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LWV League of Women Voters of the Cincinnati Area Education Fund
Hamilton County, OH November 8, 2011 Election
Smart Voter

Sean L. Rugless
Answers Questions

Candidate for
Board Member; Winton Woods City School District


The questions were prepared by the League of Women Voters of the Cincinnati Area and asked of all candidates for this office.
Read the answers from all candidates (who have responded).

Questions & Answers

1. What are your qualifications for office?

I am sensitized to challenges facing public education and my experiences will help me address these challenges. As a non-profit executive with extensive board experience, I am equipped to deal with difficult issues and solve problems. I have a track record of including stakeholders for the purposes strengthening organizations, and would value and act upon feedback from parents, teachers, and taxpayers about administrative spending and curriculum decisions. Within the past 6 years, my involvement in school and finance levies from Springfield Township to Forest Park has equipped me with a view of what makes our communities great, and I have voted to support development and progress. I come to this campaign as a product of public schools, with the expectations of a private one. As a former Board Chairman for a private school, I have experience in establishing strong standards and a focus on teaching staff and delivery. I believe that "progress" is the evidence of success. It tells us how far we have come, and much further we have to go. As your next school board member, I will settle for nothing less than progress.

2. What would you do to advance the concept of "equity in education" in your district?

Achievement for all students is imperative. We must create a competitive edge with a balanced curriculum that includes general education, honors and AP courses, while also serving the needs of students with learning challenges. Our district needs approaches that move performance forward for every grade level and every student. I would openly support maintaining higher level courses that invite all students with the opportunity to participate. I also support creative approaches to meet lower performing students where they are. Equity begins in knowing (assessing) where our student's abilities lie, and aligning resources and offerings to put them on their individual path toward realizing their potential. In this way no one group faces being disenfranchised, but rather all students can walk boldly toward a bright future.

3. How would you use your students' state test results to improve education in your district?

The state test results are one of many inputs that calibrate the strength of our district. When combined with findings from our teachers and parents, I would use the state's test results to target efforts and investments toward strengthening our ranking and offerings within our schools. The weaknesses within our district have been known for years and are not unique. For example, we have to address multi-year trend of underperformance in our lower grades so we can build a pipeline of success for our upper grades. Also, there is a real opportunity to introduce learning and curriculum modifications to strengthen math and science outcomes. I would also seek to maintain momentum in areas of our district that are meeting or exceeding state standards.

4. What will you do to build consensus in the community in support of public schools?

Building consensus requires a responsive leader that begins with embracing parents, teachers, and community stakeholders as full partners in making decisions for our district. From a parental standpoint, I will be a student-focused school board member who listens to parent input and acts upon that feedback. With teachers, I would be sensitive to creating an environment in which they can deliver the best academic experience possible. For our broader community, we can leverage our assets and facilities in a manner that fosters positive relationships and adds value. Despite the use of traditional media vehicles, there are many in our school district that are not informed on matters of the district. To gain consensus, I would evolve the way that we engage all stakeholders.

5. What are your budget priorities?

Ohio school districts currently face decreasing budgets due to declining property values, lower business tax revenue, and state budget cuts. The board will have to make tough budget decisions. As administrative costs are a significant percentage of the overall budget, I support targeting areas within the administration: (perform salary comparisons and review roles and positions) to preserve academic offerings that promote learning and achievement. I will challenge the district to get smarter and more creative about how we get things done. This district will have to `earn trust' and show progress in the minds of our voting residents before it can entertain any additional levy.

Responses to questions asked of each candidate are reproduced as submitted to the League.  Candidates' statements are presented as submitted. Word limits may apply. See individual questions for specific word limits. Direct references to opponents are not permitted. Please edit your work before submitting. We are unable to provide spell-check at this time.

Read the answers from all candidates (who have responded).

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Created from information supplied by the candidate: October 6, 2011 13:07
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