Guest Columnist

Lund: Start honest and open dialogue with educators

Janelle Lund is a candidate for Cedar Rapids School Board at-large.

I started this journey after the fiasco that is the Facility Master Plan (FMP). With it, I realized the voice of the community, our teachers and our students were falling on muted ears. I want to help enable that change, and I’ve learned quickly just how hard making that change will be.

I have been told by representatives of the administration if I am elected I cannot on my own talk to teachers without school board approval, and a vetted list of questions I plan on discussing. The most important people to hear from about our children’s education are teachers. I want an honest and open dialogue with them — not something controlled by the administration.

The era of rehearsed answers, and educators fearful of administration backlash needs to end. The board needs to hear from people on the ground what’s working, and what’s not, knowing that their feedback will not be used against them. The board must also find a way to more honestly and genuinely engage the community — not through the filter applied by the administration. This includes meeting people on their own terms, and where they live and work. We have to stop thinking of community input as a checkbox, but as an enabler for our children’s success.

Being honest, I realize I am an underdog in this race. I’m certainly not the candidate the administration wants. I will continue to dig into the details and hold them accountable, as I have done as a parent, and not just rubber stamp whatever they bring forth. I will be a voice for our community.

This is why I am raising my voice now and asking you to vote no to the Revenue Purpose Statement on Nov. 5. A “no” vote simply indicates you do not agree to give up your input in future decisions for the FMP project. A “yes” vote removes the need for community input on basic questions like what about the middle schools and high schools? What will happen to the elementary schools that are closing? How will the plan address current growth in the city? The community should demand input on such far reaching decisions, and as a board member, I will work to ensure that we will do great things for our schools — with your input.

Janelle Lund is a candidate for Cedar Rapids School Board at-large.

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