1. What knowledge and skills do you think kids need to succeed in the 21s t century? What can you do as a legislator to make sure local schools deliver these outcomes?
Having just graduated from Great Falls High School, I think it is vital for students to not just know arithmetic and science but also how to be critical thinkers. Life outside of school does not usually have one right answer or only one way to get there, therefore it is imperative that we have schools that not only teach our STEM and history courses but ensure that our students are equipped for the 21st century. As a legislator, I will work hard to make sure our public schools are properly funded, especially in relation to inflation, as well as continue working with both sides of the aisle to ensuring our schools are a safe place for our students to learn.
2. What can the state legislature do to ensure districts can attract and retain good teachers, meet accreditation standards and federal mandates, and prepare students with the knowledge and skills they need to succeed in the 21s t century?
First and foremost, the easiest way to recruit and retain the best teachers is paying
them what they deserve. Montana ranks 40th (Zippa) in the nation for places to
work as teachers. As one of the most important jobs in our country, our teachers
need to be properly compensated as such.
3. What priority will you place as a legislator on providing appropriate educational programs for students with disability and other special populations such as gifted students, at-risk students and students in poverty?
As a legislator, it will be one of my top priorities to ensure that funding is not cut, nor shifted from special education, education for those with disabilities, and that already in place after school programs are funded so long as they are showing positive results.
4. Given the risk of school shootings and other violent acts committed on school properties, what can and should our elected officials do to ensure the safety of the students and teachers in our schools?
Schools are supposed to be a place that our students should not have to worry
about being safe. In order to make this a continued reality, Montana needs to allow
for districts to run separate levies that the funds would be used specifically for
improvements to school safety. Additionally, continue the terms agreed to in SB 307
to allow for school districts to transfer funds from state or local revenue so long as it
5. What is your position on school choice and vouchers or tax credits for private and parochial schools in Montana?
Public schools are meant to be open for everyone. If the state give a leg up to private schools then public education suffers. The average tuition in Montana for private schools is $7,730. This is a cost that most families in Montana cannot afford. Public schools act as the equalizer in education. As long as public education remains free, children from every class have the opportunity to do what they want with their knowledge.
6. How should the state contribute to much-needed funding for aging school facilities, infrastructure, and outdated technology needs in our schools?
The state has a responsibility to make sure our students have the best schools to learn in with adequate technology. Instead of trying to find money from other programs or budgets, we need to start allocating funds directly to the improvement and if necessary rebuilding of schools in Montana.
7. Currently the school district takes advantage of funding provided by non-school district sources to provide food programs for hungry students and affordable and convenient access to health care. Do you support such programs? Why or why not?
I do think that those programs are important and necessary, however I would like to see school districts doing more in house programs to help combat these issues. I have seen first hand these programs work and the impact that they have on their lives, In terms of healthcare, our students deserve to be taken care of and I would like to see a school nurse program expanded, as well as possible employee health clinics like we are starting to see in other parts of the Northwest and some parts of Montana, These clinics would help both the health of the population and help the state budget.