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 wrap up our School Board Candidate Profiles with Joe Pyle.
Please tell about your background and qualifications for a position on the School Board.
I have been married to my wife, Andrea, for 31 years. We have 7 children and all have attended Eudora schools. My wife and I feel very strongly that the attendance of Eudora schools, by our children, has laid a very solid foundation for them and has played a vital role in their success.
I have spent my entire career in the business world working for Fortune 100 companies in various capacities. Many of my years were spent in management roles overseeing and developing teams with up to 20 reports. I am currently the owner of two small businesses and employ several people part time
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.
Fortunately the school district several years ago was proactive in prioritizing our core values. Any funding cuts that should come, I would be most diligent in watching which cuts impacted our core values that we have deemed some of the most important to ensure a quality education for our students. One example of these core values is maintaining smaller class sizes with a low student to teacher ratio.
Do you support raising the local mill rate to cover any underfunding by the state and why or why not?
When you look at the LOB formula, relative to Eudora Schools, you can readily determine that we have a low assessed valuation so by raising the LOB the actual financial impact for a district our size would not be that meaningful. It would also put undue pressure on many of our senior citizens who are on fixed incomes. For these reasons, I would be reluctant to do much with the LOB.
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 feel that we should have a set of standards that helps us develop the best curriculum for our schools. I feel the Common Core Standards are a step in this direction. Many educational experts have come out in support of the Common Core and it simply stands to reason that a program such as Common Core will help further prepare our students to be Career and College Ready.
What other issues do you see as important decisions the School Board will face in the near future?
In todays challenging and competitive workplace, it is critical that we, as a school district, continue to look for ways to improve and challenge our students to achieve excellence in all of their endeavors. Eudora Schools have made remarkable progress in the past 10-15 years and I feel they have done a great job in preparing their graduates for the outside world. The standard, that has now been set, must continue to be a goal that we strive to achieve. I also want to continue to see the ability of our teachers to be granted tenure and have all due processes available to them. Many of these fine professionals have devoted their entire careers to the teaching profession and we, as a school board, must do all we can to continue to support them.
Why do you want to sit on the School Board?
Having served for 12 years, it has been a real privilege to serve the patrons and students in the community of Eudora. Our schools face some unprecedented challenges with the upcoming state funding shortfalls and I feel that my experience and compassion for the students and staff of the Eudora School District will help be a valuable voice for the schools.
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 wrap up our Pre-election Day coverage.