116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
Barclay Woerner, Nancy Humbles and James Sampers are seeking the District 2 seat on the Cedar Rapids Community School District School Board. The Gazette has not yet received responses from Sampers. Leslie Neely withdrew from the race. ► Get to know the other school board candidates
Name: Barclay Woerner
Office sought: Cedar Rapids Community School Board District 2
Age: 50 (born Oct. 5, 1971)
Occupation: Amazon Logistics
Have you held office before? If so, what office did you hold? I have never held an office before.
Personal bio: I am a Christian father of five who believes that every child is precious. My children have attended many of the elementary and middle schools in Cedar Rapids. My oldest son graduated from the home school program, while my daughter graduated from Jefferson High School. My children have been involved with athletics, music and theater. They have been in honors classes as well as special education classes. I have worked in retail management and the logistics industry. After receiving my Masters of Accounting from the University of Iowa, I volunteered many springs preparing taxes for those who have low- and moderate-income with the VITA program.
Why are you seeking a seat on the school board?
I believe that the board is in need of a Christian, conservative-minded member with a background in business.
How do you rate the district’s current performance? What areas are going well, and what could be improved?
The district has a lot of good people doing the best they can under the current conditions. The district is currently working with students who speak over 60 different languages and are trying to learn how to fit in with a new while not loosing the culture that they came from. The district has done a good job of incorporating the many different cultural backgrounds the students bring with them. My favorite memory is that of the Hoover Elementary music program. The students have a separate drum group that performs music from the countries that they have come from.
However, the teachers and staff are not receiving the support they deserve to educate the children they love. Principals are having to fill in for teachers due to a lack of substitute teachers, teachers are quitting in the middle of the semester, and an overall lack of paras have created a stressful environment for everyone trying to educate our children.
What are the three largest issues facing the school district and what will you do to address them?
1. The school district should be doing a better of job of engaging with parents: The board needs more conservative voices to balance out the view points and improved methods of communication with the parents.
2. Staffing: Too many positions are still open. Poor budgeting and recruiting has led to teachers having oversized classrooms with little to no help at times. This should be a topic at every board meeting until it is resolved.
3. COVID response: The district has done a poor job of following the parent's lead. The board should trust that parent's know what is best for their children.
What level of local control do you think school boards should have?
I believe that the parents should have control of their children's education. The current school board has claimed "local control" without paying attention to the desires of the parents that the board represents. The more parents that become active in their children's education, the less likely we are to see exterior forces try to take control of the schools.
What will you do to be responsive to concerns by parents, students and staff? What type of communications should they expect from you?
I will bring a conservative view point to the school board which is currently lacking in the conversation on the board. Many parents feel as though they are not being heard because of a lack of conservative discussion on the board. I would like to see an improved use of survey technology (completed anonymously) to gain a better understanding of the issues that are impacting the students and the staff.
Should school districts be allowed to enact a mask requirement for students during the COVID-19 pandemic? If yes, what type of masking requirement would you want to see in place?
I believe that masking should be a choice between parents and their children.
1. The September issue of the Southern Medical Journal contained a peer reviewed scientific study on the failure of mask mandates.
2. Ten years ago my youngest son was diagnosed with leukemia. While still receiving treatment, which kept his immune system limited, we chose to send him to preschool and then to kindergarten. He participated in all of the class activities and even joined in with the choir (the highlight of his kindergarten year). The only requirement that was asked of his teacher was that he would be allowed to keep his pens and pencils separate from the rest of the class. No student was required to wear a mask, get a shot or stay away from my son.
If you were required to cut the district’s budget, what areas would you look to for savings and why?
I would first look to the teachers and staff that are working with the students. I have talked with teachers, paras, and support staff who have voiced great ideas on ways that can save the district money and reduce waste. These ideas should be shared across the district while giving credit to the person who had the idea.
Are there curriculum concerns that you have with the district? What are they? What process should the district use to address the concern?
The Language Arts department has been pushing the limits of acceptability for the last several years. Parents should be provided with the novels that will be read during the year and the topics that will be discussed in the classroom. Homework assignments should be posted online so that parent's can view what their children are being asked to do.