrays it?



Yes. Look at the budget. It speaks for itself. Since 1992, the state has raised per-pupil funding 8 percent. The Consumer Price Index has increased 35 percent in that same period.

Do you support cutting course offerings at the high school level to save funds?


Yes. Courses must be examined for effectiveness and efficiency. We have a wider array of course offerings at the high schools than exist at some junior colleges.

Do you support cutting junior high athletics and/or extracurricular activities to save funds?


Yes. There are no easy cuts left. There is simply not enough money to do all the things we are doing. As in the past, I'd try to reduce rather than eliminate.

Do you support cutting band and orchestra programs at the elementary level to save funds?



Yes. It's hard to take nonmandated programs off the table when facing shrinking state funding. I prioritize band and orchestra behind core curriculum that students are tested on.

Would you support a countywide sales tax to support public schools if Kansas courts uphold the legality of such a tax?

Yes. I doubt the courts will find it to be legal, but if they do that certainly changes rules for funding schools in Kansas. I would consider a tax to keep pace with neighboring districts.

Are you concerned about the impact of Lawrence city limits stretching into the Perry-Lecompton school district?


Yes. State funding follows transfer students, but we don't get their residential tax base in our local-option budget, bond and interest and other local tax levies.

In these tight budget times, are you more inclined to raise taxes or cut services to balance the budget?


Raise taxes. We have cut services repeatedly. We are putting our children at risk. It's time to put our dollars behind our values. State tax cuts in the 1990s went too far.

Among the projects contained in the current bond issue proposal, prioritize your top three.

Improve and expand Cordley and New York schools, expand Lawrence Alternative High School and rebuild South Junior High School.


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Leonard Ortiz



Age: 45

Occupation: Adjunct professor of history

Family (spouse or partner, children): Dana (wife), two children, 8 & 6

Lived in Lawrence: 7 years

Education: B.A., Santa Clara University; M.A., Stanford University; Ph.D., KU

Do you support the current school board's bond issue proposal?


No. The bond is too large in difficult economic times. School consolidation will adversely effect neighborhoods. Small schools are better for at-risk and low-income students.


Do you agree there is a need for closing and consolidation of some schools?



No. Closing schools has a detrimental effect on neighborhoods struggling to remain vibrant to their communities. Studies show closing schools can have a devastating effect on students.


Do you think the district's financial situation is as dire as the current board portrays it?


Yes, if new state or local revenues are not generated. I am perplexed the district wants bond money for music, computer and sports facilities while talking about cutting those activities.

Do you support cutting course offerings at the high school level to save funds?



No. I would agree only as a desperate attempt to save money. If that occurred, the board must prioritize what courses are most significant to academic development of students.

Do you support cutting junior high athletics and/or extracurricular activities to save funds?

No. Only as a last resort. Students need such activities as a means of drawing them into the culture of public education.

Do you support cutting band and orchestra programs at the elementary level to save funds?



No.

Would you support a countywide sales tax to support public schools if Kansas courts uphold the legality of such a tax?

Yes. I would propose a sales tax of no longer than two years. Salina has a sales tax for instructional technology. Every student has a computer class daily. Our kids deserve that, too.

Are you concerned about the impact of Lawrence city limits stretching into the Perry-Lecompton school district?

Yes. I believe that these districts should remain separate.



In these tight budget times, are you more inclined to raise taxes or cut services to balance the budget?

Raise taxes. If we want to continue to provide the services and programs that our children deserve, then we need to generate the revenue to fund such programs.


Among the projects contained in the current bond issue proposal, prioritize your top three.

Building a new South Junior High School, renovate Lawrence High School and renovate West Junior High School.


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Michael L. Pomes




Age: 40

Occupation: Geologist, field artillery surveyor

Family (spouse or partner, children): Marsha (wife), Sarah, 21, Jennifer,3

Lived in Lawrence: 15 years

Education: B.S., University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee; M.S., Fort Hays State; Ph.D., KU

Do you support the current school board's bond issue proposal?


No. It doesn't address what has the most impact on students -- teachers. More facilities will not help recruit top-notch teachers. The bond drains resources from students.


Do you agree there is a need for closing and consolidation of some schools?


No. Selective closing of Riverside, East Heights and Centennial is morally objectionable given the high proportion of students whose parents are struggling to make ends meet.


Do you think the district's financial situation is as dire as the current board portrays it?


Yes, but not for reasons the district portrays. The district has a history of poor budget management. It's past time to seek an independent audit, especially of administrative costs.

Do you support cutting course offerings at the high school level to save funds?



I won't cut in ways that hinder high school graduates from being productive citizens. For every program cut, one administrative job should be cut. Principals should teach a class.


Do you support cutting junior high athletics and/or extracurricular activities to save funds?

No. Cutting must be absolutely the last thing. Our backs must be up against the wall to take such a step. I promise I will be aggressive in protecting students in this area.

Do you support cutting band and orchestra programs at the elementary level to save funds?


No. These can't be cut if we expect top-notch music performance. The community -- churches, United Way, the city and county -- could help schools with cooperative music programs.


Would you support a countywide sales tax to support public schools if Kansas courts uphold the legality of such a tax?

Yes. We have to try all avenues to raise the funds for our schools. If we don't do that, no one else will.

Are you concerned about the impact of Lawrence city limits stretching into the Perry-Lecompton school district?

Yes. The city and county must control growth, especially in terms of how it impacts the district. A district representative should sit on the Planning Commission.



In these tight budget times, are you more inclined to raise taxes or cut services to balance the budget?

Raising taxes and cutting spending needs to be balanced. If we cut a service, how much more expensive will it be to bring it back in the future?


Among the projects contained in the current bond issue proposal, prioritize your top three.

Improving facilities at all schools in the district east of Iowa Street and eliminating portable classrooms.


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Cindy Yulich



Age: 43

Occupation: Senior vice president, Emprise Bank

Family (spouse or partner, children): Mitch (husband), Brett, 16, Jordan, 13

Lived in Lawrence: 11 years

Education: B.S., Emporia State University; Graduate, University of Colorado

Do you support the current school board's bond issue proposal?


Yes. I've been in every building and have seen the needs first-hand. The proposed bond debt is prudent. Building changes in the bond will enable us to better educate kids.


Do you agree there is a need for closing and consolidation of some schools?


Yes. Limited financing and more mandates from government force difficult choices. Proposed closures will protect class sizes and keep kids who are most in need at schools under 250 students.


Do you think the district's financial situation is as dire as the current board portrays it?


Yes. I've attended many board meetings and forums, and this crisis is real. In 2001-2002 school year, I wrote ever state legislator to lobby for increased school funding.

Do you support cutting course offerings at the high school level to save funds?



Yes. We have no alternative. We can make cuts so that no single program is eliminated. Changes should be made to allow reintroduction of courses when funding is available.


Do you support cutting junior high athletics and/or extracurricular activities to save funds?


Yes.

Do you support cutting band and orchestra programs at the elementary level to save funds?



Yes.

Would you support a countywide sales tax to support public schools if Kansas courts uphold the legality of such a tax?

Yes. If courts uphold the legality of a local sales tax, the community should decide whether it wants to take that step. A sales tax for schools must contain exemptions.



Are you concerned about the impact of Lawrence city limits stretching into the Perry-Lecompton school district?

No. I'm not aware that the city plans to annex the Perry-Lecompton district. The city, county, neighborhoods and schools need joint communication and planning to better tackle growth.


In these tight budget times, are you more inclined to raise taxes or cut services to balance the budget?

This is not an either-or question. Solutions are most often reached by a compromise balance of tax increases and service cuts.


Among the projects contained in the current bond issue proposal, prioritize your top three.

I will not pick and choose the pieces of the proposed bond. To assign priorities at this point would be divisive.


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