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The Budget

The School Newspaper of Lawrence High School.

The Budget

The School Newspaper of Lawrence High School.

The Budget

Student-hosted forum brings perspective ahead of general election

Nov. 7 election will decide who will fill five open seats; twelve candidates running share their perspectives
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Four year candidate Yolanda Franklin speaks at the forum on Oct. 18.

In preparation for school board elections on Nov. 7, candidates were asked a variety of questions during a forum hosted by the Budget.  This forum, hosted by seniors and co-editors in chief Maya Smith and Natasha Torkzaban took place on Wednesday, Oct. 18.

Each candidate was given a two minute time block to answer questions revolving around a variety of topics important to students. The most prominent of these topics was perceived issues with district financial management.

Attorney and school board candidate Jody Meyer believed that a forensic audit should be established in order to properly address budgetary issues. 

“I don’t think most people on the school board can actually say, except in vague generalities, where our money is going,” Meyer said, further emphasizing this belief.

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Candidate Brandon Moore had a similar perspective when it came to finance.

“We need to have absolute clarity and 100% fiscal responsibility and we need to stop having a good ole boys club,” Moore said.

Running for reelection, Shannon Kimball refuted any potential accusation surrounding finances.

“I realize that school finance is complicated, but to accuse people of mismanagement without any basis whatsoever is unfortunate,” Kimball said. 

Meanwhile, Carole Cadue-Blackwood, also running for reelection, looked to the future when discussing the budget.

“Moving forward, the district can create policies that require proposals that would provide sustained economic growth for Lawrence Public Schools,” Cadue-Blackwood said.

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Another topic of conversation involved the recent switch from MacBooks to iPads at the high school level. Opinions on this topic ranged from support to stiff opposition.

“I feel like it’s maybe another inequity thing,” candidate Ariel Miner said. “We might have high schoolers that will never be able to afford a laptop after high school and this is their time to really learn and pick up some technology.”

Candidate Yolanda Franklin believed that technology in general could be detrimental to students, particularly at the middle school level.

“I really think we should go back to pen and paper, notebooks, regular textbooks, and the iPad should be given to high school kids and not middle school kids,” Franklin said.

GR Gordon-Ross, who voted in favor of the switch to iPads in Jan., 2023, still stands by his decision.

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“When we made that decision, we were looking for ways to save money,” Gordon-Ross said. “No one certainly stood up and made the statement that the iPads were better than the MacBooks or that the iPads were superior or were even on par but they could do the job that the MacBooks could do.”

According to all the school board candidates, diversity, equity, and inclusion are major influencing factors behind their decision-making.

“It’s ever evolving, it’s a give and take process,” candidate Anne Costello said in reference to these factors. “As a culture, as a society, as different beliefs change, it’s important that we stay responsive to that and as people bring things up, we need to listen with open ears and open hearts and really think about what we’re being told.”

Expanding on community mental health was a big part of the conversation, with candidate Rachel Stumblingbear offering insight into generational differences.

“I think that it’s wonderful that this generation understands mental health and has that language to start off with,” Stumblingbear said. “I think that we need to normalize that it’s okay to say you’re not okay, to be able to have the feelings you have and to be able to share that.”

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Teacher turnover was the final topic of the forum, with solutions such as salary increase and changes to workplace environments.

“We are top heavy, as far as the district is concerned,” first-time candidate Edward Gonzales said. “We have a lot of administrators who are making $100,000 or more for salaries. I would like to re-evaluate that so that way we can redistribute those funds to the teachers and staff.”

Meyer offered her own alternate solutions to teacher turnover.

“In order to maintain continuity and keep teachers, how much they get paid is one thing, but work quality, work life is another and I think that’s what we need to focus on, especially if we have limited money to give raises,” Meyer said.

For more detailed perspectives from each candidate, watch a livestream of the forum on the Room 308 Productions Youtube channel. Also, be sure to check out reporting from the Lawrence Times on this forum event.

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About the Contributors
Jonas Lord
Jonas Lord, Managing Editor
My name is Jonas Lord and this is my third and final year in journalism. I'm a managing editor who has primarily worked as part of the LHS Budget, all while contributing to the yearbook and social media. When I'm not working on journalism, I'm working on the Lions Roar as a segment contributor. I also draw, edit, make music, and eat large amounts of breakfast cereal. Emails for questions/inquires: [email protected] [email protected] [email protected] Link to my Soundcloud:
Sama Abughalia
Sama Abughalia, The Budget Co-Editor in Chief
This is my third year on staff and my first year as an editor in chief. Although I’m really only trained as a photographer I hope I can learn new skills as a mediocre designer and possible a sub-par writer. I am very involved in school and spend most of my times attending events. I may not be able to help edit your story but I can definitely make a witty come-back when faced with an attitude.

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