Archive for Monday, March 19, 2007

School board veteran back on ballot

March 19, 2007


If you ask Mary Loveland what qualities she would bring to Lawrence's school board, she has a simple response.

"I am, by nature, a problem solver," says the 59-year-old education advocate who is one of eight candidates running in the April 3 election for four spots on Lawrence's school board.

Loveland and her husband, Charles, a Lawrence pediatrician, have four grown children who went through Lawrence's schools.

She has volunteered at the schools and served on committees. She also was elected four times to the school board, serving for 16 years.

But a decision the board made in 2002 to close several Lawrence elementary schools angered many voters. And Loveland and another board member, Scott Morgan, lost their re-election bids in 2003. But both are back on the April 3 ballot.

The 2003 election didn't stop Loveland's volunteer efforts - she has continued doing school committee work since.

And friends urged her to run again.

"I'd like another opportunity to dedicate myself to my community," she said. "In 16 years, I missed three meetings."

Loveland said she doesn't enter the race with an agenda, but with a well-rounded knowledge of education issues accumulated over the years.

She has served on committees that dealt with curriculum improvements, transportation issues and school boundary changes, she said.

Loveland favors implementing all-day kindergarten in Lawrence - if the state decides to pay for it.

"If that happens, I would like to see us start with the Title I schools," she said, referring to schools that have a high percentage of students from low-income families.

She said she voted in favor of all-day kindergarten several years ago, when the district offered it before budget cuts required it to be eliminated.

Loveland has said one way Lawrence can ensure it competes for the best teachers is to continue working to improve salaries and benefits.

"Every year we squeeze the budget as much as we can to identify money available for salaries," she said.

However, sometimes the board has to make the choice of deciding whether to reduce class size by adding more personnel, or add to the salary base of existing teachers, she said.

The board also needs to make sure Lawrence is a good place to teach, through mentoring and professional development programs, she said.

"I think when we do have teachers leave or have teachers retire, it's important to have good exit interviews and try to identify the reasons they left," she said.


Richard Heckler 11 years ago

Remember she was NOT a huge supporter of neighborhood schools when lost her last bid.

Scott Morgan also was NOT a huge supporter of neighborhood schools.

Why did they return for another run for the school board? I say they were asked to do it again perhaps by the administration and/or the chamber...

Stephen Roberts 11 years ago

Yes and no

Admin sure. Randy likes them and can influence their decisions. I do not know about the chamber.

As for neighborhood schools. We need to really look into what is a "neighborhood" school. With the expansion west, schools like New York, kennedy, Cordley and Central will remain small without changing boundaries.

The boundary committee will only change when they have to and not be proactive. My kids have had to change schools. Kids adjust. parents don't.

And I have asked three times to be on the boundary committee and I was told they are keeping the same at large members. I guess some people like status quo.

justthefacts 11 years ago

Being on the school board is something of a thankless task. It's not a paid position. So no one does it for the money. That leaves about two or three other possible motives; a desire for power or a desire to help out or a desire to change things. Most people running for this office have a mixure of reasons.

It would take a pretty good mental health expert to predict which motive is strongest in each candidate. It is never easy to determine exactly what people will do in the future. A crystal ball would be helpful.

Thus, if you don't have a crystal ball handy, looking at their past conduct is probably the only - if not best - way to predict future conduct. (e.g. Does M. Loveland still sometimes go by "Mrs. Dr. Loveland"?).....

ECM 11 years ago

"Thus, if you don't have a crystal ball handy, looking at their past conduct is probably the only - if not best - way to predict future conduct. "

I agree which is why everyone should run screaming from this candidate!

melott 11 years ago

So, Minder looks acceptable. Are there any others?

Certainly not Loveland.

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