Your $ 232 School Board General Election Guide (De Soto)

In-person advance polls began on October 23 in Johnson County, and election day will take place next week on November 2. As residents go to the polls to vote for the $ 232 Board of Education in De Soto, we’ve prepared an election primer to give people an easy way to find out where the candidates stand on issues.

No other outlet devotes so much attention to giving voters in the Shawnee Mission area a way to find out where local election candidates stand on the issues facing our community. If you enjoy having a medium providing this type of coverage, we hope you will consider becoming a subscriber if you are not already. Your first month of full access costs just $ 1.

Who is on the ballot

Seven candidates are running for the $ 232 Board of Education, with races contested in Districts 4, 5 and 6. They are:

School District 4 Member
School District 5 Member
School District 6 Member

All Johnson County residents who live within the $ 232 School District boundaries and are registered voters will be able to vote for candidates in their specific districts. Click here to see the map of the positions of the members of the board of directors. Click here to search for your address to verify which school board candidates will appear on your ballot.

Candidate questionnaires

Earlier this month, the Post published candidate responses to the quiz we developed with reader feedback. The five elements of the questionnaire are linked below:

Question 1: What is your assessment of how the district handled COVID-19 risk management at the start of this school year? Do you think the masks are effective in slowing the spread of the virus? Do you support the masking requirement for students? Read the answers here.

Question 2: Diversity, equity and inclusion agendas have come under intense scrutiny in recent months as national media figures and politicians alarmed at the teaching of ‘critical race theory. Or ideas related to it. Do you support the district’s current approach to diversity, equity and inclusion? Why or why not? What does the term “critical theory of race” mean to you? Read the answers here.

Question 3: When did you attend your first school board meeting? What question motivated you to participate and what did you learn from watching the group work live? Read the answers here.

Question n ° 4: What do you think of the role of technology in the classroom? Are you comfortable with the time students spend in front of screens during the school day? Why or why not? Read the answers here.

Question n ° 5: What is the biggest challenge facing $ 232 schools today, and what should the board of education do about it? Read the answers here.

Candidates Forum

The Post held in-person forums for Board of Education applicants of $ 232 on September 29. Video from the event is embedded below, followed by a summary of the topics they discussed and their corresponding timestamps to help readers find the candidates’ answers. quick:

  1. USD 232 continues its work related to the massive $ 85 million bond measure approved by voters in 2018. The bonds are funding more than two dozen projects in the district, including new sports fields at both high schools, a new performing arts center at De Soto High and the expansion of the cafeteria in Starside Elementary. Which projects have you seen to have the most benefits for students and staff and why? [12:34]
  2. It is fair to say that the most discussed topic in USD 232 over the past year, as in many school districts, has been its COVID-19 pandemic management. School board members from here and elsewhere were faced with an unprecedented crisis… and had to make critical decisions involving complex science and passionate emotions. We’ll get to some real questions about masks and other more detailed answers to the pandemic, but first this: What do you think is the role of the school board in managing the COVID-19 pandemic by establishing policies that affect student health and the learning environment? [19:24]
  3. Currently, $ 232 – like most other public school districts in Johnson County – requires a mask for all students, staff, and visitors inside its facilities. Families can request exemptions based on certain medical conditions. There are also situations, such as having lunch or playing sports indoors, where students can remove their masks. Let’s start with a YES or NO question… and then I’ll ask some follow-ups. Do you support the district’s current mask policy? [29:25]
    • If yes: Critics, among others, say the current mask policy is too broad and deprives parents of the power to make choices for their children. At school board meetings, we heard from parents opposed to mandatory masks say that wearing the mask exacerbates school problems and mental health issues in children. Some opponents of universal masking point out that although children are infected, serious illness and death from COVID-19 in children is rare and therefore a universal mask rule is overbroad. How do you respond to these concerns? Is there room to make more accommodations for parents who want their children to be unmasked, while preserving broader collective health?
    • Otherwise: There is growing evidence, both locally and nationally, that schools with universal mask policies experience fewer cases of COVID-19 than schools with less strict mask rules. For example, in Johnson County … Spring Hill, the only public school district without a universal mask rule, had COVID rates more than double the county average for schools, according to the county health department. More cases at school are quarantining more students at home, missing in-person lessons. If elected, would you advocate for more flexible mask rules, even if that potentially meant more students would be exposed to COVID, get sick, and have to be excluded from homeschooling? Is this an acceptable compromise for you?
  4. It has now been a year and a half since we have faced the challenge of the COVID-19 pandemic. And school board members, along with many other elected officials, had to learn on the fly about public health, epidemiology and the science behind things like vaccines and ventilation. If you are elected, you will likely have to make some crucial decisions about how the district continues to manage its response to the pandemic. In view of this, some of our readers want to know where you get your information about COVID-19 and what sources of information on the pandemic do you trust? [44:00]
  5. Debates about masks and other COVID-19 mitigation protocols, in schools and elsewhere, often boil down to deeper disagreements over values ​​and what is the right compromise between collective public health and individual freedom. If you are elected, you will likely be faced with pandemic-related decisions that will impact thousands of students and their families, and may require you to weigh these competing demands from individuals and the community as a whole. How do you see this compromise between individual freedom and public health? Which way, if one or the other, do you lean? [51:45]
  6. Last year, $ 232 added a goal to its long-term plan: “Improve diversity and engagement, including racial and ethnic, across the district. “ This strategy included the creation of a parent advisory group that would help the district assess potential areas for improvement. The district also considered joining a “fair cohort” of metropolitan-wide schools convened by the Kauffman Foundation and committed to conducting ongoing professional development with teachers and staff. Do you support the neighborhood approach to diversity, equity and inclusion so far? Why or why not? [59:39]
  7. A term that many of our readers wanted to ask is “Critical theory of race”. Now, I’m going to ask you in a moment to define what this term – “critical race theory” – means to you. But here are a few things to know before getting into this discussion. Earlier this summer, the Kansas Association of School Boards issued a statement saying that “Critical Race Theory” is not part of any Kansas State academic standard, calling it a “generally theoretical approach to material. discussed in higher education “. Likewise, the Kansas State Board of Education has stated that critical race theory has been “sadly confused with educational equity.” Yet there are many prominent political and cultural leaders, both local and national, who insist that public school students must be protected from “critical race theory” or the concepts that derive from it. So how do you define ‘Critical Race Theory‘ and think it presents a challenge for the $ 232? [1:07:47]
  8. Perhaps today more than ever, parents, families and students are aware of the the impact that technology can have on learning, both good and bad, after the pandemic, the last school year forced many children to spend a lot of time learning at home. As of 2019, all students in grades 6 to 12 have been assigned their own laptops, while every elementary class in the district has been given a set of devices to use while teaching. What do you think of the neighborhood’s one-to-one initiative? How it works ? What could be improved? [1:14:00]

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