I have lived in this district for 24 years and I have been serving on the Spring Hill Board of Education for 16 of those years. I was a science teacher at Spring Hill High School and I believe it is important to have a teacher's perspective on the board. I was the head swim coach for Olathe North High School and coached baseball, softball, boys & girls soccer for my kids in Spring Hill. This is my home and I am passionate about our schools.
I wasn't just a teacher, I was a Spring Hill Teacher and I am committed to the students and families in this district.
School funding in Kansas over the last decade has been neither adequate nor equitable. The Kansas Supreme Court has ruled for years that school funding is inadequate and legislative studies have supported that. Spring Hill is a perfect example of the inequities in funding as overall funding for schools has increased but has not even kept up with inflation since 2008. When block grants were implemented our district was forced to continue without any budget increase even as we added hundreds of new students. The "block grant" funding, combined with Spring Hill's rapid growth resulted in an annual reduction in dollars per pupil. Spring Hill is one of the fastest growing school districts in the country and through diligent planning and proactive thinking we have navigated this unprecedented growth through the recession and the block grants without raising our mill levy. In fact, of the six school districts in Johnson County, the only one with a lower mill levy is Shawnee Mission - a district that is not growing.
We have been successful, but our district still faces some big challenges in the very near future. as we have been adding students at a higher percentage than most school districts in the country, yet our funding has not increased. Our growth is not slowing, it is accelerating and it is imperative that we have responsible, experienced leadership on the board to continue to manage that growth and it's potential to impact our students, our teachers and our taxes.
Finally, I understand many people with political aspirations use school board elections as a stepping stone to higher office. I have no interest in higher office. My kids are grown and have moved on to higher education so my interest in doing this "volunteer work" is not self-serving. I do this because it is so important and because I love this district and the people it serves.