Lawrence school board candidate Scott Morgan said the board needs to encourage parents to become more involved in their child's school.
"Being a parent, I know that we can be a royal pain - and to some it's an art form," Morgan said.
But parents need to be encouraged and welcomed by Lawrence's school board, administrators and teachers, said Morgan, who is among eight candidates running in the April 3 election for four seats on the board.
"I think it's important that parents are viewed as partners," he said.
Morgan, 49, and his wife, Kathleen, have an inside track on local schools - their three children are spread among elementary, junior high and high schools. They also have a high school exchange student from Norway living with them this year.
Morgan, president of Morgan Quitno Press, a local publishing company, also has four years of experience on the school board, having served from 1999 to 2003.
He lost a re-election attempt in 2003, following a board decision to close several elementary schools where enrollments had steeply declined.
"I am running for a very simple reason, and that is I have a deep commitment to the community and to its kids," he said. "We have 10,000 kids in our school district, and each one of them deserves an absolutely stellar education. We have the ability to give it to them, if we want to.
"There's no great glory for being on the school board," he said. "But it's a job where I think I bring the passion, the dedication, the independence and the support necessary."
Morgan also said teachers need to have the resources to succeed.
He recently went to a few parent-teacher conferences and said he was struck by the professionalism of local teachers.
Attracting and retaining quality teachers involves more than just salary, he said.
"Money is a big part of it," he said. "But I do know, when it comes to keeping a job, we're in competition with more than just other schools. We're in competition with other professions."
The district needs to make sure that quality teachers know they are appreciated and wanted, he said.
In terms of the district offering all-day kindergarten, Morgan said the Kansas Legislature controls most of the revenue that comes to the district.
"It has to be in place before we can take money away from things such as teachers' salaries, classified (salaries), activities and other programs that we offer to many of the other kids," he said.
He said some of the district's elementary buildings don't have room for all-day kindergarten programs, so more space would be needed in those buildings. He said the district could look at offering it at some schools.
However, if all-day kindergarten is made available, he said he would support it being optional so parents could continue sending their child only half days.