Q & A

Q.  Why have you become a candidate?  

A.  My candidacy is based on my positive attitude toward education, my concern for the continued quality of education that Springboro currently has, and an eagerness to help my community and school maintain a cohesive relationship.


Q.  What do you bring to the position? 

A.  The strengths I bring to the position, communication and analysis, were honed during my tenures as an educator and researcher. Teaching effectiveness was a particular area of emphasis, as were fact finding and market research.


Q.  Is there a money crisis and if so, how do you propose to resolve it? 

A.  It depends on who you're asking, school or parent.  If there is a fiscal crisis in our school district, then Springboro board members must scrutinize current expenditures as well as the budget projections to find more cuts, spend smarter, or find ways to generate more revenue. 


Q.  What additional cuts do you feel are necessary?

A.  These cuts are necessary to satisfy the community and reflect spending that respects the economic environment as suggested by the State Audit.  The State Audit suggested that Springboro Community City Schools get classified staff salaries and benefits more in line with our comparables. 


Q.  What areas do you feel strongly about preserving?

A.  There is absolutely no room for debate - we must maintain Excellence in our rating. We must maintain class sizes that are efficient and manageable. 

 

Q.  What is the role and responsibility of the board in effective administration of schools?

A.  A school board must maintain the essence of the check and balance system that is its charter. Through this system, the board oversees and makes decisions on fiscal, staffing (administrator and treasurer), and safety issues.


Q.  What improvements could be made in the functions of the board?

A.  The Springboro Community City School Board functions well.  The improvements necessary for the school board to function better is the addition of an educator. We need the board to have a well rounded perspective over all issues for which it is responsible. 


Q.  What changes could be made with the relationship between the board and the Springboro Education Association?

A.  Regular conversations/meetings between the board and the association should be the rule and not the exception. A board must be able to make decisions based on the input of the community and especially those closest to the germane issues.


Q. What experience have you had with, budgeting, union negotiations and performance reviews?

A. During my eight years as a student at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, I completed two and a half years of course work in Management curriculum, followed by 10 years of teaching this curriculum at the University level. This curriculum included the following categories:

     - Labor Management

     - Union Negotiations

     - Materials Management

     - Contract Management

     - Revenue/Cost Management

     - Marketing and Public Relations

     - Laws and Regulations of Business

On the job experiences include managing; organizational mission, policies and procedures, performance reviews and contract negotiations with pediatric practice personnel, metabolic unit employees, sub-contractors and independent contractors.

I look forward to the opportunity to work with school district personnel in these capacities as well.

 

Q. What do you think is working well within Springboro schools?

A. Parent and community involvement within this school system is unprecedented and impressive.  Neighbors for Springboro Schools is a prime example.  I believe that this organization as well as many other groups are working diligently in the best interest of our students.  Keep up the good work.

Q. What do you think needs to be improved in this school system?

A. Springboro Community City schools system has been successful at maintaining the high quality of education that it is expected.  Our school district has many dysfunctions.

1. A district policy has been written that describes the formal lines of communication allowed between faculty and staff and the board.  The policy states that faculty and staff must communicate with the Superintendent, who will then take these concerns to the board.

In theory, this policy should aim to satisfy the communication needs of faculty and staff with the board.  However, in practice, this policy has not consistently allowed for the volume and types of communications that have been necessary.

Many employees in our district have expressed concern for the perceived filtering process that is contained in this current policy.  While written policies are a start to establishing appropriate procedures, these policies must be enforced in a manner of spirit so as to allow the engagement of full district communication that is most beneficial to the students.  

In an interview with Larry Hook, past Assistant Superintendent, Larry told me that the lines of communication in the policy did not include a direct route from faculty and staff to the board, this was so that the board may be spared from dealing with the day to day issues facing the operation of the school district, thus allowing them the ability to focus their attention on other things. 

My philosophy is that setting policy without allowing for the one on one interaction of staff and board members will reduce the attention to detail necessary to maintain a healthy, cohesive work force.  Constant and consistent communication is crucial to the excellence we demand and deserve from one another.

Our district policy committee should review this policy and its application to see if amendments or revisions can be made that will foster and facilitate a more open communication relationship.

OSBA guidelines:  pertaining to this topic,
       
A good board member:
• Works with other members to establish and support effective policies.
• Encourages ongoing communications among board members, and between the           board, students, staff, and the community.  

2. The continued release of written documents that is perceived to deceive the community has created significant doubt as to our systems intensions. For example in a document from Dr. Baker in January 19, 2009 the high school busing cut saved us $225,000 and yet again was told to us on Tuesday night that the savings was actually $50,000.  Inconsistent information again creates doubt.  In this case, the community and parents of high school students resent this tactic of transportation cuts for a $50,000 “savings”.

   - I will continue to review documents shared with me prior to their release by the district, in an effort to confirm, clarify and/or correct information.  While many of these releases are not under my direct control, I will make clear that we must maintain information vigilance in order to avoid the release of information that is inconsistent.  For example, in a recent Dayton Daily News interview, the district Superintendent announced that there would likely be a tax initiative in November.  This topic has not been discussed with me.  I am not aware of any discussion having taken place, in public or in private, nor of any vote having been taken regarding this initiative. I would like to see this district become cohesive regarding the release of information that represents this district and me as a board member.  (Posted 03/01/2010)

3. A policy exists within our school system prohibiting intimidation and retaliation by school employees for criticisms of its behavior or policies. Throughout the last several years there has been a consistent campaign of intimidation and retaliation that must end before our community will have confidence that our school district is in the business of effectively educating our students. The end of this behavior must include disciplinary action up to and including termination.

4. District financial information must be current and easily available to the public.  Springboro schools have a web site that is suppose to include financial information, yet this information is not kept up to date and is very incomplete.  Board minutes fail to get published in a timely manner.  The financial records library is not updated.  The check registry that is months behind is counter productive when attempting to be financially transparent. 

    - Much of the district financial information has been updated and is now posted in a timely manner.  This change was made toward the end of 2009 and the financial information is currently up to date.  Members of the community have requested that more detail be contained in the Agenda for board meetings as well as in the meeting minutes.  This is a common request that I believe has merit, and I will forward this request to the rest of the board.  (Posted 03/01/2010)

© 2011 Kelly Kohls | All Rights Reserved