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The Minneapolis Regional Labor Federation,
AFL-CIO
and the
Bloomington Community Action Team present:

2017
Bloomington School Board Candidate Voter Guide

We asked each of the candidates running for Bloomington School Board to submit responses to questions from our Bloomington union members.

We hope that when making a decision on which of the four candidates you can vote for on Tuesday, November 7, this guide will help inform and spur discussion.

The Minneapolis Regional Labor Federation, AFL-CIO has NOT endorsed any candidates in the 2017 races for Bloomiington School Board.

Candidate answers to our union members' questions appear in random order.

Here are the questions and the responses.

Question #1
What is your experience working with racially diverse communities?


Question #2
As a school board member, who do you consider to be the most important stakeholders when making decisions about our schools?


Question #3
What role will you play to help reduce class sizes?

Question #4
What steps can you take as a School Board Member to attract and retain the highest quality, most diverse teaching workforce?

Question #5
What is the top change you would like to see in the district?


Question #6
Do you support the school levy?

Candidate Contact Information

Question #1
What is your experience working with racially diverse communities?

Mike Poke

Mike Poke: I’m a black man who works in the schools. I’ve experienced, first hand, the success and struggles that our schools have in making sure that every kid feels safe and supported. In my free time I mentor young people who need a little extra support to stay on the right path and I’m running because every kid in Bloomington deserves a world class education. Of course, my experience isn’t the same as everyone else’s across the board. That’s why I’ve spent a lot of time on the campaign trail listening to and learning from folks whose backgrounds are different from mine including members of the Somali and Latino communities.


Dawn Steigauf

Dawn Steigauf: I have lived in a bi-racial family for over 25 years when my husband and I adopted the first of our 3 internationally adopted children. My church shares space with congregations whose members are primarily people of color, and 1st or 2nd generation Americans. We have had joint services and shared meals with them. I have attended family engagement nights at school, visited the adult education program and attended the Latino Parent Association meeting when invited. My union, SEIU Healthcare is also racially diverse.  I served on the District Diversity Advisory Committee and have attended many equity trainings.

 

John Moravec

John Moravec: I agree with Sen. Wellstone that, “we all do better when we all do better.” The lives of our community members are interconnected and interrelated. We need to embrace our diversity as our competitive advantage and strengthen our schools with policies that promote equity, inclusion, and social justice. In my professional work, I collaborate with researchers and leaders around the world, particularly focusing on equity issues. Over the past decade, my work has focused on Latin American, building as much South-North knowledge as North-South knowledge. While I was at the University of Minnesota, I coordinated the Urban Leadership Academy, which was centered on providing professional development for educational leaders in diverse communities.

 

Tom Bennett

Tom Bennett: I was born and raised in Albuquerque, New Mexico which is a very diverse city so I grew up, worked and played within diverse communities.  I’m also married to a Latina and have biracial children.  I have also taught in various schools that have been highly diverse. This is true for the school in which I currently teach.  Also as a current school board member I have worked first hand with the diverse families and communities within our city. 

 

Paige Rohman

Paige Rohman: For over 20 years, I have worked in education – first as an elementary teacher, then in university settings.  Especially in universities, our community is made up of all walks of life and people from across the globe.  I have been fortunate to help students with their social and emotional development.  I have been a resource for students from historically marginalized communities to help them navigate and succeed in higher education. In addition to providing educational programming around issues of diversity and inclusion, I have been working recently on finding and addressing issues of equity in university policies.

 

Marcia Sytsma

Marcia Sytsma:

  • In New Orleans I worked with racially, ethnically, economically, linguistically, and culturally diverse coworkers and students.
  • I worked on many consulting projects focused on learning about and serving individuals from diverse backgrounds and perspectives.
  • I partnered with families of other gifted students in Bloomington who came with multiple backgrounds and learning about their unique challenges.
  • International practicum in Belize as a school psychologist for a small rural school near Guatemala, working with Belizean educators and students, extending to my dissertation in this school.
  • Work as a school psychologist in a rural Minnesota community with a significant Latino population and in racially and ethnically diverse schools in Minneapolis.
  • Choosing friendships from people not like me.

Jim Sorum

Jim Sorum: I grew up in St. Paul, Minnesota; graduated from St. Paul Central; attended the U of M. (a lot of racial diversity). I served in the military (Navy), worked at a manufacturing company (13 languages spoken), was president of AGORA (immigration assistance program in Twin Cities), and currently sponsor of Pakistani immigrant family in Bloomington.

 

Beth Beebe

Beth Beebe: I have a lot of experience working with racially diverse communities.  I enjoy working with people from other countries and cultures.  I lived in Japan for 3 years immersed in the culture, teaching children in an after school club, adults and college students.  I taught Mexican, El Salvadorian, Guatemalan, Chinese, Vietnamese, Somali and African American students in public schools.  I had an internship in an African American community youth center. I helped start an organization called CONNECTIONS that reached out to ethnically diverse families in a section 8 housing community in Bloomington.  We  helped meet physical needs and did summer programing activities for  the children.  I volunteered at the school interacting with the ethnically diverse student population. 



Jane Stoa

Jane Stoa: My nieces and nephews have greatly benefited from the American Indian program thru Bloomington schools. I have had the opportunity to volunteer on occasion with their event nights.  Our family has hosted students from several different countries where we have adapted to make everyone heard and accepted.  I also was a Girl Scout leader for 12 years where with my co leader we taught our girls that diversity is not just a word but the actual world that we all live in.  I believe we need to really see and respect each other to make a better world for our children.  Finally in the past few months I have had the opportunity to be a participant in action planning meetings for future welcome dinners.

 

Dan Stirratt

Dan Stirratt: I worked for a nonprofit for 15 years that placed a high value on racial and ethnic diversity. While with that organization, I participated in and facilitated training on aspects of racial and ethnic identity and reconciliation. We lived out that value in our staff hiring practices as well as in our recruitment of and engagement with our participants. As part of my independent consulting work, I had a long-term contract to provide leadership coaching, consultation, and conflict resolution for a racially diverse staff team in the Frogtown neighborhood in St. Paul. My current work at the MN Department of Human Services gives me the opportunity to collaborate on a daily basis with a diverse workforce that is committed to advancing equity.



Question #2
As a school board member, who do you consider to be the most important stakeholders when making decisions about our schools?

Dan Stirratt

Dan Stirratt: I believe all stakeholders are important. Anyone that is affected by a decision should have a voice in the process. Decisions about our schools involve a significant number of stakeholders: students, parents, teachers, paraprofessionals, administrators, board members, members of our community at-large, as well as members of a variety of smaller communities represented in our district--racial, ethnic, and cultural groups, immigrant populations, the LGBTQ community, people with disabilities and special needs, etc. As a school board member I would do my best to regularly ask, "Who else needs to be included in this decision-making process?" I believe that is how the best decisions are made.


Jane Stoa

Jane Stoa: I have not only stated this but I have shown thru years of volunteering with Bloomington schools that the we must never forget we are responsible to our students, teachers and staff for they are the reason behind every decision.  We cannot treat our schools as a business.  While we need to be fiscally responsible we can never forget who stands to lose when we as a district lose sight of who and what is important.  

 

Beth Beebe

Beth Beebe: Students and families are the most important stakeholders.  The student's education will be affected by the decisions made.  The parents want the best for their children and put them in the schools believing that that the decisions made will take this into account.  When parents are bypassed in decisions that end up negatively impacting their students, trust is lost and families leave the district.  I have seen this happen.  They want quality education.  They want their students taught basic skills to carry them into a career.  They want their children in a safe and respectful environment.  They want curriculum and teachers  that teach basic writing skills, higher level math skills, foundational history, and life skills to take them further.

 

Jim Sorum

Jim Sorum: As a citywide elected public official, all stakeholders are important when making school decision. That includes all resident taxpayers, senior citizens, parents of school age students (birth to adult), and all school employees. When gathering data to make decisions, the school board asks all groups to have members participate.

 

Marcia Sytsma

Marcia Sytsma:

  • Students
  • Teachers and support staff
  • Families
  • Community members who support students, teachers, and families

 

Paige Rohman

Paige Rohman: The most important stakeholders in our schools are our children.  Every decision should be framed from the perspective of what advances their success.  Beyond that, there are those who have a first-hand stake – teachers, paras, lunchroom staff, custodians, bus drivers, building mechanics, etc.  These folks have ideas and experiences that add a perspective to decision making that must always be considered.  And we also have stakeholders who have a vested interest in our schools being successful – business owners and homeowners.  Successful schools are critical to thriving businesses and strong neighborhoods.



Tom Bennett

Tom Bennett: I think all stakeholders are important and should be valued by the board and the school district.  Parents, students, teachers, employees, volunteers, taxpayers and community members all need to be engaged and involved so we can make our schools the best they can be and everyone feels that they have a role to play.  We as board members need to make sure that we are reaching out to our stakeholders and involving them.  This is what I’ve tried to do over the past four years and what I will continue to do moving forward.

 

John Moravec

John Moravec: I am working to put our kids and teachers first. All students must be treated and respected as human beings with recognized, universal human rights and responsibilities. This means students must have an active say in the choices regarding their learning. This is inclusion in a real sense. Our teachers deserve respect. This goes far beyond just saying ‘thanks’ or placing an apple on the desk. Our teachers deserve fair and open contract negotiations, and they deserve to be treated with dignity and as the professionals they are.



Dawn Steigauf

Dawn Steigauf: When making decisions about our schools what is best for our children/students is the most important consideration. Every decision should be made with the focus on students; obviously this includes parents/guardians as stakeholders. School staff and the whole Bloomington community are stakeholders. Our students’ success takes everyone, great staff and engaged and supportive parents/community. But the children should always be the primary consideration when making decisions about our schools!

 

Mike Poke

Mike Poke: The problem with lists is that you inevitably leave someone out. Parents, teachers, students, and taxpayers are all important stakeholders but too often the school employees like custodians, secretaries, bus drivers, and food service workers are forgotten when it’s time to make decisions. As an Executive Board Member of my union (SEIU Local 284), which represents a lot of those folks, I know that we play a critical role in student outcomes. Busses, hallways, and lunchrooms are the frontlines for bullying prevention and all the best instructional practices in the world won’t make a difference if a kid is too hungry to pay attention. I’ll make sure that everyone is at the table when the school district makes important decisions.


Question #3
What role will you play to help reduce class sizes?

Marcia Sytsma

Marcia Sytsma:

    • Promote the operating referendum
    • Engage stakeholders in developing solutions that emphasize more direct student relationship development
    • Reconsider administrative compensation relative to teacher/support staff compensation options
    • Identify areas where class size and caseload are more critical for students (e.g., special education services and other services for students at risk)


Jim Sorum

Jim Sorum: Bloomington schools have had the lowest class sizes in the metro area for several years. This been accomplished by maximizing our resources (teachers and buildings).  My role would be to work with the other board members, administration, and teachers to identify sites not up to building capacity and then determine the best use of space.  The easy answer is to receive more funding from the state for more teachers and paras especially in the middle schools.

 

Jane Stoa

Jane Stoa: That is a hard question to answer as each year numbers fluctuate between grades and schools.  One of the areas that I have felt has been overlooked is the direct connection between class size and need of additional support.  I believe we not only need to strive to keep our classrooms at a manageable number but that we should be looking for avenues to increase our use of paraprofessionals in the classroom.  I will continue to be an advocate for smaller class sizes as well as additional support in our classrooms.

 

Beth Beebe

Beth Beebe: We have to pass the referendum.  Without it, the possibility of closing a school to make up for funding may occur causing class sizes to increase.  I also want to research to see if our smaller class sizes are really making a difference in our student's progress.  I will talk with teachers to evaluate how smaller class sizes have helped with the achievement gap.  Smaller class sizes require renovations to existing classrooms and the addition of teachers.  This requires funding we don't have. We must be creative with the spaces and staff we have. I will research ways to create areas for paras working with smaller groups where class size may not be reduced. I will work within limitations.

 

Dan Stirratt

Dan Stirratt: Keeping class sizes small and reducing the size of larger classes requires consideration of budget, staff, and physical space. The referendum on the ballot this fall is essential for this goal. If the referendum does not pass, we have one more opportunity, but it likely would be a lower rate. This would significantly restrict our financial resources for reducing class sizes. (If that referendum did not pass, we would be in an even more austere situation.) Passing this year's referendum is an integral part of my campaign. With appropriate funding, we can expand our educational staff team. As a member of the board, I would prioritize budget allocations to retain and recruit additional staff. Finally, we need to consider the physical space of our schools. Smaller classes may require more classrooms--or creative use of our existing classrooms. I would like to see a study on what kind of space BPS needs in order to achieve ideal class sizes for each grade, projected out as far as possible, in order to develop and implement a long-term plan to that end.

 

Paige Rohman

Paige Rohman: We have a need for small class sizes, but we also have a need for more individual student support.  I will work to ensure that, whenever it is possible, we are moving dollars from leadership and oversight toward direct mission delivery.  This means we have to make choices.  In education we are very good at doing new things… but we are not very good at stopping doing things.  Unlike private schools or universities, our public schools can’t just raise tuition or increase taxes to fund all our priorities, wants, and needs.  I will look for input from school staff as to what is working and needing more investment.  I will also ask them what we might do less of or stop doing altogether.  I will ask those same questions of parents.  There will be areas where ideas match, and there will be areas where it’s different.  Those are the topics where the Board should work with administration to prioritize investment.



Tom Bennett

Tom Bennett: Bloomington already has some of the smallest class sizes in the metro area and has smaller class sizes than our surrounding districts.  As a board member I have tried to make difficult budget cuts with the least amount of impact to the classroom as possible and have tried to maintain our low class size.  I will continue to prioritize and maintain low class sizes if I am fortunate enough to serve for a second term.  I think that my experience as a teacher helps add perspective about class size because I know first-hand how important it is to have manageable class sizes.  

 

John Moravec

John Moravec: Smaller class sizes, especially in students’ early years, have a measurable return on investment as they prepare children for success later. I will work to support smaller class sizes in all content areas, taking note that Bloomington already does well relative to its peer districts, with some exceptions such as middle school exploratories. The core issue is that resources are focused on instruction areas that are perceived as being more ‘important’ at the expense of others; i.e., arts, music, technical education, and FACS. While we might not be able to predict the future, we can still create a future in which we all want to live. If we are to develop well-rounded individuals, capable of competing in the emerging economy, we need reduced class sizes in exploratories and the arts so that students have better opportunities to develop critical soft skills such as problem-solving, flexibility, creative thinking, intercultural competence, and confidence.

 

Dawn Steigauf

Dawn Steigauf: The average class size in Bloomington is already lower than most districts around us. The board and administration have worked hard to keep class sizes low even during times of cuts. Educators and parents both value small class sizes. While I support small class size, research shows that quality teachers are just as important if not more than small class size for students to be successful. I would continue to support both small class size and quality teachers/staff. Working to pass the referendum and on campaigns to elect public school supporters is part of my support for small class size. Even though I was elected to school board only four years ago I have been advocating for school funding for over 20 years. I have been appointed to state task forces, served on committees and stakeholder groups. I once testified that I had worked in a special education classroom (substitute Para) so understaffed that I didn’t know how the teacher went back every day.

 

Mike Poke

Mike Poke: If there was a cheap and easy way to reduce class sizes the current board would have done it already. The good news is that it’s not complicated – it just requires political courage. We need to build more space and hire more teachers and that will require more money. I’ll continue to work with my union (SEIU Local 284) and other stakeholders to advocate for more resources from Saint Paul and Washington. I’ll work with the Bloomington Federation of Teachers to make sure that they have everything they need in their contract to recruit and retain high quality teachers that meet the needs of our city as we continue to grow and change. I’ll also work with the Building Trades to make sure that we use great, union contractors so that we know that the job will get done right the first time. An important step is to vote yes on the levy, which is something I talk about in every conversation I have with voters. It’s not rocket science it’s just going to take hard work and guts.



Question #4
What steps can you take as a School Board Member to attract and retain the highest quality, most diverse teaching workforce?

John Moravec

John Moravec: BPS should be the place to go for top educators and we need to keep that position within our region. We’ve lost some great teachers to neighboring districts and we need to keep them here. We need to build on quality, while carefully using our limited resources. Our school board must address the issue of declining morale among our teaching staff, celebrating the value each educator brings, and providing the resources they need to bring out the best in our kids. During contract negotiations over the past year, I feel the voices of teachers, staff, and parents were not heard - and the hard-working people who work in our district were shown little respect. As a school board member, I will lead calls for the district to improve relations with its teachers and to re-engage our teachers in district leadership and decision-making.


Mike Poke

Mike Poke: I went to an all black school until the 5th grade, when they changed the law and integrated my school. I can tell you, without hesitation, that diverse classrooms are better. As Bloomington’s kids continue to become more diverse we need to make sure that we’re recruiting and retaining teachers who reflect that diversity. My own experience and the research says that there are social, emotional, and academic benefits, for both white students and students of color, to having teachers of color and indigenous teachers. I’ll work with the Bloomington Federation of Teachers to make sure that new teachers, especially teachers of color, have what they need to stay in the profession. I’ll also work to build a “grow your own” teacher residency program in Bloomington that provides tuition scholarships and stipends to district employees, recent graduates, and community members seeking teaching licensure.

 

Dan Stirratt

Dan Stirratt: I believe this begins with developing a strategic plan that aims at improving our overall educational work environment. More than just higher salaries, we need to make BPS a desirable place to work. This means addressing concerns that affect teacher morale and job satisfaction. I would review any current employee satisfaction survey in use by the district to be sure we are hearing what we need to hear from our teachers--and supplement that data with focus groups to expand the information bandwidth. Other districts have found success with implementing mentoring programs for new teachers, who face significant challenges in their first few years of teaching. This is especially crucial for teachers of color, who have to deal with additional challenges in a majority-white teacher workforce. BPS has some mentoring structures and systems in place, but as far as I understand, nothing that currently meets these needs. We also need to re-evaluate our student-teacher partnerships, teacher recruitment, and hiring practices to ensure we have an active pipeline of qualified teachers that reflect the growing diversity of our student population.

 

Tom Bennett

Tom Bennett: We need to continue to offer better than average wages and benefits so that we can attract and retain the best teachers. We also need to treat them with respect and involve them in the decision making of the district.  As far as attracting a more diverse teaching workforce, we need to do a better job as a district.  This is an area that many metro districts struggle with because only about 2% of graduates with a teaching degree are of color and they are in high demand. I am hopeful that the new “Grow Your Own” program that the legislature just passed last year will help us get some of our current employees of color into teaching programs and then teach for us.  I have also asked the district to try a get more diverse student teachers because a lot of our student teachers end up teaching in our district.  

 

Paige Rohman

Paige Rohman: I want a district where teachers are empowered to deliver education in whatever ways reach their individual students.  People are attracted to work in places where they feel like they are valued as a member of the team, where they have the ability to do challenging work, where their hard work is rewarded.  The board should place a priority on finding and addressing any issues that detract from creating this kind of workplace.  In addition to providing the best total compensation package, we must find ways to fund ideas that can reach students and families in different ways and where they are at.  These things will make Bloomington a desirable district to work in, and we will have our pick of the very best teachers.  Finally, we should implement initiatives that encourage our students of color to pursue careers as teachers, helping them see teaching as in their reach, as an attractive career path, and a way they can make a difference.  We will never meet our goal of a truly diverse staff if we aren’t cultivating the next generation.

 

Marcia Sytsma

Marcia Sytsma:

  • Work with teachers and communities who reflect diverse perspectives to identify unintended barriers to entry and retention.
  • Promote options that reduce bias in student discipline and engagement
  • Recruit from and support institutions that emphasize advanced training for culturally diverse teachers
  • Provide equity leadership training for all educators and encourage professional development related to facilitating onboarding for educators with diverse backgrounds
  • Involve partners from diverse communities in setting district and school priorities related to equity
  • Treat diverse teachers and educators as educators who bring valued relevance to our students. Look for leaders who communicate a sense of belonging and relevance for students and who leverage their own perspective for the common good—diversity in our teaching staff is not only good for students who may share their background, it enriches those who do not.
  • Increase transparency of decisions and accountability; include teachers in setting priorities and decisions about implementing policies
  • Fund professional development


Beth Beebe

Beth Beebe: To attract a diverse teaching workforce, we need to recruit from a greater pool of teaching universities within and outside of Minnesota.  Minnesota has limited it's teaching force by not accepting teachers who received their education in MN or were licensed in other states.  This limits the talent and diversity found in teachers who have relocated here from other states.  Rules are starting to change and our district can now help ethnically diverse teachers from other states now in MN to work on licensure procedures. Teachers want to work in a supportive environment.  Administrators need to support their teachers by enforcing discipline policies and listening to teacher concerns. I want to hold administrators accountable to enforce policies that support teachers.  I will attend site council meetings and PTA meetings to be sure our teacher's concerns are heard and acted on.  I will also listen to teachers in contract negotiations.  They need to feel valued.   They need to be respected and encouraged. Teachers need have a voice in decision making at their site and know they make a difference.  

 

Jane Stoa

Jane Stoa: There was a time when Bloomington was a sought-after place to work.  If I am elected I will strive to bring back the support and respect that many teachers feel have left our district.  I believe we need to look to our teachers and listen to what they are saying about the classroom and the current needs.  We need to work together to continue to create an atmosphere that teachers want to continue to be a part of.  We have an amazing pool of talent in our teachers and we can never take that for granted.



Jim Sorum

Jim Sorum: This is another example of a board member working as part of the team to search for well-qualified staff of color and then offer them a position.  We have gone to job fairs, colleges, recruiters and other agencies with applications. A lot of potential teachers of color are looking for positions in urban schools where they live.  In Bloomington we encourage students to look at the teaching profession and offer assistance if they are interested.

 

Dawn Steigauf

Dawn Steigauf: I think we already have a high-quality teaching workforce. The question is will that continue as we face a teacher shortage. We need a shift in society that values public education. As a board member I feel part of my role is to emphasize the great work I see teachers and staff doing everyday. I think Bloomington residents are supportive but across the country I still see a large anti-public school movement.  Our board can work together with administration to offer competitive salaries and benefits, small schools, small class sizes, opportunities for leadership and professional development, and a positive school climate but if no one is going into education then the pool will become increasingly smaller and our choices smaller as well. The same is true for diversifying our staff, only a small percent of those going to school to become teachers are people of color. I believe we will continue to see less people going into the education field unless we all start standing up for public education.


Question #5
What is the top change you would like to see in the district?

Tom Bennett

Tom Bennett: I feel the district does a great job at providing innovative programs to meet the needs of our students to prepare them for college or a career.  One thing I would like to see is an expansion of our World Language offerings.  I would like to see an immersion school and or foreign language instruction at the elementary level.  Currently our World Language is for grades 7-12 and I’d like to foreign language starting at kindergarten or even some exposure at the preschool level.


Paige Rohman

Paige Rohman: I would like us to spend some time looking at how we can improve communication at all levels.  Our district-level communications are not terribly compelling or very deep.  And at our individual schools, we task principals with managing communications (in addition to all of the other work they have on their plate.)  This leads to wide-ranging disparities between the schools, which impacts student participation and parent involvement.  There are also issues of internal communication, between and among administration and staff.  I believe we can do better if we pay attention to this issue, and hopefully turn this into an area of strength.

 

Dawn Steigauf

Dawn Steigauf : Adequate sustainable funding is what I would like to see changed. I believe there has been a movement going on to privatize our public schools and part of this effort is to provide less funding and more requirements. Thus, the message becomes public schools are failing so we need corporations to start running them. It is highly likely that they will be non-union.  Look at how many places this has already happened. Inadequate funding causes division in the community. It turns the conversation to “us and them” and “those kids”. I want to live in a community that sees all students as “our” children. We need to become united in electing people who support public schools.

 

Mike Poke

Mike Poke: We need new leaders who are willing to face racial disparities head on. Bloomington is a city that values education but we benefit from past commitments rather than keeping that same promise for new generations. This has led to warning signs for children of all ages and particularly children of color. Bloomington has a responsibility to make sure that all kids in our city have the same opportunity to learn and succeed. As a member of the School Board I will push for the change we need to make sure that all of Bloomington’s kids get a great education.

 

Jim Sorum

Jim Sorum: One consideration for change would be the way and manner the board communicates with the public, parents, and students. Besides two formal meetings a month to conduct district business, we could have town hall meetings or forums as needed about issues that surface. Another change would be to re-visit school start times and busing schedules. Parents and students have expressed concerns.

 

Beth Beebe

Beth Beebe: I would like to change the math and reading scores which have been in a decline for quite some time.  In order to do this the district needs to get back to the basics.  They have used an ineffective elementary math curriculum for too long and our scores prove it.  A new one is being piloted in some school this year, but it doesn't have a long track record.   I will hold the curriculum committee accountable to use a tried and true curriculum to boost our dismal scores.  As far as reading and writing, grammar is not taught as a subject.  It is “imbedded,” I am told.    We need a program to teach the fundamentals needed for technical and college writing.    I also want to promote the math and reading corps which has been independently evaluated to help struggling students get to grade level in math and reading.  This program is underused in our school and I want to revive it.


Jane Stoa

Jane Stoa: Less busy work more teachable moments orchestrated by the very teachers working with the students.   We need to let our teacher teach for learning not teach for testing. To be successful our students need to achieve the knowledge of how to learn and we are fortunate to have teachers who do teach this day in and out.  

 

Dan Stirratt

Dan Stirratt: Through my campaign, I have learned more about BPS than I previously could perceive as a former student, as a resident, and even as a parent of three current students in our schools. My greatest concern is the breakdown of trust and communication between individuals and groups charged with the collective responsibility of educating our students. This breakdown was most prominently illustrated in the tense contract negotiations that left staff working without contract for 18 months. My observation is that those wounds are still fresh. As a professional organization development consultant, this concerns me. We need to resolve the pains of the past and rebuild a coalition of trust among BPS staff, administrators, board members, parents, students, and residents at-large.



Marcia Sytsma

Marcia Sytsma:

  • Work with teachers and communities who reflect diverse perspectives to identify unintended barriers to entry and retention.
  • Promote options that reduce bias in student discipline and engagement
  • Recruit from and support institutions that emphasize advanced training for culturally diverse teachers
  • Provide equity leadership training for all educators and encourage professional development related to facilitating onboarding for educators with diverse backgrounds
  • Involve partners from diverse communities in setting district and school priorities related to equity
  • Treat diverse teachers and educators as educators who bring valued relevance to our students. Look for leaders who communicate a sense of belonging and relevance for students and who leverage their own perspective for the common good—diversity in our teaching staff is not only good for students who may share their background, it enriches those who do not.
  • Increase transparency of decisions and accountability; include teachers in setting priorities and decisions about implementing policies
  • Fund professional development

 

John Moravec

John Moravec:  Our teachers and staff deserve better – nobody has their backs. Our school board has become passive, and the leadership style of the administration has contributed to the declining morale in our schools. I will work to address the leadership crisis that has emerged in the district. Fiscal responsibility and leadership start with active oversight and transparency. We need to develop leaders who listen, spend more time in our schools, explain how they operate, and honor the work, effort, and skills it takes to be an effective educator. I will be present, fighting for quality in our schools, and I will do so in a way that is respectful of all of our stakeholders.



Question #6
Do you support the school levy?

Paige Rohman

Paige Rohman: Yes, without reservation.  I have been serving on the Yes4BPS citizen committee, which meets weekly and is leading the advocacy campaign in our community.

 


Marcia Sytsma

Marcia Sytsma: Yes, unreservedly. Our legislators in the district tried to protect funding, and some have improved it. Yet there is significantly less funding overall and we need this levy as a bare minimum for continued programming and reduced class sizes.

 

John Moravec

John Moravec: Yes. I am concerned that a reliance on referenda will lead to great inequities among school districts. As a board member, I will engage our state legislators to help correct our funding formula so that no district should have to rely on levy by referendum to cover operating expenses.

 

Dawn Steigauf

Dawn Steigauf: Yes. I made a donation and serve on the Stakeholders Committee. I provided referendum information at several National Night Out parties. I volunteered at back to school nights and did the lit drop. This is the 4th referendum I have volunteered on, the first as a board member.

 

Mike Poke

Mike Poke: Yes, and I share my support with every voter that I talk with on the campaign trail. The referendum will provide $465 more per student, which is a critical investment if we want to ensure that Bloomington continues to live up to the promise that we make to our kids.


Dan Stirratt

Dan Stirratt: I fully support the 2017 operating referendum to increase the school levy. I serve on a parent team through Westwood Elementary that is promoting information and voter turnout. I also have made the referendum an integral part of my school board campaign.


Beth Beebe

Beth Beebe:  Yes I do.  It is necessary to keep all of our operations going from teachers, to buses, to cafeteria workers and custodians and our facilities functioning.  We need the increase to keep up with inflations and preserve our district's savings account.  It is an investment in keeping our schools open. 

 

Jane Stoa

Jane Stoa: In a word yes.  We need to continue to support our schools by providing the funds to bring in the tools and talent to help our students be successful in an ever-changing world.  

 



Tom Bennett

Tom Bennett: Yes.  As a school board member, I already voted to put the levy on the ballot this Fall.  As a citizen, and a teacher, I have voted for every school district tax levy because I know how important they are.  Please vote Yes4BPS.

 

 

Jim Sorum

Jim Sorum: [did not respond]

Candidate Contact Information

Beth Beebe

 

Beth Beebe
Beebeforschoolboard.com

Tom Bennett

 

Tom Bennett
tomfortheboard.com
612-991-6260

John Moravec

 

John Moravec
johnmoravec.com
612-234-1231

Mike Poke

 

Mike Poke
mentormike23@gmail.com
651-335-8806

Paige Rohman

 

Paige Rohman
www.paigerohman.com
emailme@paigerohman.com
952-856-0537

Jim Sorum

 

Jim Sorum
jbsorum@msn.com
952-884-7911

Dawn Steigauf

 

Dawn Steigauf
djsteig.1@msn.com
952-297-2365

Dan Stirratt

 

Dan Stirratt
danstirratt.com
dstirratt@gmail.com
952-250-7703)

Jane Stoa

 

Jane Stoa
votejanestoa@gmail.com
952-887-2959

Marcia Sytsma

Marcia Sytsma
marciasytsma.com
marcia@marciasystsma.com
612-978-1367

 



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