Concern about state budget cuts is the fuel behind each candidate running for the Blue Valley Board of Education.
For Position 1, Pam Robinson is running against Alana Roethle.
For Position 3, Cindy Bowling is running against Larry Fotovich.
Improving the Blue Valley School District is a primary goal for both Robinson and Roethle, who are vying for the Position 1 seat.
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Longtime education activist Robinson hopes to keep her Position 1 seat because she says her knowledge and experience are necessary to help with the strategic planning and decision-making process needed to guide the district through potentially difficult times.
She said the state budget deficit is a major concern.
As the district faces possible budgetary shortfalls, Robinson plans to help find ways Blue Valley can be more effective and efficient, if she is re-elected.
“I have been an advocate for our schools and enrolled my child in our schools from kindergarten through graduation,” she said. “My experience from the ground up as school volunteer, a parent of a Blue Valley graduate, former teacher, state leader and current board member are an asset to the district and to our community. I have a proven track record of leadership, trusted experience and professional insight to help lead the district forward for the next four years.”
Roethle, meanwhile, is running because she wants to bring a professional perspective to the board.
She said she has grown increasingly concerned over the years about the district’s performance. If elected, she wants to make sure dollars are directed back into the classroom to benefit students. She believes she has the real-world experience to find efficiencies and improve results.
“My business background is in operational efficiency,” Roethle said. “The administration of our education dollars is off course, and we are seeing reduced academic performance. I will recommit district administration to its core mission of educating students.”
For the Position 3 seat, Bowling, a physician, is facing off against Fotovich, a real estate broker.
Bowling, who has lived in the Blue Valley School District for 35 years, wants to continue helping the district succeed.
If re-elected, she plans to help make sure the district continues to use taxpayer dollars efficiently and effectively. She hopes to ensure quality teachers in every classroom and personalized learning for each student. And she wants to prepare Blue Valley students with the skills to be successful.
“In order to be a leader of any organization and in order to appropriately represent the best interests of students and patrons, you must be invested in the organization, you must understand how that organization works and you must be willing to invest in that organization,” Bowling said. “I am invested in Blue Valley as an alumnae. I have taken time to understand how the district works during my tenure as a parent, a PTO president, as a patron leader and as a school board member.”
Her opponent, Fotovich, said he is running because he wants to be involved in school board policymaking in the early stages.
It’s more difficult to fix a problem after it has been allowed to fester, rather than help guide the solution from the beginning, he pointed out.
He sees the substantial reduction in funding from the state Legislature and the governor as the biggest problem facing the Blue Valley School District. He proposes that the district go on the offensive and enlist the help of parents and staff to protest those measures.
“I’ve served for three and a half years as a City Council member in a neighboring community and learned how a city’s policies can positively or negatively impact a school district,” he said. “Additionally, my wife has 21 years of teaching experience, so I’ve had a front-row seat in watching what works and doesn’t work in education. I have three children who are students in Blue Valley schools.”
Education: Bachelor’s in education from Creighton University
Occupation: Full-time community volunteer, Blue Valley Board of Education member
Elected experience: Blue Valley school board, 2003-present
Education: Did not answer
Occupation: Health care consultant
Elected experience: None
Education: Bachelor’s in chemistry, University of Kansas; medical degree, University of Kansas School of Medicine
Elected experience: Blue Valley school board, 2011-present
Education: Bachelor’s in journalism, KU
Occupation: Real estate broker, Realtor
Elected experience: Gardner City Council, 2011-2014