Iowa City school board: Experience, vision and commitment

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ICCSD board members will have a lot of responsibilities over the next several years including shaping policies that will affect corridor schools well beyond their terms. Our civic-minded citizens will have an opportunity to help choose those board members, and I am hopeful that you will choose me, Phil Hemingway.

There is a vast amount of information that board members must know in order to be effective advocates for students, teachers and the community. Over the past six years I have only missed a handful of school board meetings; during that time, I’ve requested and read many school board budgets, committee reports and accounts payable associated with board proceedings. I believe this uniquely qualifies me to take on a board position and know that I will be able to actively step into that role on day one.

However, experience is not the only qualifier for choosing a board member. Board members must also have vision and a commitment to the health and well-being of our students. One issue that I recently dealt with was the use of chemicals on our school properties. I believe those chemicals were misused and were applied in a manner inconsistent with our own grounds maintenance policies which compromised the health of our students. This issue serves as yet another example of the lack of transparency in our district, something that I have lobbied hard to change over the past several years. Further, the amount of time that citizens are allowed to comment on issues like the use of chemicals is very limited and in that way dissenting voices are discouraged from speaking and are in essence being censored. The ability for citizens to comment at school board meetings is an essential part of the democratic process and this is yet another issue I have and will continue to fight for. We not only need community input, we need input from our teachers and that is why I am calling for a permanent seat at the board table for an ICEA representative.

In these financially challenging times, we must exercise fiduciary responsibility by holding our administrators accountable when they choose to cut courses, teachers, music and sports instead of the fat (no-bid contracts with vendors, duplication of services and contractor mistakes, etc.). It’s time to properly manage our budget!

Vote Hemingway on Sept. 8.

• More information: phil4board.wordpress.com

thegazette.com/schoolboard2015

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