Local Elections

Q&A: Litchfield school board candidates on solving district's biggest problems

Posted 10/4/22

Independent Newsmedia is providing ongoing coverage of school board races in cities across the Valley, including Litchfield Elementary School District, where three candidates are running for two …

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Local Elections

Q&A: Litchfield school board candidates on solving district's biggest problems

Posted

Independent Newsmedia is providing ongoing coverage of school board races in cities across the Valley, including Litchfield Elementary School District, where three candidates are running for two seats on the board. As part of this coverage, Independent Newsmedia has sent out a list of questions asking candidates to weigh in on important issues facing their district.

Below, candidates talk about the biggest issues facing their district, and how they would remedy those issues if chosen by voters this November 8. 

Q:  What do you believe are the three most important issues facing the Litchfield Elementary School District? Please describe the approach you would take to address these issues if elected.

Ryan Owens

A: “The number one issue facing LESD is similar to all schools right now, making up for lost learning due to school closures and forced distance learning as a result of Covid. Children saw a significant loss in instruction and now are behind. This loss in learning must be made up and students need to be made proficient to the subject matter to their current grade level. All priorities need to be focused on programs and instruction methods to get students caught up and ready to advance to the next grade by end of the school year. Secondly, whether real or perceived, LESD has lost the trust of a significant amount of its residents. Secret committees that violate open meeting laws and bad media coverage do not merit trust. Trust must be restored. Transparency and a focus on things that have a quantifiable impact to students’ education needs to be the focus to help restore trust. Lastly, teacher retention is an issue that LESD faces and it must be addressed. Finding out why teachers and administrators are leaving and also comparing districts with higher retention rates need to be explored to remedy this issue.”

Q:  What do you believe are the three most important issues facing the Litchfield Elementary School District? Please describe the approach you would take to address these issues if elected.

Kimberly Moran Incumbent, board president 

A: "The most important issue today is academic achievement. The pandemic impacted student achievement negatively. Specific programs have been implemented to close the gap in learning loss in LESD, such as tutoring, summer school, and additional math interventions. Based on most recent test scores, progress is being made, but there is still much work to do. Thank you to our dedicated teachers and staff! Another important issue is under-staffing. The pandemic impacted staffing negatively. We have openings for teachers, instructional aides, food service, transportation, technology and other departments. The board raised wages, which has helped, but has not yet fully closed the staffing gap. Another long-standing issue facing LESD is funding.  The Arizona system to fund public education is broken. The state should support public education by increasing per pupil funding to the national median or higher and revising the school finance formula to provide stability and predictability to districts.”

Q:  What do you believe are the three most important issues facing the Litchfield Elementary School District? Please describe the approach you would take to address these issues if elected.

Dr. Dennis Dowling Incumbent

A: “1. Recovering from the academic learning loss caused by the COVID pandemic. (Provide extra-curricular activities and remedial academic opportunities throughout the school year and summer). 2. Recruitment and retention of highly qualified teachers and support staff. (Ensure the District creates a supportive work environment that values all employees and their contributions to the District; and competitive salaries for certified and classified personnel). 3. Ensuring the curriculum focuses on, and adequately addresses, reading, writing, math, social studies and technology in the classroom. (Student academic achievement must be the first priority for all school personnel in the District and members of the community).”

Do you have questions for the candidates? Send us an email at mackley@iniusa.org and we'll do our best to get your queries answered so you can vote informed!