What are your budgeting priorities for the school district?
Seventy-five percent of the money goes towards staffing so that is a big component of that and then you’ve got a component which would be for construction materials and all of that. The district is putting 1.4 million dollars into retaining the school grounds. Those are the primary ones and we also have debt that we have to pay for.
Excellent question. I don’t believe there needs to be any cuts anywhere, really. The tax rate is at an appropriate level and I don’t think taxpayers are overpaying at the current rate. My approach to most spending is to get the same value of something for less or to get more value for the same price. It’s a common sense spending plan when spending is needed.
There’s a $70 million annual budget for the school district, and luckily we have some reserves to rely on for other events. Some of my priorities that I see for that money are for facilities. I think with improving the energy use for the high school and elementary schools you can save as much as even hundreds of thousands of dollars. It seems the school district spends between $1.2 and $1.4 million on energy. If you help reduce that energy use, and you can do it through some energy-saving vehicles that the state or energy companies offer, you can install this new equipment to save money. That money can be used to improve facilities. Even compensating teachers more—our teachers are probably paid about average if you compare it to other districts. Our school administrators are probably average-paid. But we’re the 21st largest school district in the state. My goal would be to support the facilities, support the teachers with some of that budget money and save any wasted money. I’m used to finding wasted money through my business background, so we should save on wasted budget and put it towards good use to help students and teachers.
The budget for the school district is very tight. Most of the budget goes for staff. It’s also required that we set aside money for maintenance and building projects. Act 10 has recently helped get the budget in line, we can adjust benefits and structuring. In all, we need to keep setting aside for maintenance so we don’t fall behind, and most of the money should go for staff.
Interviews by Current reporters Abby Gawrych, Andrew Jung, Grace Peplinski and Priyanka Trivedi. Responses are listed in the order that the candidates will appear on the April 3 ballot.