Eudora News and Information – www.eudorareporter.com
With the upcoming elections for City Commission and School Board, we wanted to take time to highlight each candidate in the race.
All candidates were sent a questionnaire to fill out and respond to and stated that their responses to those questions will be presented as sent to us with no editing.
Today, we feature School Board Candidate Bryan Maring
Please tell about your background and qualifications for a position on the School Board.
I graduated from Fort Hays State University with a BA in Secondary Education and MS in Athletic Administration. During my 15 years in education, I taught and coached at several universities and also spent 2 years as a teacher and head football coach at Ellinwood High School in Kansas. I then decided to join the pharmaceutical industry where I currently am a sales manager of 10 representatives in an area covering the state of Kansas. My unique background in having and education and business experience allows me to understand the challenges in education from a teacher level, and from a business end where you must gain all the information, look at all the options and make the best decision for the school district.
The most important issue facing the school board is funding. Tell us how you would decide on any budget cuts that may need to be made now and in the coming year.
As budget shortfall will be the main challenge all school boards face in the state of Kansas for the next several years, here is how I have made tough decisions in my current role in the business sector:
1. You must have a common goal as a school board by which all decisions must be centered around. I believe that all decisions should be made with the best interest of providing a safe environment for the children to learn, minimum effect on the number of persons involved, and maintaining the highest quality of education.
2. You gather all the facts as it pertains to the decision.
3. Outside the box think of ideas and strategies that could be used meet the goal of the decision (refer to goal in #1).
4. Test the ideas and/or strategies to determine if they could or will work.
5. Make the decision that best meets the goal set by the school board (refer to #1). Decisions are not always easy but having a process by which to make decisions is. Having had to make decisions over the past 10 years in the business environment which had impact on the customers we served and the people who worked for me, I know the importance every decision we will make and will not take those decisions lightly. Every decision has an impact on someone and we need to realize what that impact is and how best to make that impact as positive as it can be.
Do you support raising the local mill rate to cover and underfunding by the state and why or why not?
I do support passing a mill rate to cover the underfunding by the state. The main reason is the importance of making sure we deliver the best education for the children of this community. By voting to increase the mill levy, first the vote will only give the board and district the ability to tap the additional funds as needed. For example, the district and school board may only need 1% or 2% additional, meaning the vote only gives them the flexibility to tap that resource when needed not an overall 3% hike. As a community we are challenged to provide the best education possible to the children of this community and the only way to continue to provide this is to make sure we can have flexibility in funding our schools.
The State Board of Education has adopted and begun implementation of the Common Core Standards in school districts through the state. What is your position on the Common Core Standards and if they were to become optional, would you support keeping or removing them from the curriculum in the Eudora School District?
I believe there needs to be a set of standards by which schools are measured to determine the progress they make in educating our children. Secondly, I believe issues as it pertains to schools should be made at the state and local level and pushed down by federal mandates as part of funding. The challenge around Common Core is it is the current standard which all schools are buying text books, training teachers, and the investment, dollars, is quite substantial. While I may not like every aspect of Common Core I do believe in having a standard to measure the performance of our schools. Talking with educators around the area, it seems there are things people like and dislike. This is with any standard that has ever been rolled out in any industry or education system. If it is repealed by the state legislature, I would take into account the amount of money already spent to by textbooks, new technology programs and train our teachers. With the budget the way it is, I would not support any endeavor to change it if the cost of changing would be spending more money to buy new text books, technologies, and retrain teacher at a high cost thus limiting the opportunity to keep, add, or maintain the current educational standards in our schools.
What other issues do you see as important decisions the School Board will face in the near future?
All the other challenges within our schools will still have a component of the budget challenge. Additional challenges such as retention of our best teachers, as stated earlier one of our priorities is to provide the highest level of education possible. To do that we must retain our best teachers and keep those top teachers here within our school district.
Why do you want to sit on the School Board?
I have had one daughter graduate from Eudora High School who currently attends Drake University and one daughter who is currently a 7th grade student, I have seen what the Eudora Schools system has done and is doing to help prepare them for their futures. I want to run for School Board because I believe my unique background of education and business can help us through the next couple of years and the tough decisions that need to be made. I believe at Eudora we offer unique opportunities for our students a track through vocational training through our Ed Tech building and a traditional college prep, not many schools give that opportunity to the community. I want to help maintain and grow those opportunities to help students prepare for their career choices. Eudora is a great community, with untapped potential in our children, our schools will help tap into that potential and as school board member I can help making sure those potentials are reached.
The City elections will be held on Tuesday, April 7. Polls will be open from 7:00 A.M. to 7:00 P.M. Voters can vote early by mail or by going to the Douglas County Courthouse. For more information on advance voting, you can visit the Douglas County Elections website: https://www.douglascountyks.org/depts/voting-and-elections/advance-voting
Three of the five candidates running for the City Commission will be selected. On the School Board, six candidates are vying for four seats.
We will have more in depth information about polling places as we near Election Day. The remaining candidates will be profiled over the next few days.