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Audio from Oct 24 Candidate Forum: USD 480 Board

Brock Kappelmann - October 25, 2023 5:44 am

You can listen to archived audio from the October 24 USD 480 school board candidate forum with candidates for the general election in November.

Candidates in attendance at the forum, in their speaking order which corresponded to last-name alphabetical order: Jesus Baeza; Margarita Biggs; Mike Brack; Brad Carr; Brian Mannel; Travis Martinez; Kaylee Ruiz-Lopez; Enrique Weissel.

Mike Campbell served as moderator for the forum; Campbell is a member of Kansas National Education Association, which sponsored the forum.

The candidates began with opening statements, in alphabetical speaking order:

The moderator sometimes rephrased or paraphrased a question when repeating the question for candidates. This story gives in “quotation marks” the original phrasing of the question before the first candidate answered it.

Some questions prompted one or more candidates to exercise their option to follow-up with an additional half minute of speaking time.

Q1: “What do you see as the greatest problem facing public education in Kansas and in USD 480?”
Margarita Biggs; Mike Brack; Brad Carr; Brian Mannel; Travis Martinez; Kaylee Ruiz-Lopez; Enrique Weissel; Jesus Baeza. Follow-up by Weissel; Brack; Carr.

 

Q2: “What do you think is the biggest strength of USD 480? And, what is one thing that we do as well or better than anyone else?”
Brack; Carr; Mannel; Martinez; Ruiz-Lopez; Weissel; Baeza; Biggs.

 

Q3:  […] “Do you support or oppose the teaching about human diversity and having reading options available that reporesent the rich human diversity of our students and staff which include race, religion; ethnicity, gender, gender identity, and sexuality? Why or why not?”
Carr; Mannel; Martinez; Ruiz-Lopez; Weissel; Baeza; Biggs; Brack. Follow-up by Baeza; Weissel; Ruiz-Lopez; Carr.

 

Q4:  “Throughout the controversy last year, the curriculum controversy that we’ve been speaking about, it did create some controversy and some divides among the concerned groups in the community… If elected to be on the board, how would you work with all the parties involved to help make sure this isn’t a continued issue and to help mend fences?”
Mannel; Martinez; Ruiz-Lopez; Weissel; Baeza; Biggs; Brack; Carr.

 

Q5: “If a book or classroom content is deemed questionable or inappropriate by a parent, group of parents, or community group, which option do you think is most appropriate, and why? There are, we’ve seen some boards of education have done outright bans. We’ve seen some have given parents or teachers the option to opt out, as we have done here. We’ve seen that some boards of education vote to leave the book or content as is. We’ve seen others that vote to create a democratic group of parents, teachers, administrators, and people within the district. Would you support any of those going forward, or something else?”
Martinez; Ruiz-Lopez; Weissel; Baeza; Biggs; Brack; Carr; Mannel.

 

Q6: “What criteria and processes should be used to create curriculum and supporting material? As a member of the board, what would be your ideal curriculum process?”
Ruiz-Lopez; Weissel; Baeza; Biggs; Brack; Carr; Mannel; Martinez.

 

Q7: “As you are aware, supporting teachers and valuing their hard work helps to retain teachers. How would you ensure that teachers feel trusted, valued, and supported by you personally as a board member?”
Weissel; Baeza; Biggs; Brack; Carr; Mannel; Martinez; Ruiz-Lopez.

 

Q8: “How would you characterize your attitude toward collective bargaining? What role do you see yourself taking in this process?”
Baeza; Biggs; Brack; Carr; Mannel; Martinez; Ruiz-Lopez; Weissel. Follow-up by Baeza.

 

Q9: “Some of you may or may not know a few years ago the due process for teachers was revoked. LNEA believes that every student deserves highly qualified, committed teachers. We also believe that job security helps to provide that. How do you personally feel that due process for teachers affects this goal?”
Biggs; Brack; Carr; Mannel; Martinez; Ruiz-Lopez; Weissel; Baeza. Follow-up by Biggs.

 

Q10: […] “Do you have a plan to assist teachers in the district with furthering their education?”
Brack; Carr; Mannel; Martinez; Ruiz-Lopez; Weissel; Baeza; Biggs.

 

Q11. […] “Would you support or oppose more internal professional learning opportunities? Do you feel like internal professional development should be individualized to grade or content?”
Carr; Mannel; Martinez; Ruiz-Lopez; Weissel; Baeza; Biggs; Brack. Follow-up by Carr; Weissel.

 

Q12. “We do as a district employ many interim teachers; some of them are extremely talented; some have quite a bit of potential. What would you propose that the district do to get these people trained and educated, and to encourage them to stay in the field of education and to stay at USD 480?”
Mannel; Martinez; Ruiz-Lopez; Weissel; Baeza; Biggs; Brack; Carr.

 

Q13. “What is your stance on inclusion of students with disabilities into the general education classrooms?”
Martinez; Ruiz-Lopez; Weissel; Baeza; Biggs; Brack; Carr; Mannel. Follow-up by Weissel.

 

This concluded the question-and-answer portion of the forum.

The candidates then gave their closing statements, in the following speaker order:  Kaylee Ruiz-Lopez; Enrique Weissel; Jesus Baeza; Margarita Biggs; Mike Brack; Brad Carr; Brian Mannel; Travis Martinez.

Moderator Mike Campbell then concluded the forum.

 

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