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BOE candidate wants focus on education, not recreation

3/29/2013

By JUDY SHERARD

By JUDY SHERARD

jsherard@dailynews.net

Kathleen Fischer, a candidate for the Hays USD 489 Board of Education, wants schools to focus on education again.

"Our children aren't doing as well as they should," she said. "I think it's time to remember that the business of schools is education, not recreation. ... We need sports, but they shouldn't be the main focus, and these days they are."

She is one of five candidates for three seats on the board of education in Tuesday's election. The other candidates are Richard Kraemer, Danielle Robben, Lance Bickle and Josh Waddell.

Local school boards must be careful how they spend the money they have.

Fischer believes it's important to provide art and music in schools, and funding should continue.

"Culture is important," she said. "Our culture is suffering because it seems to be nothing but sports."

Some expenses for sports could be cut, she believes. The number of coaches in each sport might be trimmed, and those who do coach should teach as well. Fischer would like to see drivers education taught by a coach and put back as a class during the school year. Travel expenses for teams could be cut by limiting trips and distances traveled.

Cutting some sports expenses could allow spending in other areas.

"Field trips are learning experiences," Fischer said. "I don't see sports as learning experiences."

English as a Second Language programs should get students ready for citizenship, not just teach English, she said.

Fischer believes members of the facilities needs committee are part of the community, and the board should give their recommendation consideration in long-term planning.

"We do need to be looking at more than spend, spend, spend. ... The committee said (there's) no need to build a new school within the next five years."

Fischer doesn't favor putting a bond issue forward that would raise taxes.

"It's time to stop taxing the students' grandparents out of their homes," Fischer said.

Neighborhood schools and having school choices is a good idea rather than having districting for elementary students. Children walking to school solves some of the parking problems.

"Going to a neighborhood school with children in your own neighborhood is a good idea," Fischer said.

Schools should be accountable, and discussions should take place in a public forum, she said.

"I think schools should be accountable to the board, and the board should be accountable to the taxpayers," Fischer said. "I'm all for stopping this (discussion) being done behind closed doors. Confidentiality is a good excuse for going behind closed doors."

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Kathleen Fischer grew up in Plainville but graduated from Hays High School. Now retired, Fischer worked as a social worker and hairdresser.

She doesn't have children or grandchildren but has time to give back to the community.