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Board of Ed candidates address local, state issues

May 10, 2012

With the June 5 Primary less than a month away, The Inyo Register continues its look at where local and state candidates stand on specific issues.
The 27 candidates appearing on local ballots in about 30 days were invited to respond to a set of questions dealing with matters on a countywide or state level and specific to the districts where they are running for office.
The Register’s series of these questions and responses continues today with the candidates for Inyo County Board of Education Trustee Area 2: incumbent Lynn Cooper and challenger Kenny Lloyd.
Trustee Area 2 essentially covers the City of Bishop.
Each candidate was provided the same set of questions as his or her political challengers, and asked to keep the responses as concise as possible.
Future issues will include the responses from the candidates for U.S. Congressional District 8 and State Assembly District 26.
As before, their responses are printed verbatim with the order chosen by drawing.

1.) What do you view as the primary duty of a Board of Education Trustee?

Kenny Lloyd: I feel the primary duty of a Board of Education Trustee is to provide the necessary assets required to educate children by managing all the various resources at the Board’s disposal. Teachers do the educating. The Board manages people and resources.
Lynn Cooper: As a member of the County Board of Education for almost four years, I understand completely the differences in the role of the County Board as compared to local school district trustees. We are elected to work collaboratively with the also elected County Superintendent of Schools.  Among our responsibilities are having fiscal oversight for the many services and programs we provide, such as ROP, Special Education and Early Childhood Education. It has been my experience that working collaboratively with Superintendent McAteer and the other six school districts has been a highly effective practice. Each of us is available to our constituents to answer any questions, address concerns, or hear ideas that we can share with the entire board. Our current board of Mary Kemp, Alden Nash, Harry Petersen, Chris Langley, and myself have made great strides on behalf of our youth, especially during these challenging fiscal times.

2.) What are the greatest challenges facing education in Inyo County right now?

KL: The greatest challenges facing education in Inyo County are the same challenges facing all public schools in California; the funding of mandated programs by State and Federal bureaucrats, educating the individual under standardized curriculums and how to fairly and equitably measure teacher performance in the class room.
LC: The greatest challenge is insuring that every child is provided a quality education so that this great county, state and nation will produce a generation of productive citizens. California used to pride itself as being the Golden State in elementary, secondary and college education. We must regain that focus and start placing the education of our youth as our highest priority.

3.) What are some possible solutions to these challenges on the local level?

KL: The County Superintendent and Board in partnership with the various district Superintendents and Boards must continue to be proactive and work together in creative consolidation of resources, maintain the resources we have already invested in and consider every idea during the current fiscal education crisis.
LC: While Sacramento’s fiscal woes have cut schools, ICSOS has not cut services to our youth but rather increased opportunities by reducing administrative overhead, cost controls, and innovative business ventures such as providing business services for a Los Angeles-based charter school which annually provides over $1 million to Inyo schools; all of this while maintaining a balanced budget. In addition, the Board’s leadership two years ago in unifying Bishop Schools brings an additional $900,000 annually in new funds for our students. Yes, we face many fiscal challenges but the County Board of Education has taken steps to reduce Sacramento’s impacts while continuing to focus its full attention to raising the academic bar for all students.

4.) What is your stance on Gov. Jerry Brown’s tax proposal, nicknamed the “Millionaire’s Tax”?

KL: Governor Brown is holding our schools hostage. If the Governor’s proposed tax initiative does not pass he has threatened to apply 90 percent of the State budget cuts to come from schools to balance the State budget. Public schools do not use 90 percent of the State budget, however. Doesn’t seem equitable.
LC: Next year’s budget will reduce our local schools’ revenue by at least seven percent; the Governor’s “Millionaire Tax” which if passed, will eliminate that proposed cut. The education of our children is the most important investment that we as taxpayers and citizens can make to insure a productive and informed citizenry.

5.) What are some areas you’d like to see improve with regard to the quality of education in our local school districts?

KL: We need to be educating our children to be able to compete in a world economy. We seem to have plenty of Spanish speaking people, maybe we should be teaching Mandarin and Cantonese to better capitalize on our trade with China? America scores 25th in math on a global scale with other nations. If our children can’t calculate they can’t compete in the current business environment.
LC: As part of our efforts to raise the academic bar, we have instituted new programs this past year. “Project Inspire,” reaching 150 families in its first year, is designed to get parents  involved in their child’s education by having them volunteer in the classroom and offering workshops designed to inform them of available programs and services to improve their academic experience. In cooperation with the local business community, we’ve revamped our vocational education programs (ROP) to insure that all students graduate with marketable business skills and vocational pathways that are aligned to the needs of our local employers.

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