Anyone who lives within Wichita school district boundaries can vote on this race.
Never miss a local story.
Occupation: Educational management consultant
Education: Graduated from Wichita East High, attended WSU, then completed my B.A. in Science from Kansas Un. and earned a Ph.D. from Michigan State Un.
Political experience: Elected to serve on a California school board plus represented Wichita on the Kansas State Board of Education. Have a Minor in Political Science from Michigan State Un. and have since helped draft and pass legislation in 5 states and the US Congress. Read more at Chappell4WichitaStudents.com.
Community involvement: Have served on numerous business, non-profit and public boards. In Wichita, I have been a member of the Racial Profiling Advisory Board and the Global Learning Center Board plus am a member of the NAACP and the Peace & Social Justice Center
How long lived in district: Moved to Wichita in 1955 and attended Roosevelt Jr. High then East High. After graduating from KU in 1963, I taught Science in Los Angeles and Topeka then served on the faculty of three universities and owned several businesses. I returned to Wichita in 1992.
YouTube: American Education and Healthcare Reforms Channel this
Shirley A. Jefferson
Occupation: Retired Boeing. Compliance/EEO Investigation
Education: Master of science, business administration
Political experience: 15+ years Wichita School Board, Transit Advisory Board, Commission on the Status of Women, Domestic Violence Task Force, Blue Ribbon Task Force for City/County Government Consolidation.
Community involvement: Health Core Clinic, Wichita Transit Advisory Board, Industry Liaison Group, Society of Human Resources Management, Wichita Public Schools, Workforce Partner Planning Board. Alpha Kappa Alpha. Sorority. lnc., Red Cross Blood Services, Salvation Army, Girl Scouts, District Advisory Board, leadership Kansas, leadership for Tomorrow, Commission on the Status. Domestic Violence Task Force
How long lived in district: 32+ years
Education: BA in Secondary Ed. / Masters in Education
Political experience: none
Community involvement: Contributor and Day sponsor for KMUW radio during May of 2017. Volunteer for the Convoy of Hope for the 2017-2108 school year. Participated in Partners for Wichita Safe Streets meetings. Regularly attend the El Pueblo neighborhood association meetings. YMCA After School Recreation leader for the 2015-2016 school year. Attended a DAB District 6 meeting
How long lived in district: 52 years
Explain how your experiences and education qualify you to be on the school board.
Walt Chappell: I have taught over a thousand K-12 and college students, served as budget and planning coordinator for a 6 state federal project, coordinated medical instructional services at the Un. of Iowa, served as an elected member and Budget Chairman on a local school board, served on the Kansas State Board of Education plus owned businesses and managed projects in 16 states and 5 foreign countries.
Shirley Jefferson: Appointed to Wichita School Board, Experience working in leadership roles on local boards and city boards, substitute teacher, .30 years as human resources professional working with diverse groups including young people. I am a committed, experience, and strategic leader that will work diligently so that our students will have a chance at being successful in the future.
Ron Rosales: I have been a teacher in USD 259 for over 10 years with well over 100 hours of professional development. I have worked not only as a teacher but also as a soccer coach working with the YMCA and the After School Recreation Program. I currently work at Haysville High School and am well experienced with students of all backgrounds. I am also ESOL certified. I am a retired US Navy veteran.
If elected, what would be your top priority?
Walt Chappell: My first priority is to make sure that Wichita teachers receive a pay raise and that they do not ever have to purchase classroom or student supplies from their own income. I will also encourage my fellow Board members to vote to purchase STEM and CTE equipment plus hire more science, math and industrially qualified teachers so we can prepare our Wichita students for 21st Century jobs.
Shirley Jefferson: Create new pathways to family engagement We must respect and help our parents understand they are the first teachers. I will do my part to have parents engaged their child's learning environment. The loss of civility, impact of video games, and social media greatly influence our children. We must direct our children in their life/education journey by working together for successful outcomes.
Ron Rosales: My top priority would be to help promote the graduation rate for minority males. Many minority males, and males in general, have fallen behind in graduation rates or have stagnated. Unfortunately minority males also make up a large percentage of discipline problem. I believe there is a connection and would like to explore this with school board members and the stakeholders in our community.
What should the Wichita school board do to recruit and retain qualified teachers?
Walt Chappell: Last year, Wichita teachers made over 50,000 disciplinary referrals. As a result, some teachers resigned rather than dealt with the daily chaos. So, I will work with other Board members and Dr. Thompson to seek advice from teachers and parents. Once that input is received, I will help draft and pass Board policies which rebuild respect for our teachers and maintain civility in our schools.
Shirley Jefferson: Develop relationships with colleges/universities to establish teacher pipelines. Identify teachers early in college career. Recruit teachers that mirror our student population. Reduce hiring time. Review recruitment/retention strategies for improvements. Provide funds for professional development. Establish mentoring programs to build respectful environments that embody integrity and trust.
Ron Rosales: USD 259 should increase pay and actively recruit teachers either at the end of high school or at the beginning of college. Teacher retention would also benefit from higher pay, longevity pay, continuous education pay and possibly an incentive pay for working at Title I schools, or struggling schools that need well qualified teachers to augment their staff.
Last year the school board lengthened the school day and cut 15 days from the calendar to cut costs. Do you favor this move? Why or why not?
Walt Chappell: There is little evidence that the District saved $3 million dollars as claimed. However, putting students on dark, cold bus stops at 6am is simple no way to treat anyone. They and their teachers come to school tired, and as a result, less learning takes place. Even after a survey of parents and teachers showed little support, the Board still voted to repeat the same mistake.
Shirley Jefferson: In my opinion, the move was disruptive to families, including many employees of USD 259. I'm not sure in the scheme of everything that the money that was possibly saved was worth it. I'm not clear on how the decision was made. Did the district seek input from staff, parents/family and the community regarding this decision?
Ron Rosales: I favored the move at the time. I think it was a good move considering the financial circumstances. However, now that we have a stable and approved budget, I think it is time to look at returning the school day to what it was. This might also be a good time to analyze data in order to support the best possible school schedule for our students.
Recent data shows an increase in the number of suspensions, detentions and other discipline incidents in Wichita schools, particularly at the elementary level. What could the school board do to address the issue?
Walt Chappell: Our teachers must be treated with respect by students and parents. Clearly, they cannot teach and students cannot learn if a few children are disrupting the rest of the class. I recommend that the Board hire social workers and psychologists for each school. Our teachers and building principals need and deserve this additional backup support to help improve student behavior.
Shirley Jefferson: Support the Second Step Curriculum. Schools that integrate social, emotional and character development in learning environments has better student engagement, decreased student suspensions and improved academic achievement. This creates better relations among students, parents, and education staff. With Dr. Thompson’s leadership we can expect positive change in addressing these concerns.
Ron Rosales: The school board needs to work with administrators to see that the MTSS or CDC is being followed. Overall the school board is just one of many pieces that a student or school will need in order to crate/recreate a culture of learning for the students. The Board could also look into Early Childhood Education. Data could help identify children that could have behavior problems as they advance.
Are Wichita schools adequately preparing students for college or careers? What more could be done?
Walt Chappell: No. Since 1998, Kansas school districts have doubled spending—yet test scores still remain flat. Only 1-in-5 Wichita students is proficient in Math and only 1-in-4 students is proficient in reading. Soon, each student will have an Individual Plan of Study starting in the 8th grade. The Board must approve changes to the curriculum so that students learn various job skills or can succeed in college.
Shirley Jefferson: I believe that USD 259 is doing the best they can with resources. However the district does fall short. I believe following the vision of Kansas Department of Education and working with the business community will close the gaps and move the district toward improved outcomes. (New Collar Jobs) will require higher skills, both academically and technically to meet job requirements moving forward.
Ron Rosales: Currently students are adequately prepared for college or careers. The district could work closer with WSU, WATC and Community Colleges for furthering student success. Whether or not they are adequately prepared for them when they show interest is difficult to say. As a school board member I will work with all stakeholders to promote better and adequate preparation.
What other priorities do you have?
Walt Chappell: I will work to bring civility and respectfulness back to all Board meetings. The 3 minute limit for public comments should be increased to 5 minutes. If Board members have questions to clarify suggestions made, then the person who came to speak should be allowed time to respond rather than be told to sit down.
Shirley Jefferson: Work with education stakeholders to help students achieve 21st. century skills. Support early learning. Increase graduation rates. Improve school relationships and utilize assessments that are appropriate and cost effective. Ensure that every dollar is utilized for support systems and student achievement. Ask the tough questions, solicit feedback and make sound, relevant decisions.
Ron Rosales: School finance is another priority because of the uncertainty of our financial situation in the future. This will have to be addressed after the 2018 gubernatorial race. Increasing community involvement would be another priority. Actively recruiting minority male teachers is another one of my priorities. Researching school vouchers is another topic that will need our attention.
Please state your position on open records, open meetings and transparency in government.
Walt Chappell: Wichita taxpayers, parents, teachers and local media have every right to know where their money is being spent. Once elected, I will insist on treating teachers and members of the public with the respect they deserve. I will ask for transparency from district administrators plus seek input from teachers, students, parents, and community
Shirley Jefferson: I believe that the community has a right to know what happens with their tax dollars. I support the community's right to know, and be informed of what is being done relative to student achievement, budget and other operational policies and procedures, excluding privacy protections. I believe transparency helps to build trust and creates dialogue to make our schools better and stronger
Ron Rosales: I support the Kansas Open Records Act. Having KORA as part of our State law helps promote transparency within organizations such as a city school board. In today's situation, having the public review, or being able to review, public records not only helps hold leaders accountable, but also helps promote involvement and democracy.