Eudora News and

Over the coming days we plan on bringing you profiles of the candidates for both Eudora City Council and the Eudora School Board.  We sent out a questionnaire to all candidates and asked them the exact same questions. Their responses to the questions will be printed verbatim.  This is opportunity for you, the reader, to see not only their responses but how they respond.  The questions in the survey came from both editorial board decisions and reader input.

Today, we feature Joseph Hurla. Hurla is running for the 2 year term seat of Keith Nowland and temporarily filled by Nancy Jackson.

Mr. Hurla, please tell about your background.

The second of 10 children, I was born and raised outside of Topeka, where I attended public schools. After high school, I attended Kansas State University, where I met my wife, Shanda, and later received a B.S. in Journalism and Mass Communications. We moved to Eudora shortly after graduation in 2000. While living and working in Eudora, I received a Master’s Degree in Business Administration from the University of Kansas. My wife and I now have three sons – ages 1, 3, and 5. I am an owner of an energy-engineering firm, 360 Energy Solutions, that provides energy-related facility improvements to municipal and commercial clients.

What qualifications do you have for a seat on the School Board?

I have spent more than 10 years working with school districts across Kansas to better utilize limited budgets by reducing unnecessary utility and maintenance expenses and redirecting tax dollars to essential school functions. Locally, I have served on the Eudora Schools Foundation for more than a year, seeking to provide additional resources to enhance the educational opportunities of students in the Eudora school district. I have also sought additional opportunities to improve Eudora’s schools, assisting the district (along with the City of Eudora) in applying for and receiving a grant that fully funds an energy manager to ensure the district’s efficient operation.

What do you think is the most important issue that faces the School Board and how would you help solve that issue?

I believe the budget dilemma created by the combination of the recent economic downturn and the Kansas Legislature’s efforts to reduce funding to local school districts is the most pressing issue for nearly every Kansas school district – and Eudora is no exception. While no simple solutions to the issue exist, my approach to confronting this problem are outlined below.

The budget situation for the school district is an important topic.  What kind of solutions do you have to help solve School District budgetary issues?

Solutions to the situation are neither simple nor appealing. The easy cuts have long since been made, and every additional round of budgetary reductions will become increasingly detrimental to the education our children receive. I will work with the administration and other members of the Board of Education to address the problem in two ways.

First, I will seek to ensure that the rules of the school financing game are not changed to the disadvantage of USD 491. Patrons of the Eudora schools have a tremendous interest in preserving an equitable financing formula and seeking adequate levels of overall funding for our district. While the Kansas school funding situation is already gloomy, Eudora’s school district has weathered the storm intact, if not without some pains. I believe the voice of local school boards must shout to our legislators that short-sighted cuts will lead to irreparable harm to our schools, our state, and our children.

Second, I will work to identify creative strategies to work within the school-finance parameters eventually set by our state leadership. Identifying opportunities to improve operational efficiency and seeking innovative budgetary solutions will ensure that limited financial resources are spent in a fashion that maximizes the benefits to our students. Furthermore, attracting new families to the community and students to the district can help to offset future cuts.

What ideas to you have to either continue the quality of education or improve it at the schools?

USD 491 has done a tremendous job of identifying and promoting its core values in recent years. Continuing to adhere to these core values in the face of ever-tightening budgets will be critical to ensuring the ongoing success of our schools.

What is your position on state financing of School Districts?

I believe that the State of Kansas has a Constitutional obligation to provide “suitable provision for finance of the educational interests of the state.” Continued efforts by legislators to neglect this responsibility sacrifice the future of our children and our state. By shirking the responsibility and forcing local communities to shoulder a greater burden of school funding, Kansas leadership is threatening to create a massive chasm between the wealthy school districts and the rest of us in Kansas. The will be higher local taxes for many Kansans – including residents of Eudora – as well as decreased overall quality of education across our state.

What other issues do you feel are important to the school board?

There are numerous additional issues that will be important in the coming years. The ability of our district to recruit and retain the best teachers available presents an ongoing challenge. Creating an environment in which students feel free of bullying and other impediments to learning is also vital. It is also important that the district continue to offer a full range of learning opportunities, including not only core courses but also arts, athletics, technical and vocational education, and college-credit courses.

Why do you want to sit on the School Board?

As a father of three children living in the school district, I have a personal interest in ensuring that Eudora continues to place itself among the top school districts in Kansas. I want to bring my experience, knowledge, and passion for education to help move the district toward its goal of providing the best possible education to the children of Eudora.

We will be bringing you the responses from all the candidates over the coming days and week leading up to the election. You will have the opportunity to meet the candidates face to face on March 23rd when The Eudora Chamber of Commerce and co-sponsor our “Meet the Candidates” forum. The forum will begin at 6:30PM. For more information about the forum you can click on this link: Election day is Tuesday, April 5th.

Print Friendly