Monett School Board questionnaire: Jim Randall

Saturday, March 4, 2017

Publisherís note: The following Q&A represents the candidate's views verbatim, as submitted via email in response to our questions, and have not been edited. The election will be held April 4, with voters allowed to select three of the four candidates. The top three vote-getters will be elected. - JB

1. Is proposing a higher base property tax levy something you as board member would consider to insulate the district from possible state or federal budget cuts?

In the absence of any clear need for a property tax levy, I would not support laying the groundwork for higher taxes.† Governor Greitens has indicated that there will be budget cuts to colleges and universities, but he specifically stated that there will be no budget cuts to Missouriís K-12 school systems.

2. Should the school district pursue securing internet access off campus for all studentsí technology devices? If so, how? If not, why?

I do not support pursuing internet access off campus for studentsí technology devices, as I have seen no persuasive arguments in favor of doing so.† I believe that instruction of students in the Monett school district is excessively reliant on technology at the expense of direct teaching by the Districtís excellent teaching staff. †I am of the opinion that, for a student, one hour with a teacher is vastly more valuable than any number of hours a student might spend on the internet. Technology certainly has its place in society, and itís hard to imagine where we would be without it.† However, I do not believe that simply placing a child in front of a computer with internet access is an effective way to produce an educated adult.† The internet is great for news updates, communication, and finding out, if one is so inclined, what Miley Cyrus has been doing lately.† It can be used to gain some basic knowledge on a variety of subjects and can help a student get sources that can be found elsewhere and more informatively, like in a library.† It can also be used to access advanced databases, but at what cost?† As an attorney, I use the internet to access Westlaw, a legal database, but I have to pay a lot to use it.† Beyond that, it is a very limited research tool, and there are a massive number of places where a student can be led astray with bad information, or worse.

3. Has the school boardís communication with the public been adequate? If so, explain. If not, what more can be done?

This community has a keen interest in virtually every aspect of the school districtís plans, actions, and performance.† I think thatís a good thing, and residents of Monett should be commended for the level of interest they exhibit in matters affecting the schools.† I believe the District should be equally interested in letting the residents have complete and timely and detailed knowledge of proposed actions of the School Board, of actions taken, of roll call of the vote of each member on each issue.† Missouriís Sunshine Law has few exceptions to public disclosure, and I believe the District is diligent in complying with that law.† However, I favor active disclosure over passive response.† I would like to see not only timely publication of the agenda of each board meeting, but a detailed publication in the Monett Times of every matter taken up by the board and a detailed listing of how each board member voted.† I would even favor the possibility of holding town hall meetings that interested members of the Monett community can attend.† I realize that if I am elected to the School Board, that will open me up to criticism by those who might not agree with any particular position I take.† Nevertheless, I feel it would be part of my duty as a board member to accept legitimate resident objection for any position I might take.† The residents of the district are the employers of School Board members, not the other way around.

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