Hilleary: Finances: The district depends on the state for nearly 50 percent of its funding and the state’s inability to fulfill its obligations makes it challenging. Federal funding, around 15 percent of the budget, also is questionable. The remaining portion is local taxes. Raising local taxes would not be our first option, but it could be a possibility. We need to continue to review the district’s expenditures and make appropriate reductions. Students meeting or exceeding learning standards/high school graduation: Parental involvement is needed to ensure more students meet and exceed learning standards and graduate from high school. Parents can establish and nurture a will to learn within their children and challenge them to be successful. Staff retention/training: The district must continue to recruit new educational leaders from universities, but also “grow our own” with current students who wish to become educators. Our students who come back as teachers believe in our district. We must continue to provide competitive salaries for teachers and administrators to maintain our top-notch staff.
Roth: Decreased local, state and federal funding: The projected deficit for next year was $5.7 million! The board reduced this to about $2.7 million cutting 24 positions. There is a limit to the cuts that can be made and still provide a quality education. We must maintain and improve the quality of our schools if we hope to graduate qualified individuals for our work force and recruit business and industry here. Graduation rate: The 2011-2012 graduation rate was 73.6 percent. When more than 25 percent of young people lack a high school diploma, it is a deterrent to business and industry. I will support efforts to improve graduation rates, including the alternative school and reinstating the credit recovery program. I also want to increase parent involvement to help students succeed. Local businesses and industries could work with schools to offer student internships that would be mutually beneficial. More math and science: Few students are inclined to study math and science. I think increasing opportunities for hands-on experiences in these areas would interest more students.