Kent County voters will be choosing future board of education members in a May 10 vote, with contested races in Capital, Lake Forest and Caesar Rodney school districts.
In both Capital and Lake Forest School districts, future board members will be joining districts in the midst of crafting new strategic plans. Whether it’s Capital’s five year or Lake Forest’s two-year plan, the direction of the districts will be determined by how the board of education executes the strategy.
In both districts the goal is to create a plan that tackles issues like communication, academics and safety.
The Dover Post reached out to each candidate to see which issues they thought were most pertinent, and why they deserved the most attention.
Capital School District – One at large five-year term
Current Capital board member Nauleen Perry was filling in the vacancy left after Brian Lewis stepped down in March, but has chosen not to run for another term, leaving her seat contested.
The biggest priorities I would deal with if elected to the Capital School District Board of Education are adequate funding and fiscal transparency, mandates from state and federal levels resulting in the continuous erosion of control at the local level, the state assessment, student data privacy, and school climate. Any solutions or board policies need to be aimed at better outcomes (true academics, not Common Core or personalized learning for corporate profit) for all students and the resources our teachers need to do their jobs!
There are many success stories in Capital School District, but like most districts, there are some challenges. Lack of communication, parental support and community involvement seem to be top concerns. If we are able to engage parents and the community more, teachers and students will feel supported. Education will become a top priority for students. Consequently, the climate and culture of Capital’s schools will improve, thus evoking positive change in school climate, and perhaps improving the safety and disciplinary concerns that we are currently facing. In conclusion, increasing community/parental engagement and addressing safety and disciplinary concerns would be top priority.
First off I do not believe the Capital School District has issues, I believe we have opportunities to build a better tomorrow. This is accomplished by identifying and engaging the stakeholders in the process to create an environment that promotes collaboration. During the current school year there is new posture of openness that emphasizes complete transparency. The strategic planning process will enable us to identify the opportunities and to review which ones will have the highest impact for the development of our students in the district. Let’s give the process an opportunity to be completed and see what comes of it.
Caesar Rodney School District – One at large five-year term
Caesar Rodney voters will be deciding who replaces board member Melody Heavner.
Mark M. Dyer Sr.
Future growth and overcrowding are areas of concern. Some, but not all of which was addressed in the most recent referendum. My priority as a board member would be to continue Caesar Rodney's Tradition of Excellence in Education for the future. Additionally, I want to be involved in the implementation of the recently passed federal initiative, Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) which provides more local flexibility versus the No Child Left Behind Act.
Dana Bordley LeCompte
Address the illegal use of marijuana and other drugs of our students. I would take opportunities such as in service days to update staff, in class education to inform students and after school programs to inform parents of this issue to decrease use.
Ensure that the technology in the Caesar Rodney schools is up to date, relevant in the 'real' world, in sufficient numbers for students and teachers and that teachers are trained and knowledgeable on how to use the equipment.
To sustain and increase graduation rates, decrease dropout rates and assist students in obtaining after high school education.
To prioritize effectively you need to have good information. As a current non-board member, if elected, I will work with my fellow board members to get a better understanding of the real issues affecting our district. I then will be able to focus on prioritizing areas that are critical to student academics and safety, thereby implementing the processes to ensure these priorities are carried out. To help maintain Caesar Rodney School Districts high level of excellence in academics and pride, it is important to reexamine these priorities frequently.
Lake Forest School District – One at large five-year term
Lake Forest incumbent Earle Dempsey was only on the board for a year. He was completing board member Andrea Miller’s term. Now, he’s running for a five-year term.
Although listed, candidate Lendon W. Dennis Jr. said he intends to withdraw his name from the ballot to focus his time on starting a new church.
Maintaining community faith and trust, staff confidence and commitment, and continued student successes during our District’s leadership rebuilding. With new administrators in place and others being added, we are making decisions that set our path for many years to come. However, patience and understanding of the transformation process can understandably be challenged. The Lake Forest community and staff have been great with our progression, and student results have not wavered. The actions we are taking now are what set the tone for everything else in the District to follow. Simply put, we must have the right people with the right skills and attitude in the right places to achieve the right outcomes.
Austin C. Auen
The issues that I would prioritize first would be those issues that affect the students, teachers, and parents of Lake Forest School District directly. First being the relationship between the board and parents. The last few years have not been great ones for board transparency. The first thing I would do is make sure that each and every parent is properly informed about what is happening in the district. I would also tackle the growing budget issues and issues about student inclusion, making sure every student [is included] no matter their race, gender, religion, gender identity or sexuality.