OUR OPINION: Voters should ask school board candidates these 10 key questions

OUR OPINION: Voters should ask school board candidates these 10 key questions


With the deadline for candidates to file having passed, the field is set and the campaign is under way to fill three seats on the Sioux City Board of Education.

Five candidates will vie to fill the open seats of Perla Alarcon-Flory, John Meyers and Paul Gorski. Alarcon-Flory is a candidate for re-election; Meyers and Gorski are not.

In addition to incumbent Alarcon-Flory, this year's field includes Shaun Broyhill, Miyuki Nelson, Ron Colling and Jeremy Saint.

No shortage of questions await answers from these five candidates at what is a time of challenge for education at the local, state and federal levels.

In our view, voters should ask and candidates for school board should be prepared to respond to these 10 key questions:

1) Infrastructure

What are your priorities for building projects, including new schools?

2) Legislature

On what education issues at the state level should the local Board of Education take a leadership position?

3) Diversity

What steps do you advocate our school system take to meet the challenges of a student population growing in diversity?

4) Programs

What is your position on controversial administrative proposals discussed during the last school year focused on changes to the middle school reading program and changes to the Talented and Gifted program?

5) Openness

What is your opinion on how the school board responded earlier this year to allegations made by John Chalstrom, former chief financial officer for the district, about Superintendent Paul Gausman? How would you seek to protect the public’s right to know the business of the local school district?

6) Compensation

What principles will guide your decisions when salaries and benefits for employees of the school district are discussed during budget deliberations? How, if at all, will changes made during the last legislative session to the state’s collective bargaining laws impact your approach?

7) Budget

What steps will you support and do you believe the Board of Education should take if state budget challenges result in allowable growth of 1.1 percent (the figure approved by the Legislature this year) next year?

8) Consolidation

In what ways should the local school district work with the city of Sioux City and Woodbury County to merge services as a means by which to save taxpayers money?


What, if any, changes do you believe should be made to the Iowa Public Employees Retirement System, which faces unfunded liabilities of $5.6 billion?

10) Common Core

Should Iowa schools embrace the Common Core State Standards Initiative in mathematics and language arts?

We look forward to a robust community discussion of these important issues in the weeks left before the Sept. 12 election.

One final thought.

Because Board of Education directors receive no pay or benefits for their time and work, school board service represents public service in its purest form. Our community owes all candidates for election to the board respect and appreciation for their willingness to assume the responsibilities entrusted to this position.


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