Tonganoxie USD 464 candidate questionnaire: Diane Truesdell
ELECTION RACE: Truesdell is the incumbent for Tonganoxie USD 464 Position 1 against challenger Amelia Brusven.
YEARS IN TONGANOXIE: 15
FAMILY: Husband, Jim; children, Tyler, 26, Lindsey, 21, and Keaton, 19. Lindsey and Keaton attend Kansas State University.
What made you decide to run for office?
I decided to seek another term on the school board to support the progress that is being made in improving USD 464 facilities and providing our students with the highest quality educators and tools possible. Our teachers and administrators have a profound influence on our students as they develop in life and it is the board’s responsibility to provide our students with highly qualified teachers and administrators with unquestionable character and integrity. We will be opening the new building for our students in August. Significant improvement has been made to align our curriculum with the appropriate grade level to assure that students are prepared for the next grade level. The teachers continue to train, explore and use IPads to expand classroom possibilities.
What special qualifications would you bring to this office?
I will work with the new board to continue to support the superintendent as she works with staff, teachers and patrons to make our students successful in school and life. I will support our superintendent as she works with the city, community groups and private entities to develop a plan for the old grade school facility.
An important qualification for a board member is to listen to the facts concerning issues without preconceived opinions. Wise and difficult decisions are made after considering all the information. I feel I process this ability and I also understand that I am one of seven members of a team. A successful board works together and supports decisions that are agreed upon.
How would you communicate with patrons if elected? Patrons who are interested in board actions are welcome to attend board meetings on the second Monday of the month at 6 p.m. Meetings are held in the library of the west building of the High School. A form is available at the door if patrons would like to address the board. All board meetings are open to the public.
The best way to reach me is by email. Our email addresses are available on the school website. Also I am out in the community shopping, supporting local businesses and volunteering and welcome feedback and interaction with patrons.
What are the three most important issues facing the school district and how would you address them?
The biggest issue facing the school is the passage by the Kansas Legislature of the Block Funding Bill that which, by the way, did not have the support of school districts or any public educational entity. The Legislature says it has simplified school funding but this is a 100-page document that is extremely confusing. Our representative, Connie O’Brien, had only a couple of days to review this voluminous document and could not possibly have understood the nature or ramifications of this irresponsible legislation. However, this is the nature of Kansas government at this time and we as a board must deal with it.
Working with the superintendent, teachers, staff and patrons the board is going to have difficult decisions to make as we try to make sense of the changes. I will strive to continue the many programs available to our students, both in the classroom and extracurricular activities. It will be extremely important that the difficult decisions are made together.
Another issue facing the District is the future of the former Elementary School building. I will continue to support the superintendent’s efforts in developing the right plan for this facility.
Another important issue is where to place our district staff. The superintendant is working tirelessly with the board, the city and other community entities to find the best fit for our school district.