Eudora News and Information – www.eudorareporter.com
We are wrapping up the 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 incumbent Mark Chrislip.
Mr. Chrislip, please tell about your background.
I have lived in Eudora for 33 years. We have 3 grown children who attended K-12 in Eudora. We also have 8 grandchildren who are or will be attending school in Eudora. Currently I’m the V.P. of Marketing for foneGEAR which is a privately held electronic accessory company. I have a degree in Business Management.
What qualifications do you have for a seat on the School Board?
I have been on the School Board for 20 years. During that time I served as President of the Board for five years and have been on the negotiating team for 16 of the 20 years.
What do you think is the most important issue that faces the School Board and how would you help solve that issue?
The most important issue facing the School Board is dealing with the financial cutbacks from the state. The cutbacks we are facing now are forcing the Board to make cuts that could have an impact on the quality of education that we provide for our students.
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?
The budgetary issues for the district are issues we have little control over since we are at the mercy of the state legislators and how they decide to balance the state budget. Our job is to figure out how to best use the funds we receive to ensure we are providing the quality of education that our patrons expect. As a district we only have a few options to raise revenue beyond what the state provides. We can raise taxes which I’m not a proponent of. Or we can start to assess fees for education and extra-curricular activities. My philosophy and the philosophy of the district have always believed that public education ought to be free and my goal would be to protect that philosophy as long as we can. So with few options to raise revenue we are forced to look at how we can cut expenses to balance our budget. Our district has always been a frugal district and over the past few years we have reduced expenses in areas where we could without impacting jobs for our employees. Because of the severity of the budget reductions we are faced with making tough decisions about staffing, class size, elective courses we offer, and extra-curricular programs that we provide. These decisions will not be easy but my commitment will be to evaluate all the options and make the decisions that will have the least amount of impact on the quality of education for the student. Make no mistake about it though we are at a point where the cuts we make will impact students and it’s my goal to do all that we can to minimize the impact.
What ideas to you have to either continue the quality of education or improve it at the schools?
Over the years the quality of education that we provide in our district has made tremendous strides. We have excellent staff and teachers who work hard to make sure we are always striving to improve. The School Board has the responsibility of evaluating our progress and setting policy that will hold the district staff and teachers accountable for maintaining the overall mission and values we have established for our district. As a board member my commitment will be to continue to make sure our district mission and our values are achieved.
What is your position on state financing of School Districts?
As expressed earlier our legislators have the responsibility of a presenting a balanced budget. With revenue down that is becoming a more and more difficult task and cuts across the board are inevitable. My feeling is education has been cut enough and further cuts will have an adverse impact on the education that our kids will receive. My hope is our legislators will agree and look to other places to balance the budget.
What other issues do you feel are important to the school board?
I have had the opportunity of representing the board while negotiating annual contracts with the teachers. Over the years the Board and the teachers union have enjoyed a strong relationship, even though we disagree on issues we have always maintained high respect for one another. This has given us the opportunity to agree on contracts that have been beneficial to both parties. If elected I commit to continue to work hard at maintaining this important relationship.
Why do you want to sit on the School Board?
I take tremendous pride in the education we provide in Eudora. We have wonderful facilities, dedicated teachers and staff, excellent extra-curricular programs, and high academic achievement. This has been the result of hard work from our community members, parents, district staff, teachers, employees, our kids, and the oversight and direction from the School Board. I want to sit on the Eudora School Board so that I can do what I can to help maintain and grow the standards of excellence we enjoy.
You will have the opportunity to meet the candidates face to face on March 23rd when The Eudora Chamber of Commerce and Eudorareporter.com 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: http://www.eudorareporter.com/eudora-news-meet-the-candidates/. Election day is Tuesday, April 5th.