The South Washington County School Board has five seats up for election in 2013.
Four members will be elected to four-year terms; one will be elected to fill the vacancy of the two-year term expiring Jan. 4, 2016.
There are 14 people vying for the four-year terms and three candidates for the two-year term. The election is Nov. 5.
Susan Richardson, of Woodbury, is vying for a two-year term.
Check back on Patch for more candidate profiles.
Patch: Why are you running for school board?
Susan Richardson: As a mother of two children and who has been married for 31 years, I understand the value of a good education and have spent many years volunteering in the classrooms.
Patch: What qualifications do you have?
Susan Richardson: I possess degrees in both biology and microbiology and am a former AP biology teacher. Upon moving to the Twin Cities, I became certified as a Medical Technologist/Clinical Laboratory Scientist and conducted clinical research trials for a pharmaceutical company in the U.S and Canada.
Patch: How are you voting on the three ballot questions? Why?
Susan Richardson: After conducting research on the District’s budget through a series of data requests, I will be voting “no” to each of the three ballot questions.
Because the district used a Budget Matrix approach, the details on the current spending levels are ambiguous and void of detail. The district’s travel budget appears out of control when it includes lavish trips at taxpayer expense for “training” purposes. The hiring of an outside consultant to provide help with communication and leadership reinforces my decision.
Ballot Question #2 is of particular concern. The reason given to seek additional funding is, “Improvement of licensed staff to student ratio to meet mental health, intervention, enrichment and class size needs by building.” I find the language “meet mental health, and intervention” to be deceptive. There is no granularity of definition. This portion of the levy does not reduce class size but appears to provide the means to enforce H.F. 826, commonly known as the “Bullying Bill” scheduled to pass the Senate in February, 2014. http://mnchildprotectionleague.com/
This legislation will institutionalize bullying by creating a new bureaucracy that all students, teachers, staff, parents and anyone serving in the education system, public or private, would be required to follow. It would create unfunded mandates that would divert resources away from academics, while also forcing teachers into the role of thought police by requiring them to remediate children’s undefined “inappropriate” behavior and belief systems. These behaviors will be recorded in a climate report that will follow students for the rest of their lives. http://pjmedia.com/lifestyle/2013/09/09/rise-of-the-thought-police-bullying-your-children-into-forsaking-their-values/
school district already has a strong and well developed Code of Conduct
that in no way allows any kind of bullying, harassment or intimidation.
We know that there are some in District 833 that believe this
legislation is a fantastic idea. The district has partnered with BBIRT
to pilot a cell phone app currently being used at East Ridge High School
by the freshman class. http://www.woodburybulletin.com/content/bullied-woodbury-man-has-app
Incident reports can be generated anonymously and intent of the bullying situation is left to the victim which may not accurately reflect the situation in which the incident occurred. The possibilities of students, teachers and administrators abusing this tool, either through intimidation — fear of being reported – or false reports are real possibilities. East Ridge students aren’t modeling anything of value using this app and bullying incidents could rise because of its abuse. Perhaps a better tool would be the “Golden Rule” app. Students see spontaneous acts of kindness and heroism each day. Recognizing others for their gestures of good, reinforces the behavior we all want to see and can reduce bullying as students learn to help one another.
I will not support ballot Question #3. No one knows with any certainty what the future of housing development will be in our district. Both the Federal and State governments are increasing taxes on our citizens and businesses. I oppose asking district tax payers for more of their hard earned money, at this time, for the purpose of procuring land for a school that has yet to be defined only to have it sit in the school district’s coffers. When the district has a clearer picture of what the future holds, then I would consider asking the voters to make this decision.
Patch: What is the biggest challenge facing District 833 schools? How would you address it?
Susan Richardson: During the course of my campaign, I have listened to the concerns of many of our community members. Increased walking distances have negatively impacted many of the students and families in our district. When making transportation decisions, it is important to understand the hardships many families must endure and the added worry these decisions cause. Is it right that our students are forced to walk while our teachers and administrators have a $750,000 travel budget?
Nationalized programs, like Common Core, create a bureaucratic nightmare for parents, students and teachers by handing over local control of our schools to bureaucrats far removed from our classrooms. Educators need to respond quickly to the needs of the students they serve. Curriculum choices belong in the hands of local taxpayers.
You deserve a budget that discloses costs of specific education programs. A cost/benefit analysis is the only way to judge the effectiveness of programs offered by our schools. This analysis is not to be found in the budget matrix configured by an outside consultant.
Parents are concerned about the use of iPads in the classroom. The use of cutting edge technology implies cutting edge performance. In reality, it is critical thinking skills and hands on learning will unleash the creative and innovative power of our students and inspire them to ask bigger and better questions. This is the goal of a genuine education.
Rather than stepping into the future, let’s enable our children to leap forward by offering families something of value.
Patch: Anything else you'd like to add?
Susan Richardson: The administration of this district answers to the voters and I would be honored to serve as your representative on the South Washington County School Board.
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