School Board Election 2007
School Board Race
- Egypt trip doesn't affect candidate's campaign focus (03-28-07)
- Self-proclaimed 'character' goes against the grain on some issues (03-27-07)
- Candidate seeks to help district improve community relations (03-26-07)
- Morgan taps parental experience (03-23-07)
- Incumbent candidate wants competitive district (03-22-07)
- Educator sees three challenges for Lawrence district (03-21-07)
- Ability to keep pace with technology deemed priority (03-20-07)
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- More about the school board race Â»
Michael Pomes says he's seen several problems in the last year with Lawrence's public schools.
And they could have been avoided if school district leaders had talked first to parents and neighborhood leaders, Pomes said.
"What's needed is a better community relations effort," said Pomes, one of eight candidates running in the April 3 election for four seats on Lawrence's school board.
He ran for the school board in 2003, finishing in eighth place.
Pomes, 43, and his wife, Marsha, have a second-grader at Broken Arrow School and a daughter who graduated from Lawrence High School in 2001.
Pomes is an environmental scientist who operates the storage tank permit program for the Kansas Department of Health and Environment.
He also is a master sergeant and senior public affairs noncommissioned officer in the Kansas Army National Guard's 35th Infantry Division, with headquarters at Fort Leavenworth.
Pomes said what drew him into the race was what he saw as a lack of communication between the district and residents who live near him in the Park Hill neighborhood just north of the construction area at Broken Arrow.
Property owners adjacent to the school received letters from the school district about the construction, he said.
But the Park Hill Neighborhood Association had to initiate contact with the district when some neighbors complained about the effect construction was having on their homes, Pomes said.
Pomes also said he had some problems with the district's new wellness policy concerning the types of food that can be brought to school.
"The wellness policy should place more emphasis on exercise and parental education than forcing teachers to be the food police," he said.
He also saw problems with providing wheelchair access around Broken Arrow School during construction.
"Workers blocked the only wheelchair ramp with a construction fence before school started," he said.
In terms of all-day kindergarten, Pomes said if the state does phase it in, Lawrence's district could consider offering it at certain schools, starting with the Title I schools, Pomes said. Those are schools that have a large number of families that meet federal low-income guidelines.
"It translates into better performance in the classroom," he said.
Pomes said the district can keep its quality teachers "by paying them better."
He said he would like to provide teachers with more planning time and a more streamlined way to record their grades.
He also is concerned about teachers having to pay for class supplies out of their own pockets. He said the Broken Arrow PTA reimburses teachers.
"But more must be done for teachers on the lower end of the pay scale," he said.