Archive for Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Adair wants focus on early childhood education

March 19, 2013


Candidate profile: Kristie Adair

• Born: March 27, 1973, Tulsa, Okla.

• Address: 4924 Stoneback Pl.

• Profession: Co-owner, Wicked Broadband

• Education: B.A., history, Washburn University, 2011

• Family: Husband, Joshua Montgomery; two daughters

Before she and her husband launched a local internet company, Kristie Adair worked as a preschool paraeducator, both in her hometown of Tulsa, Okla., and in Lawrence.

If elected to the Lawrence school board on April 2, Adair says enhancing local preschool programs will be one of her top priorities.

"With the (proposed $92.5 million) bond, they're going to add three (preschool) classrooms," Adair said. "I'd love to see if we can work with the community better to educate the community about this program. They're asking parents who can afford it to pay, and that would offset the costs. If we could get enough folks to pay for the program, possibly talk about it being a little more self-sustaining, and increase it further down the road. So I would try to work strongly with the community to advocate for parents enrolling their students in a pre-K program in the Lawrence public schools instead of looking at a private model or a daycare model."

Kristie Adair

Kristie Adair

Adair is one of four candidates vying for three seats on the school board in the April 2 general election.

Born and raised in Oklahoma, Adair said she worked in Tulsa public schools as a paraeducator in an elementary school for English language learners. She and her husband, Joshua Montgomery, moved here in 2005 when he took a job with a local aerospace company.

She worked one semester as a pre-kindergarten paraeducator at the former East Heights Early Childhood Family Center before returning to school and completing a history degree at Washburn University in Topeka.

Adair and Montgomery now own Community Wireless Communications, which operates Wicked Broadband in Lawrence.

Like the three other candidates, Adair says she strongly supports the district's $92.5 million bond proposal that also will be on the ballot.

"I'm just hoping that if enough people understand that this is an investment in our community, it's going to pass," Adair said. "Whoever is on the school board, it's going to be very beneficial to have this bond."

During a recent candidate forum, Adair also agreed with the other candidates that one of the biggest challenges facing the district is future funding from the state. If state lawmakers reduce base funding, Adair said she would look first at reducing outside contracts before cutting programs or raising local property taxes.

"I'd hate to try to lay more of the burden on property owners," Adair said. "Sometimes you have a particular vendor you use, and that's the one you've always used, but if you put another RFP (request for proposals) out, you can get some new bids."

In response to other issues being debated in the Kansas Legislature, Adair said she is also a strong supporter of collective bargaining rights for teachers.

She also said she is skeptical, although not necessarily opposed, to expanding charter school programs.

"I would not really advocate for them in Lawrence unless I was given enough information to see that they were really a vital necessity," Adair said.

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Cauac 5 years ago

At the recent forum she was asked her position on Wakarusa Valley. Support or oppose the closing, and even if I disagree, the candidate has thought about it. But she lost my vote when she said that she didn't know what that was. Her responses here have not won it back. Getting new vendors to offset state cuts? Pre-school is important, but what about the other levels of education? And if you are successful in getting all these kids into the system, where do you put them? Three additional classrooms are not going to do it. At the forum she seemed like a very nice person, but she hasn't been paying attention to the issues, and doesn't seem to know much about the district beyond pre-K.

Tammie Bryant 5 years ago

Her own kids do not attend the Lawrence Public Schools.

Pamela Shanks 5 years ago

Her own daughters attend private preschool.

ljwhirled 4 years, 12 months ago

Universal pre-school is not available through the public school system. I think Kristie wants to change this.

Good on her. Every child should have the opportunity to go to pre-school.

Deb Engstrom 5 years ago

Being a strong proponent of public schools, I hope she sends her daughters to public school. I know that we have district staff and administrators who send their children to private schools. I really don't understand that. Are their own kids somehow better than the kids served in public schools?

jhawkinsf 5 years ago

"Are their own kids somehow better than the kids served in the public schools?" From my experience, most parents who send their children to private schools don't think their children are better. Rather they believe their children will be better served by what they perceive to be better schools.

GMom05 5 years ago

Why exactly is she looking to put more Pre-K kids into programs in USD 497? What is wrong with the private and non-profit models that are out there? While, I agree there are better and worse centers out there, she appears to make a sweeping generalization that any preschool taught in USD 497 is a better choice than the choices currently available in Lawrence. Until she has spent significant time in each and every center in town, she has no business implying those facilities are not worthy of what the school district is able to do. In fact, just like many people feel a private school is better for their child's elementary education, why wouldn't it be the case that people feel private preschools also may have more to offer the children of Lawrence? It's fine to let people know it's there and an option, but to "advocate for parents enrolling their students in a pre-K program in the Lawrence public schools instead of looking at a private model or a daycare model." is just an unsubstantiated, biased sales tactic.

ljwhirled 4 years, 12 months ago

Not everyone has the money to send their kids to private pre-schools. Making pre-school available to everyone through the public school system means that the low income families whose kids need pre-school the most will have access.

It is also an equalizer for single young mothers who have to work. A full time public preschool program gives them the ability to hold a job and pay the bills.

Matthew Herbert 5 years ago

At the public forum held at Free State high, when asked about the budget she responded "I'm not familiar with it". Step one of launching a school board campaign: familiarize yourself with the local ed budget.

ljwhirled 4 years, 12 months ago

I've seen her at the almost all of the bond issue presentations and have heard her speak on budget issues. I found her to be knowledgeable and well informed on the issue of both the current and proposed budget.

Cauac 4 years, 12 months ago

If you we're at the bond presentations, you heard Doll say that more classrooms would alow them to charge a fee. Thus, this would not be free. If you we're at the same presentation that I was at, you heard here ask how the bidding for wireless would be done. I didn't think anything about that until I heard that she and her husband run an Internet company. On her website she said that she was going to expand all day kindergarten, but how would she do that when we have all day kindergarten. That has now been reomoved. Her website and facebook page is boderline inappropriate (come drink with her to celebrate her birthday). She is not well informed, and would be a disaster on the school board.

IreneAdler84 4 years, 12 months ago

On her FB page, somebody asked her whether she planned to send her girls to a private school. She replied that they were currently in preschool and that she and her husband would make that decision "when the time comes."

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