In response to my invitation to the candidates for the Beaumont Unified School District Board of Trustees, I received the response below in an email from Margaret De Longchamp. I welcome the other candidates to also use my blog to get their message out. I am interested in fostering a discussion of the candidates' positions and I encourage you to post your comments.
Since my Son Cody will be graduating from the Air Force Boot Camp this weekend,I'll be unable to attend the upcoming candidates forum. Since I saw the questions posted on your blog regarding the upcoming election, and I will be unable to answer them in person, I thought I would submit answers to your questions. I hope you will consider posting them on your site.
Thanks for your great work on the Spirit run.
Margaret De Longchamp
What do you see as the Board members role in the relationship between the Superintendent and the Administration?
I see it as a working relationship for the good of the Students, Parents, Staff and Administrators. But ultimately, the Board sets policy and it is the responsibility for the Administration to implement that policy. Not the other way around.
How will you increase parental involvement and update the district parent involvement policy?
Parental involvement is the number one factor in student success. The District's Parent Connect program is a great start. One action I would take is to more aggressively market that program. Additionally, recent events like the one held for Palm School highlighting the recent improvement in test scores is a great event for parents and encourages them to stay involved. Additionally, The recent spirit run was a good family event that helped promote parental involvement. Finally, I would work to identify barriers that make parental involvement intimidating, I think committees and workshops should be run by parents and community members.
Where do you propose spending cuts to balance our budget?
This is a difficult question given that educational funding comes from Sacramento. However, as a small business owner when times are tough you have to prioritize. My first priority will always be to ensure that cuts be kept away from the classroom. If elected, I'll require a thorough review of all cost to make sure they are being used efficiently and that we are not simply wasting money. I would also ensure that Administrative cost are kept in check and that BUSD is not top heavy.
What programs, if any, would you like to see reinstated in favor of other cuts?
I would work to reinstate programs that have proven to help students succeed. I believe that smaller classes help both teachers and students, and I would make that a priority.
What projects do you want the next sale of Measure Z Bonds to address?
My first priority will be improving the safety around the school campus. I would immediately work to ensure that access to school sites are safe and I would use Measure Z funds to ensure that happens. In the long run, Beaumont is growing and we will eventually need another high school and I would also work to secure a new high school site.
What would you do to fix the drop off areas at Brookside?
I know firsthand about this, my daughter was a student at Brookside and I too had to park in the dirt field. This and the access around the high school must be fixed immediately and ultimately it's the Districts responsibility to set up and ensure that our kids are safe at school sites.
If elected, I'll work to use Measure Z funds to correct this problem immediately. If need be, I'll delay the construction of the new district office and use those funds to fix the roads around our schools. Our children's safety is more important than a fancy new office.
Do you think Kindergarten is optional and could be eliminated to meet budget requirements?
No, I think that Kindergarten is the first time many kids are exposed to an educational environment. Many families can't afford pre-school and Kindergarten will help the educational development of children.
Should BUSD offer a GATE like program for gifted and talented kids?
Yes, challenging our kids to excel is in their best interest. Additionally, I would work to expand after school programs that target GATE students.