The two candidates who win spots on the Hickman Mills school board April 2 will be dealing with a district that's had a number of shake-ups in the past year.
By KATHLEEN POINTER
Special to The Star
In September, the state bumped the southeast Kansas City district from full accreditation to provisional accreditation. All four candidates said working to move back up and reducing class sizes were top priorities.
Candidates said they'd also focus on working with the district's new superintendent, Dennis Carpenter. Last fall, the district’s interim superintendent was ousted, and a retired Grandview administrator has been overseeing the district since then. Carpenter will take over this summer in time for the 2013-2014 academic year.
The elected candidates will serve three-year terms.
• Age: 36
• Address: 10722 Fremont Ave., Kansas City
• Occupation: Housing code inspector with Kansas City
• Education: Bachelor's in marketing from Missouri Western State University
• Public experience: None
• Website: None
• Stances: Top three priorities are working toward restoring full accreditation, reducing class sizes and seeking alternative funding sources. Faced with a budget shortfall, he would look at potentially streamlining the district administration. Would work with local and state leaders to generate interest in developing the former Bannister Mall area in hopes of boosting the tax base.
• Age: 61
• Address: 2500 E. Red Ridge Terrace, Kansas City
• Occupation: Contracts out for security work
• Education: Master’s in business from the University of Missouri-Columbia; bachelor’s in business from Rockhurst University
• Public experience: Hickman Mills school board,1991-2012
• Website: None
• Stances: The biggest challenge is returning the district to full accreditation. The board needs stable leadership, especially with accreditation issues and new administration; he decided to run again because of his 20 years of board experience. Said it would be important to show support to the new administration after being elected to help "get the ball rolling."
• Age: 60
• Address: 10709 Newton, Kansas City
• Occupation: Owner of A Sweet Expression, which makes candy and cookie bouquets. Trainer and lead greater with Continental Siding. Worked as a teacher in the Kansas City school district for 12 years. Taught one year in Hickman Mills
• Education: Bachelor's in education from Avila University; associate's degree in arts from what’s now MCC-Longview
• Public experience: Hickman Mills school board, 2008-2011
• Website: www.debbieaiman.com
• Stances: A top priority is to restore accreditation, so the district needs to develop a stronger discipline program, reduce class sizes and make teachers' salaries more competitive. The board needs to lobby the state so Hickman Mills isn't responsible for the scores of students who have recently moved into the district.
• Age: 45
• Address: 9807 Cambridge, Kansas City
• Occupation: Letter carrier with the U.S Postal Service
• Education: Bachelor’s in agribusiness from Northwest Missouri State University
• Public experience: Elected to several positions in the National Association of Letter Carriers
• Website: None
• Stances: His top priorities are regaining full accreditation, getting attendance rates up and finding a way to decrease disruptions in the classroom. If elected, he would like to hire an independent agency to survey and evaluate the community's perception of the school district, and then develop a plan to enhance its reputation.