Alison Meryweather questions and answers
October 23, 2013
1. As state funding increases, what percentage should go to teacher salaries? To programs? To class size reductions?
The district will strategically invest the additional funding to support student academic achievement goals aligned with our community priorities; current staffing is 85% of budget.
2. What experience do you bring to the board that will make a difference to the school district?
Advocacy and policy work at the state level collaborating with key education legislators to improve funding and educational outcomes. Strong relationships with local community partners.
3. Aside from funding, what should district officials be asking of state legislators?
To carefully assess the impact of seemingly unrelated legislation to education that creates ‘unfunded mandates’ to school operations that drain funding away from the classroom.
4. What changes to vocational classes should the district consider?
The rebuild of Tiger Mtn. HS allows for expanding the current vocational offerings districtwide, encouraging early internship partnering with local businesses such as Swedish.
5. How important is all-day kindergarten for future educational success?
Research shows all-day kindergarten has a significant impact on the future learning success of children that have not had any preschool enrichment experiences.
6. What is the role of the school board in the district’s relationship with the teachers’ union?
The board’s role is to represent the values and voice of the whole community to district administrators; the board does not participate in contract negotiations.
7. What would you do to lower the district’s dropout rate, or is it low enough?
100% graduation rate is my goal; each at-risk student should be assigned a staff mentor that monitors their progress until they complete their requirements.
8. If only the M&O levy passes, how will the district make ends meet?
If the supplemental levies failed, capital projects, bus purchases and technology investments would be deferred; district reserves could be utilized to temporarily fund critical expenditures.
9. What changes do you propose to homework policies?
No specific homework reform proposals; however there are areas that can be addressed via additional teacher professional development and contract negotiations emphasizing timely student feedback.
10. What ideas do you have for making Issaquah schools safer?
Safety is a priority, both physical and social emotional. The district is undergoing a comprehensive review of all procedures and will prioritize opportunities for improvement.
11. What else can the district do to help students pass standardized tests?
The greatest impact on student performance is the teacher, investing in our teachers with professional development, quality curriculum and training on new standards is vital.
12. What can the school board leadership do to improve our schools that is not being done now?
The board should have more frequent contact and dialogue with the local employers to assess our educational alignment with meeting the needs of future skills.
13. What role does the school board have in the transition to Common Core standards?
Ensure the community is well informed, listen to concerns and that the district has appropriate resources to transition to the new standards and testing protocols.
14. What would you change about the bond and levy package?
The levy proposal was vetted by a diverse community group, reviewed by the superintendent and has board approval; the community supports the educational value propositions.
15. How much should student test scores be used in teacher evaluations?
Student testing scores are just one component of multiple measures used to evaluate teacher performance. The issue is complex and should be fair and accountable.
16. Should the process for changes to school boundaries be open to public input?
Public input is always welcome and valued regarding any district issue; typically, multiple school boundary changes convene a community advisory group to assist the district.
17. What is the top problem facing the district today (besides funding) and what will you do about it?
The social emotional health of our students; I have proposed a board committee of the community to address the data in the Healthy Youth Survey.