116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
It is imperative that we start our children off on the road to success from the beginning. That is why we must maintain Iowa's commitment to preschool for all families. These programs are essential for providing the necessary foundation for their development. Time has proved and research has shown the positive aspects of early childhood programs. In our attempt to maintain our schools at the highest levels, we should not shortcut this necessary first step.
I hope that the governor's blueprint for education reform will address issues such as career and technical training, understanding that not all of our students leave high school and go to a four-year college. Programs such as Kirkwood Community College's proposed regional education center, which would be a joint venture with the University of Iowa, would enhance the educational opportunities for our students immensely. Students could explore different career paths before college and before entering the workforce. This would also help, especially with the Iowa City school district, by adding capacity to our high schools. This is a win-win for our community and our students. There will be issues associated with this, such as transportation and school scheduling, that will need to be fine tuned, but our community is up to the task. I urge you to vote “yes” for the Kirkwood levy.
I believe in neighborhood schools; I do not agree that bigger is always better; we should not use ShopKo or Walmart as the business model for our elementary schools.
I believe in redistricting resources, not students; we must educate our children in place. If this means allocating more funds to one school more than other, so be it. Those with the most needs receive the most assistance.
Citizens should have the right to speak freely at board meetings through an atmosphere of openness and transparency. Citizens' comments to the board should be at the beginning of the meeting, not at the end, so that parents with young children shouldn't have to wait until 10 p.m. The teachers' union representative should have a seat at the table.
Our financial house has to be in order and we must maximize dollars in the classroom. That is why I led a petition to request a re-audit of the district's finances by the State Auditor's Office. At the Aug. 23 board meeting, I encouraged Superintendent Steve Murley and any current board member to request a re-audit by a simple phone call. As a citizen, I was required by the state to collect 100 signatures, which I did and submitted. On Aug. 24, the district contacted the State Auditor's Office, requesting a re-audit. This is not a cure-all but it is a first step and costs the district nothing. A deeper forensic audit is crucial.
We cannot afford to pay the IRS any more than we have to, so we must pay our bills on time. We expect the same competency from our administrators as we expect from our students.
The future board must work together, encourage comments and information from students, teachers and community members, make consensus decisions and move on.
Mine is a purely grass-roots campaign. I have not taken any money from any organization or individual. I will bring a blue-collar and business perspective to the board.
Phil Hemingway, of Iowa City, worked overseas for 10 years in Central America, Africa and the former Soviet Union, and now owns an automobile/truck repair business. His daughter, Monica, a senior at City High, is his campaign manager. Comments: email@example.com
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