A lot of the discussion over the last eighteen months has focused on how to address COVID; as our community emerges from the pandemic, we need to get back to the fundamental questions of how to run excellent schools that serve all students.
ON THE ISSUES
Billion Dollar Schools
Public schools don’t just help their patrons, they benefit the broader community as well. Our schools generate over a billion dollars in property value alone - we literally have billion dollar schools! And that staggering figure doesn’t include the economic benefit of retailers, service businesses, and corporations that are attracted by our excellent public schools, the corresponding tax revenue, or the jobs they create.
Our schools are the economic backbone of our community, and we need school board members with Andrew's professional experience who can see the bigger economic picture and make smart decisions that support growth.
Education for ALL Students
Each of the more than twenty two thousand students in the Blue Valley School District have different educational needs and different learning styles. Some students might benefit from more experiential learning, some from the help of a paraprofessional or a reading specialist, while others have specific goals in their IEP or accommodations in their 504 plan. When board members set policies and procedures, they need to think about ALL of these students.
Andrew has volunteered for a variety of roles in and around BVSD schools, and understands the different and complex challenges students face.
Focus on Mental Health
We have begun to address the youth suicide rate in Kansas, which had grown by 60% in the decade prior to 2018. Student-led mental health initiatives like Zero Reasons Why and Sources Of Strength, in conjunction with the efforts of the Johnson County County Mental Health Center, dropped the youth suicide rate by 33% in 2020.
Andrew has demonstrated his commitment to this issue by serving on the Health and Wellbeing Board Advisory Committee for the last two years, and is ready to continue to promote mental health, encourage self-care, and identify students who are experiencing mental health crises.
Navigating School Funding
Whether schools are fully funded or underfunded, the members of the school board have choices to make about how to spend the budget allotted to the district. Sometimes this can mean deciding which programs to expand, and sometimes it means making painful cuts and working to minimize the impact of those cuts on the student experience.
Andrew has managed large and complicated budgets, both in good times and in lean times; he has the expertise to ensure the best outcomes for students, regardless of funding levels.