School board candidate forum set for October 27 at 7 p.m. at hotel

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Perry School Board incumbent Kyle Baxter, left, and first-time candidates Eddie Diaz, center, and Travis Landgrebe will be on the ballot Tuesday, Nov. 2 for two school board seats in the Perry Community School District.


The Hotel Pattee will host a public forum Wednesday, Oct. 27 at 7 p.m. at which the three candidates for election to the Perry Community School District Board of Directors will talk with voters and answer questions.

Two school board seats will be contested in the Tuesday, Nov. 2 election, and the names of three candidates will appear on the ballot: incumbent PCSD school board member Kyle Baxter and first-time candidates Eddie Diaz and Travis Landgrebe.

Baxter is a 2002 graduate of Perry High School. He owns and operates AccuJet Iowa, a municipal sewer maintenance and repair company. Baxter is currently the school board president and is seeking a third term on the five-member board. He has three children in the PCSD school system.

Diaz graduated from Perry High School in 1997 and served in a U.S. Marine Corps from 1998 to 2005. He has a bachelor’s degree in political science from Iowa State University and a graduate degree in education from Drake University. His background includes seven years as a teacher at Perry High School and two years as principal of St. Patrick Catholic School in Perry. He has three children in the Perry schools.

Langrebe, a 1998 graduate of Oskaloosa High School, manages the Perry Fareway store. He has been with Fareway since 1996 and has worked in Perry since 2011. Landgrebe is an active member of the Perry Chamber of Commerce and the Perry Elks Lodge. He has two children in the Perry school system.

The Hotel Pattee Candidate Forum is free and open to the public. Jim Caufield, editor of ThePerryNews.com, will moderate the forum.

School board seats in Iowa are unpaid, nonpartisan offices held at-large, so the two candidates with the most votes will be declared the winners of the November contest. Write-in candidates are also potential factors in the contest.

The Iowa Association of School Boards has provided the following set of sample questions to assist school board candidates and voters .

Community members need to know as much as possible about a candidate for their school board. The following questions can help citizens understand the views of candidates. These questions can also help prospective school board members think about the broad range of issues that form the basis of constructive boardsmanship.

This list is intended to help the media or community groups in selecting questions for candidate forums or publications. Choose from the questions below to help create a set of questions that best fits the needs of your community and the format of your forum. Be sure to provide the questions you choose to candidates in advance to allow them time for a thoughtful response.

BACKGROUND AND REASONS FOR SEEKING ELECTION

  • What motivates you to want to become a board member?
  • What particular skills or experiences qualify you to serve as a school board member?
  • How long have you lived in this school district?
  • In what school or district activities have you been involved?
  • How much time will you/can you give to board service?

EDUCATION ISSUES AND NEEDS

  • What do you see as the current challenges facing public education in our state? in our country?
  • What are two or three strengths of which our district can be proud? Why do you see these as strengths?
  • What are your best hopes for the future of this school district? How would your aspirations help our students?
  • If elected, what would you hope would be key accomplishments of the board during your years of service?
  • How can our district best ensure students are prepared for success in school and life?

ROLES AND RESPONSIBILITIES OF THE BOARD

  • Why are school boards necessary?
  • What are the leadership responsibilities of school board members?
  • What do you believe are the most important characteristics of an effective school board? Of an effective school board member?
  • What specific strengths would you bring to the board table?
  • An individual school board member has no authority; only the board has a whole can make decisions for the district. What skills or traits will allow you to contribute to effective operations of the board as a whole?

SPECIFIC ISSUES

You might have specific issues that have been in discussion in your district. Adapt the questions below as appropriate regarding issues current in your district.

  • Based on your current understanding, how can schools best address the learning needs of diverse students?
  • What is your opinion of your school district’s policies toward ______? (Examples: students with special needs; English as a second language; special education programs; students with behavioral problems; mandatory vaccinations)
  • What roles, if any, should districts assume for dealing with such societal problems as poverty, hunger, emotional illness or drug abuse?
  • What should our school district be doing to ensure the safety of students and staff?
  • What do you think about vouchers? Tuition tax credits? Charter schools?
  • What should our district be doing to address the challenges of declining/increasing enrollment?
  • What do you see as the role of technology in education?

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