The Courier-Tribune asked each candidate for LPS Board of Education the following voter-submitted questions. Answers were limited to 50 words. Here are my responses.
Numbers of years living in the school district:
Educational background, including any degrees earned:
J. D., University of Virginia School of Law, B.A. University of Missouri-Columbia, Carrollton R-VII High School.
Education Law Attorney, Community Volunteer, Parent.
Social media/website contact info related to campaign:
Prior civic and/or governmental public service experience that aids your ability to serve:
-Attorney, U. S. Department of Education working with students, parents, and school districts in five states to protect student education rights
-Attorney, private practice representing school districts on legal matters including student education rights, employment matters, safety and health, transparency, and effective governance
-Member, Lewis and Clark Elementary PTA, Heritage Middle School PTSA
-Community volunteer, Liberty Parents for Public Schools, Moms Demand Action, United Methodist Church of the Resurrection
Have you ever been employed by the city or district? If so, in what capacity and when did your employment end?
1. When it comes to masking children in school, do you believe this should be a parent’s choice or the school board's?
A board member’s responsibility is to act in compliance with federal, state, and local laws and LPS policies regarding health and safety issues. LPS has at times required masking and other times recommended it, based on public health agencies’ guidance and legal counsel’s advice regarding compliance. I support this approach.
2. When making decisions, how will you navigate possible conflicts between your personal beliefs and regulations established by law or recommendations made by leading experts in their field?
Board members have the duty to make decisions that comply with federal, state, and local laws and regulations based on sound legal counsel. They should consider the recommendations of leading experts in their relevant fields as one significant factor in policy decisions. Stakeholder (employees, parents, student) input is also significant.
3. Do you think that CRT or curriculum similar to it and the 1619 Project should be a part of teaching in schools? Why or why not?
My understanding is that these approaches are not taught in LPS and there is no plan to implement them. I support that decision. LPS prioritizes an inclusive approach to education that recognizes the dignity of each individual.
4. Should LGBTQIA and BIPOC communities be equally represented as other community groups in literature available in schools?
All students should be able to see their authentic selves reflected in the literature offered in schools at an age-appropriate level, including but not limited to students who identify as LGBTQIA and BIPOC. Diverse books help foster a sense of belonging that is essential to effective student learning.
5. What is your vision for our school district's students and their successes?
LPS should prepare students to thrive in their chosen path in life, whether higher education, military service, the workforce, or other pursuits. Rigorous academic instruction is key, with the understanding that students are not widgets on an assembly line. Students learn in different ways and LPS offers options to support all students.
6. What will you do to attract (and retain) teaching talent to our schools?
I attended a recent board meeting where members reviewed the most recent teacher survey results. Concerns about compensation, workplace stress and work-life balance are areas we need to address. I also support existing LPS programs to develop new teachers. Overall, survey results show our teachers value teaching here.
7. In what ways will you connect with community partners to support schools?
Our family supports the Liberty Education Foundation and we will continue that support. I will leverage my relationships with Liberty and KC Metro area businesses, nonprofit organizations, foundations, and other community organizations to promote the great things LPS is doing and seek additional support for LPS program needs.
8. What do you see as financial opportunities and threats to the school district and what are your plans for addressing them?
Voters may have an opportunity to approve a no-tax bond issue in August to address renovation needs. The Missouri legislature needs to approve additional federal COVID money for LPS and reject legislation that would defund public schools. If elected, I will update constituents via my Facebook page on these developments.
9. Do you support maintaining and promoting inclusive staff and spaces that promote curiosity to flourish? If so, how do you propose this is accomplished?
Yes. An inclusive environment is a prerequisite for academic success. I’m currently reading the book LPS is using for this work, “Belonging Through A Culture of Dignity.” I support LPS’ plan for improving our learning environment by ensuring we honor the dignity of each individual in the LPS community.
10. Have you ever given a speech or read statements prepared for you by Freedom KC or the Northland Parent Association and did you support the Northland Parents Association’s lawsuit of school districts?
No, I’ve never given a speech or read statements from either group. The judge correctly dismissed the Northland Parent Association’s lawsuit against LPS, finding the NPA did not have standing to sue and failed to allege sufficient facts. Notably, the NPA did not appeal the decision. The dismissal order: https://htv-prod-media.s3.amazonaws.com/files/northland-parents-lawsuit-opinion-1638288878.pdf
11. Should board members set an example for unity and cohesion among the school board, staff and general community? If so, how do you plan to set this example?
Board members won’t and shouldn’t always agree, but must work together in good faith. Board members must honor the majority vote unless the outcome violates the law or the board member’s fiduciary duties. I’m good at finding common ground across a variety of perspectives and will do so if elected.
Paid for by Karen Rogers for LPS | Sara Ennis, Treasurer
Copyright © 2021- All Rights Reserved.