Interview By: Randy Lewis
Why would I be a good school board member?
I would be a good school board member because I have the training, time, and energy to add to the board and continue the excellent work it has begun. I am a former teacher committed to working hard for our students, district staff and our community.
I understand the needs of students and teachers from experience in the classroom.While teaching for Mason City Schools I worked together with our building staff, students, parents and community leaders to help achieve the National Blue Ribbon Award. I would work just as hard for our district. Making sure that ALL students achieve is very important to me.
I am a creative thinker and willing to learn from and share ideas with school leaders and other innovative districts. I want to continue to expand Monroe Schools with the best in education from other successful programs to enhance our studentís experience. We have an excellent district and I would strive to continue providing the best in educational opportunities for our kids.
I have the time and energy available to be an advocate for all students. I enjoy having the opportunity to give to my community and use my former professional training to serve others. I know that there are many important decisions coming that require thoughtful consideration from board members. I strive to understand all sides and make the best decisions possible. I am hardworking, sincere, a team player and not afraid to ask questions if I need clarification.
I love Monroe schools and volunteering regularly. I am involved in helping with book fairs, picture days, field trips, office volunteer, science fair attendee at local, district and state, choir booster, choir robe fundraising, quarter auction, sports mom, season ticket holder, help at some home sporting events, MOMS supporting the levy, community exchange school visit program, attend music events, concerts, and school board meetings. I feel that by being able to be so involved in our school community I have been able to meet many students, parents, staff and community leaders. This helps to remind me of who I would be representing if elected.
Whatís more important, academics or sports?
Academics are the most important. Education is our top priority as a parent and as a school district. As parents, we know an education will allow our children the best opportunity for success. However, there are many great things you learn from being part of a team. Sports keep many students interested and motivated in school.
The lessons learned in sports are a valuable addition to the overall development of our children. Being involved in all types of extracurricular activities provides character development, teamwork, friendship, responsibility and a healthy outlet to balance out the demands of working hard in the classroom.
Compare and contrast Lolli vs. Elam administration.
I lived in the local area during the Elam administration. It was impressive to watch the Monroe School District begin. The Elam administration created a wonderful facility, staff, and start to this district. Our family moved here as a result of the positive reputation and results of Monroe Schools during his administration.
I believe that Dr. Lolli is leading the district in the right direction. During her term we have already achieved an excellent rating in the high school and elementary level and effective in primary and junior high. Her administration has a coordinated plan to help achieve an even higher rating for all students. I believe she has also been effective in reducing costs while at the same time working hard at providing meaningful programming and successful extracurricular opportunities.
How sound is the school district financially? Why are you in favor of the levy?
I feel the district is working hard at spending resources wisely. Currently, if all state funding is delivered to the district as promised, our schools will be in the black this year and possibly next year.
However, with current growth, increasing expenses and possible cuts from state funding, I believe that our future budgets will be challenged.
We do not have a large surplus of money to fall back on. Our district has a five year financial forecast that should aid the board to anticipate some of these challenges and help to keep a stable budget. However, we need as a district a new source of revenue beyond raising taxes on current property owners.
The new substitute levy is a great way to bring in additional income to the district without increasing the taxes on current property owners. I believe the substitute levy is a win-win for the Monroe community and our students.
What are your thoughts regarding the proposed Coke making facility (Suncoke)?
I do not feel the board of education will be involved in the decision making process regarding Suncoke. I believe the board should focus on the needs of the school district and leave non-educational issues to other government agencies.
Do you believe in communicating thru blogs, discussion threads, or other internet based communication? Do you have a website?
I like direct communication best such as an email, phone call, or face to face if there is a concern or something that needs to be discussed. However, I do believe that the internet can be helpful in providing general information to reach a larger audience. I do not have a website.
Discuss In The Voice
Q and A With Monroe School Board Candidate Leslie Stone