Archive for Thursday, March 22, 2007

Incumbent candidate wants competitive district

March 22, 2007


Rich Minder said he still has a lot of unfinished business after four years on Lawrence's school board.

"It's kind of like getting off the train halfway there," said Minder, who was elected in 2003.

During recent interviews and forums, Minder, the only incumbent among the field of eight candidates running for four seats, said he wanted the district to be competitive about attracting and retaining top educators.

He also wants make sure that there is a good transition of leadership in the district as more teachers and administrators take early retirement.

He said he doesn't want to wait for the state to begin offering all-day kindergarten in Douglas County - the county lags far behind the state as a whole and similar-sized counties in offering all-day kindergarten.

Minder said Kansas Department of Education figures show 67.04 percent of the elementary schools in the state offer all-day kindergarten. And it's offered in 66.75 percent of the schools in counties similar in size to Douglas County, such as Wyandotte, Johnson, Sedgwick and Shawnee counties.

But it's offered in only 4.35 percent of the schools in Douglas County, he said.

And he wants to integrate all-day kindergarten in the district, making it part of an education that runs from early childhood through high school.

"There's this disconnect we need to close," he said.

Minder, 48, is collaborative projects coordinator for the Success by Six Coalition of Douglas County, which is a coalition of agencies and individuals working to improve early childhood education programs.

He and his wife, Vickie Penner, have two children who attend New York School.

Minder said his approach to keeping and attracting top educators in Lawrence is to "take a holistic approach."

"That approach includes the features of the job that are other than salary," he said. For example, providing elementary teachers with more time during their work day for planning, he said.

He also said the district needs to change its early retirement system to make sure it is sustainable in the future.

During a recent interview with 6News, Minder said the district was taking care of its facilities issues in junior highs.

"I think as we go out two or three years from now, we're going to start to see the need to revisit facilities again," he said.

He said there were some overcrowding issues in some of the district's elementary schools, such as Deerfield and Hillcrest.

There also is a growth in students needing English as a Second Language services, he said.

"All of those are going to kind of converge in the next few years and we're going to have to start thinking about how we address some of the elementary issues," he said.

Minder has said that one of the reasons he decided to run again was to help provide continuity of leadership on the school board - four of seven seats are up for election on April 3, and Minder is the only incumbent seeking re-election.

"I enjoy what I do in the Lawrence public schools as a board member and I want to keep doing it for another four years," he said.

- Deanna Richards, 6News anchor/reporter, also contributed to this report.


multiagelearner 11 years, 2 months ago

Mr. Minder would like to find more time for elementary teachers during the day as a "benefit", however didn't he just vote to send all elementary classroom teachers to graduate school one night a week for the school year. Requiring them to take ELL classes, take exams, and write papers, when research shows that model is not the most effective.
Mr. Minder needs to figure out how not to talk out of both sides of his mouth. You can't just tell people what they want to hear.

Jamesaust 11 years, 2 months ago

"Requiring them to take ELL classes, take exams, and write papers, when research shows that model is not the most effective. "

Really? It seems quite effective.

It also has nothing to do with how teacher's day schedule is set up.

Mr. Minder seems to be stating what he believes even if it is precisely what YOU do NOT want to hear, now isn't he?

multiagelearner 11 years, 2 months ago

Come now, do you seriously think that taking course work (graduate work) does not effect a teacher's day? Not a realistic view of a day in an elementary teacher's life. What does research on this topic tell us? Any idea? Probably not, but don't feel bad Mr. Minder doesn't know either. The most effective way to educate teachers on educating ELL students is a strong professional development model. Using the days the district sets aside anyway for meaningful professional development.
I love the idea of retaining quality teachers, although that was not on his agenda at the last board meeting when the teachers that will leave a building/district if the board chooses this ineffective model of ELL instruction.
I believe he is stating what he wants everyone to hear. But, that's a politician for you.
Wow! Way to make the kids proud. What an example.

Charles L. Bloss, Jr. 11 years, 2 months ago

Taxpayer subsidized babysitters. A total waste of taxpayer money. Parents have historically footed the bill for this, if they wanted their children in it. Why should the taxpayers pay for it? Answer, they shouldn't. If you wonder why your taxes keep going up, up, up, it is things like this. Thank you, Lynn

Commenting has been disabled for this item.