UPDATE 10/25/16: We have received Steve Gray’s responses to some of the questions. See them here.
UPDATE 10/21/16: Scroll down for the audio of the event!
UPDATE 10/14/16: All questions have been posted for community members to read and for candidates to respond if desired. Scroll down to see them.
October 13 from 7-9pm, incumbents Meredith Schindler and Sharon Lee met with Mark Wilde and Steve Gray to answer questions and to inform voters.
The goal of the evening was for voters to be confident they are voting for the best candidate for School Board.
We realize people might not be able to attend October 13 so we will be posting questions after the event.
Questions to date:
What is the role of the school board, and what would you bring to the board if elected?
What can the school board do differently to make sure voters are informed about the school board or candidates?
In your position as board member, you will be in a unique position to be a powerful advocate for children from marginalized groups. What is a marginalized group? How do you see yourself exercising that power?
How can the schools get more money for classroom supplies like textbooks, pencils, and pens? The special needs classrooms need supplies like chewies and fidgets.
What is your vision of a positive school climate and how would you like to see your district promote that vision?
School dropout is a problem with enormous social costs. What do you feel your district could do differently to address school dropout?
How can you relate to the issues children have, but still enforce power as a part of the board?
As a school board member, you may be asked to make decisions about non-mandatory student expulsions and long-term suspensions. What will be your guiding principles in making those difficult decisions? Are there situations you would absolutely expel? Are there situations you would not expel?
Nationally, there has been a disturbing trend of suspending preschool and early elementary school students. Some communities are banning such suspensions. What is your position on suspensions in the early grades?
How will you promote transparency and regular review of expulsion, suspension, and school arrest data?
What role, if any, do you feel law enforcement should have in schools?
What is your school district’s approach to school discipline and do you think it’s working? If not, what would you like to change?
South of Michigan Avenue and the Willow Run areas house the majority of the students in Ypsilanti Community Schools, but voices from these areas are minimally heard. In what ways would you seek to increase voices from parents from these areas in decision-making? What about youth voices?
Are there any discussions or consideration for merging with Ann Arbor Public Schools?
Would you promote Restorative Justice and/or Communities in Schools Programs?
Do you think being more active education-wise will make a student want to learn more?
What are the greatest successes of YCS in the past 2 years? Where did you expect the district to be by this point in its short life? What are the fastest, most significant changes YCS can implement in the next 2 years? What changes would you advocate for?
What is the current climate at YCS for LGBT students, and what policies/support/training is in place of should be in place to ensure support for these students?
LGBT youth, especially transgender youth and LGBT youth of color are even more at risk for becoming part of the school-to-prison pipeline and for mental health problems, including suicide. What are concrete things you will do as board members to reduce these numbers in YCS students? An example is allowing transgender students to use the bathroom that aligns with their gender identity.
How will you evaluate [school] start times? Research supports even later start times. Right now, elementary students are getting picked up before 7 am!
Many of us have concluded that a majority in state government are actively working to damage and eventually destroy public education, in favor of privatization of schools. Is there a point where there is a role of school boards to join with other boards and community allies, as well as teachers and students, to say “no” to damaging policies and defunding from Lansing?
As a member of the board, has the topic of flexible schedules come up, in order to make it easier for students to come to school if they have jobs so they can support their family?
If you could do 1 thing to attract back some of the 50% of students in the YCS district who don’t currently attend YCS, what would you do?
How do you plan to use students at Concordia [University], Washtenaw [Community College], EMU and the U of M as resources for low test scores and the achievement gap for students at YCS, as well as Ypsilanti’s non-profit and self-help organizations?
Do you think the policies enforced in the schools are fair, such as behavior-wise? If not, how would you change them so that students won’t miss too much school?
Running for school board for each of you represents either bumping up to or maintaining a high level of investment in YCS. This district could use that level of investment from all four of you. If you are not elected to the board, what is something you see yourself doing to add to or to replace your current investment in YCS?
We need more help in the schools. Erickson is a wreck.
What are the short-term and long-term solutions for Ypsi schools?
Why shouldn’t we consolidate with other schools in the county?
How do you plan to deal with the naturally rising costs and the fact that it is unlikely that the state will come up with more money?
To Mark Wilde: How have the processes of an extra-curricular robotics program informed or prepared our schools for a successful and engaging STEM curriculum?
What do you believe are the root causes affecting the school district and how do you see the board addressing these issues?
What should the district do with vacant school buildings? If you’re in favor of renting/selling them, so you have any preference on the types of groups to sell to?
The state of Michigan just enacted a law to return 3rd graders who are not reading at grade level. 60% of YCS third graders were “not proficient” on the 2016 M-STEP. How should YCS respond/prepare for mass retention?