Anyone who lives within Wichita school district boundaries can vote on this race.
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Occupation: Retired; 28 yrs. WPS
Education: B. of Architecture (KSU); MBA (WSU)
Political experience: I’ve served on several City of Wichita Boards including City of Wichita Art & Design Board, the City of Wichita Access Advisory Board and the Plan Steering Committee for the 2015-2035 City of Wichita Community Investments Plan.
Community involvement: Excellence in Public Service Award 2006; Served on City of Wichita Art & Design Bd, Access Advisory Bd & Steering committee for 2015-2035 Community Investments Plan; Grace Med BOD; Friends of Wichita Library BOD; Tutor at Washington & Linwood Schools; Bread of Life Walk to Emmaus BOD; Site Council Member East High; Adult & Children's Christian Ed at Chapel Hill Fellowship & Church of the Savior
How long lived in district: 61 years
Facebook: Julie Hedrick for BOE
Occupation: Bookkeeper for family business, homemaker
Education: BS in Business Education Minor in Economics from Central Washington University
Political experience: none
Community involvement: PTO Pres. 3 years, VP 1 Yr. Treasurer ½ year so far at CMA, Involved in Hyde’s PTO and College Hill’s PTO as well. Participant in CMA, North East Magnet’s Site Council as well as Hyde and Robinson in the past. Current President of the College Hill Neighborhood Association, past VP of CHNA. Volunteer and paid Coordinator of Special Needs at First Mennonite Brethren Church. Multiple VBS, Sunday School, Kid’s Ministry Team Missions coordinator positions at FMBC. Member of WIN
How long lived in district: 16 years
Facebook: Trish Hileman
Debra J. Washington
Education: Market Degree in progess
Political experience: Tom Docking campaign 1980's , 2nd Chair Sedgwick County Democratic Woman
Community involvement: City of Hope, Black Arts Festival, Urban League of Kansas, Wichita Children Home, Sedgwick County Democratic Women, and Chisholm Trail COC Homeless Food Program
How long lived in district: 35 years
Explain how your experiences and education qualify you to be on the school board.
Julie Hedrick: I am uniquely qualified for school board due to my lifelong experience with USD 259. I was employed by USD #259 for 28 years, retiring as Division Director of Facilities. I have positive, trusting relationships with current BOE members, staff and administrators. I retain institutional knowledge & am familiar with #259 budgets and policies. I have a Bachelors of Architecture, KSU and MBA, WSU.
Trish Hileman: I have a BS in Business Education, volunteered in schools extensively, Home Schooled 8 years, e-schooled a couple years and have 5 children in the public schools which all prepares and qualifies me to be on a School Board. However, I actually think being a member of the Wichita community is enough to qualify anyone to be on the School Board.
Debra J. Washington: My 30 plus years experience as prior USD 259 student and parent
If elected, what would be your top priority?
Julie Hedrick: My top priority would be the retention and hiring of the best possible teachers. The teacher is the single most important person at school for the student’s success. Good teachers have left our district due to budget cuts, minimal raises, longer school days, ect. Due to lack of respect at the state & decreasing budgets annually, less young people are seeking training to be career educators.
Trish Hileman: My top priority will be to engage our community in the important work of educating our children. I cannot think of a more vital function of our community/society, it is one we can all get behind and encourage/contribute to.
Debra J. Washington: Changing the requirement to allow children aged four who will turn five within 90 days after the start of school to enter Kindergarten
What should the Wichita school board do to recruit and retain qualified teachers?
Julie Hedrick: We must tackle this multi-faceted issue at many levels including esteeming education and teachers at both the state and local level, providing good compensation for teachers and improving teacher morale. We will need to seek creative solutions to this difficult problem. Two creative options used in the past but were eliminated through budget cuts were “Grow your own teachers” and job sharing.
Trish Hileman: The District should making it a top priority to compensate teachers well. Additionally we have to evaluate the whole profession of teaching and ensure we are looking at all that goes into and out of it to make sure teaching in 259 is an attractive prospect.
Debra J. Washington: Sufficient paid, Teaching incentive, and wage bonuses
Last year the school board lengthened the school day and cut 15 days from the calendar to cut costs. Do you favor this move? Why or why not?
Julie Hedrick: As a board member, I will ask the question “What is best for kids” in all decisions. This cut necessary to meet budget constraints was not the best for kids. Late hours at school are difficult for young students. For older students, the time impacts extracurricular activities which are important for graduation, college admission and even to keep students in school.
Trish Hileman: I understand this move, and thought at the time, it was the most appropriate given the dire financial situation of our District. However it should have been reversed as soon as possible, the District could have voted to return the schedule and then asked the teachers to vote on the change a year earlier and, kept hundreds of teachers from leaving our District.
Debra J. Washington: Not in favor of lengthened school day; The additional time takes away from the student's time, leaving them with less time for other personal activities. Earlier time factor also a disadvantage for bused students. In favorite of cuts; If our State refuses to fund the Schools, what option is left for the school board to meet budget requirements?
Recent data shows an increase in the number of suspensions, detentions and other discipline incidents in Wichita schools, particularly at the elementary level. What could the school board do to address the issue?
Julie Hedrick: As a significant player in #259 building safety issues including safe rooms at every site, I know safety is crucial. The increased behavioral issues are both a safety and an academic concern. I am supportive of the new First Step program initiated by Supt. Thompson and the current BOE. We also need to continue and increase our successful work with the Safe and Civil Schools program.
Trish Hileman: This data also correlates with our “Bell to Bell” curriculum policy and our elimination of a recess for early grades. Our society has also been dealing with a lack of respect for authority and teachers in particular. We must set a high standard when it comes to behavior and respect in our schools. Teachers should not have to work in a hostile environment.
Debra J. Washington: Revising the discipline policy; Staffed law enforcement person in the schools, discipline support curriculum that teaches acceptable and appropriate behavior skills and addressing every incident case by case.
Are Wichita schools adequately preparing students for college or careers? What more could be done?
Julie Hedrick: The District's AVID program focus on first generation college attendees has had much success particularly when started early. The STEM programs which prepare students for technical training are important to me as a female in an engineering profession. As need is discerned and more funding is available, more of both these programs and additional college/career programs are merited.
Trish Hileman: Some students are being prepared excellently for College or Careers! I do think we have to be more intentional and innovative when it comes to students who are at risk in our District. I see lacking, the people our students can connect with as advocates and process experts. I think we also need to cultivate a culture in our schools that does not see College as the only successful outcome.
Debra J. Washington: With the budgetary limitation placed on them by our state, they can only do what's monetary allowed, however, more improvement is needed to prepare our children to excel educational and compete on an international level with other students.
What other priorities do you have?
Julie Hedrick: Continue to work on the goal of increased grad rates so ALL students have success. Segments require extra resources including migrant & homeless, ESL, MTE, at-risk, ect. Operationally, to preserve the historical use of the capital outlay budget for building maintenance and improvement in spite of the expanded legal use so that we retain the good facilities achieved during the two Bonds.
Trish Hileman: We have a shockingly understaffed Special Education staff, the last number I heard was between 50-60 teachers short in this area. Our District must work with our teachers, their Union, the legislature and our community to build our pipeline of gifted Special Education teachers.
Debra J. Washington: Decreasing the percentage of elementary children that are failing in reading; Identify the problem's reasons, them applying the correct measures to address and correct the problems
Please state your position on open records, open meetings and transparency in government.
Julie Hedrick: Current statutory requirements for records and meetings are important in order to provide information to the public. Still, there is a current perception that government is not transparent. This concern will be addressed during the upcoming Board Listening Sessions to determine ways to increase participation, communication and trust with our parents and our community.
Trish Hileman: We cannot be afraid of asking questions in public. As elected members we must be transparent in our business, obeying the intent, not just letter of the law. Anyone in the audience should speak on any item on the Agenda without having to register. We must arrange our Agenda differently, allowing rote business on the consent agenda, all other business is read. We can conduct a public Agenda review.
Debra J. Washington: Any and all records that pertain to the student should be open to parents/caregivers. Meeting with information that involves the students and or the parents, as well as any school-related items/topics that revert to students/parents should be open to the public. There should be levels of transparency on individual cases. 1. What the transparency pertain to and 2. What is been revealed