STEPS 2001 School Board Candidate Survey

Candidates Peg Arnold and Rich Eckhardt responded to the 2001 Candidate Survey. Mary Mathieu pointedly declined to respond, noting bias in several questions (such as 3, 4, and 9). In retrospect, Mary was right, and I am not including responses to questions 3 and 9, which were inflammatory and accusatory. (Please bear in mind the nature of the 2001 board race.) Suffice it to say Peg and Rich answered the questions with greater poise than I exhibited in posing them.

If you compare the three surveys (2001, 2003, 2005), you can see how the tactics of the KBA PAC have diverted attention from trust, integrity, and cost-effectiveness. See the pages on Plagiarism, Grandstanding, Stonewalling & Sabotage and Intellectual Dishonesty: Sowing Fear, Uncertainty, and Doubt.

Responses by Peg Arnold and Rich Eckhardt from 2001:

1) Will your first priority be to ensure that Beavercreek students the opportunity to benefit from a "thorough and efficient system" of public schools, as mandated by the state's constitution?
Peg Arnold (2001)

My first priority will be that every action we take will focus on students and the needs of their teachers. Of course we need to follow the state's constitution, and that of our country, but I think we can do better than "thorough and efficient" - I'd like to exceed that with the addition of "and the highest quality."

Rich Eckhardt (2001)

My First priority is to reestablish the public trust by convincing the public we are good stewards of their dollars. In my public addresses I've talked about benchmarking, or comparing ourselves, to similar schools. This data is readily available in the ODE Annual Reports. They have not published the School Year 2000-2001 Report. But, if you go to the 1999-2000 Report, you will find we spend a $110 per student @year more more on administration than like schools of our size. The question is why. If elected, I will press the current administration to find out why, and then take appropriate action.


2)

Will you promote policies consistent with the constitutional guidelines for "thorough and efficient" articulated in the DeRolph lawsuit?
Peg Arnold (2001)

I have followed laws my whole career, having been a 33 year federal employee. I don't see anything happening that is going to change that attitude! I have read the DeRolph decision and followed the case with interest. As I said previously, I think we can do better than the minimum standards set by the state.

Rich Eckhardt (2001)

I believe our schools have a corporate responsibility to make sure we maximize the use of our dollars. I believe in empowerment. I am sincere when I say, the teachers, principals, and staff know best which costs need to go, and then need to be reinvested in other critical areas.


4)

With regard to the administration's "storm-trooper tactics," will you adopt a "zero tolerance" policy for smear campaigns and tactics of intimidation and misrepresentation?
Peg Arnold (2001)

I don't know exactly what incident or series of them you may be referring to, but I have no tolerance for the types of issues you have raised. I think you can tell that by the campaign I am running. I am supportive of the other candidates and I believe that is paramount to being ready to start work after the election. We don't have time for six months to heal the wounds. That attitude, if elected, will stand the same.

Rich Eckhardt (2001)

One of the new Board's first tasks will be to hire a new superintendent. I would look for someone who is a leader, cares, treats people with respect, and believes integrity is a common currency to all we do.


5)

David Cox commented at the town halls that "cost is an issue only in the absence of value." Will you insist that the administration demonstrate value (e.g. return on investment) of its spending recommendations and curriculum changes?
Peg Arnold (2001)

If there is no value, change is pretty useless, and very costly. This is a no brainer. There should be a reason for everything we do, explainable to the public, and anything that costs money should be known and also public, with the value shown.

Rich Eckhardt (2001)

Yes. We must ensure our resources are allocated to the most critical requirements. We simply can't afford "Pet Rocks" in a budget. It is imperative the Board understand what is funded, and ensure each funded item is more dear than any unfunded item.


6)

Will you encourage benchmarking with other school districts?
Peg Arnold (2001)

I will insist on it. It works. I've been involved in many benchmarking programs within the federal Government. I want to be sure we are benchmarking with similar districts, however, that is important.

Rich Eckhardt (2001)

Yes, see answer one.


8)

Consistent with the Malcolm Baldrige Criteria for Educational Excellence, will you insist on trend analysis of the key performance indicators, including AP course participation and merit scholar recognitions?
Peg Arnold (2001)

I'm willing to listen. I want more AP classes, and more participation in them. The use of Malcolm Baldrige criteria to judge our overall performance will be a joint board decision, not just mine.

Rich Eckhardt (2001)

Yes. See answer one. Also, I am proud to say I was part of an organization which won a Malcolm Baldridge Award. Decisions must be based on analysis, not on emotion.