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Lee’s Summit School Board Candidate Questionnaire Carl J. Quijas

Lee’s Summit School Board Candidate Questionnaire Carl J. Quijas

March 31, 2017 

The Tribune sent out a questionnaire to each of the candidates filing for a seat on the LSR7 School Board. On Tuesday, April 4, these nine candidates will be narrowed down to the three seats available. 

Carl J. Quijas  

Occupation: Retired from USAF and Lee’s Summit Schools 
Education: Bachelor’s Degree in Management from Peru State College, NE
Years lived in LS: 19
Previous elected offices held: None
Why are you running for school board?
To give all who are part the R-7 Community a capable, retired resident who has the time, ability and motivation to direct and improve the lives of students and staff as an active member of the Board.

What other volunteer/civic involvement have you had? What have you learned from that experience?

If elected, what would be your top priority as a board member?
In conjunction with other School Board Members, I hope to see the education of our children improve by: 1) recognizing the importance of teaching; 2) ensure all staff are compensated at or near the top in the metro-Kansas City area; and 3) ensure for all equitable treatment in district activities.

Where do you stand on technology in the classroom? 
While I do not usually “stand” on technology – it might break! – but technology makes learning accessible to all, whatever the ability. It is an expectation for students to be competent in all levels of technology, in higher education and the work place. Each child having one’s own Chromebook means each student can immediately access the needed information. Prior to this, a child needed to wait for a teacher to sign-up for computer lab time or wait for a classroom PC to become available.  

What do you foresee being the biggest hurdle facing the district in the upcoming years? 
State and federal government not valuing public education by its actions of continual cutting and under-funding learning opportunities for our kids. Also, the intersection of technology and all its challenges (fiscal, appropriateness, etc.) How will this impact learning and preparation for higher education and the workplace?

What are your plans for returning funding to dwindling and lost extracurricular activities? 
If elected, I would work diligently with other members of a Board as a team to examine the budget closely for funds to restore such activities as elementary string music and middle school intra-mural sports.

How would you make the R7 district as inclusive as possible? 
To ensure for all equitable treatment in district activities is in item in my platform.  I really believe this will take some education for all students, administrators, teachers and staff to overcome some learned perceptions from outside of school.  Education is the key!

In your opinion, what are the strength and weakness of our school district?
For strengths, the dedication of the faculty and staff to the needs of the students – from top to bottom, all are important to student learning. Maintaining salary and benefits to the top of the metro-Kansas City area is an important step.  For areas for improvements, addressing the lack of actual time spent teaching the student is adversely effected by state and federal agencies’ mandates for non-teaching activities.

How do you view the financial management of the district? Would you do anything to change it?
The district seems to be in good shape for the next years. The changes coming from different state and federal legislation may stress the financial management to a point more change will have to be made.  Changes outside the district must be monitored closely.

Do you believe in an itemized budget? 

Do you believe that a teacher’s evaluation should be based on student test scores? 
No, the rationale for such actions is never to improve student learning or outcomes, but someone else’s bad idea to do away with tenure for perceived cost savings. Also, each child comes from a unique home situation and other environments; which impact test scores at any given time.

Police Chief Travis Forbes is wanting to implement a program to increase suicide education and awareness. What are your ideas for addressing this topic in all levels of the public school system? 
City Officials and School Board need to work together to address these serious problems for our young people – it is a great time to start working together on any idea to help our students.  

Would your occupation and/or other time investments hinder your ability to service the district? How will you make sure you have adequate time and energy to serve?  
I am not running to do anything else, no other political ambitions, than to keep the R-7 School District the best in the metro- Kansas City. I can dedicate all the time needed to achieve this goals. As I retired employee of the Lee’s Summit R-7 School District, I want to see our schools, and therefore our community, stay great. The ideal board should be a mix of educators, managers and parents/community leaders. I am volunteering to represent the citizens of Lee’s Summit and Greenwood in managing their children’s education.

In light of the recent and past incidents of teachers and volunteers for inappropriate contact/relations with a student, what steps would you recommend the board take to prevent further issues? Should changes be made to the current background check requirements? 
The board must constantly monitor how people communicate socially and apply the appropriate policy changes to keep the student/staff relationship at the professional education level without losing the lines of communication necessary for good learning. Also, the teaching team concept in our schools allows for peer review of all staff’s actions. The current background checks should be at the level required by state and federal law. Anything above those standards may keep us from getting some of the best staff.

How do you plan to address public concerns and improve openness and transparency?
I believe the board needs to use all methods available to communicate to the public their meetings, open work sessions, and major board actions. By keeping the community aware of all the changes and items on the table we are able to get both positive and negative feedback on the process while it is in work.

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