Allen Wilkinson - candidate for CH-UH Board of Education
1286 Yellowstone Rd. 44118 Age: 64
Children: 3 Schools: CH-UH
Education: PhD, Chemistry, CWRU 1986
BS, Engineering Physics, Cornell University 1980
Occupation: Retired NASA Physicist
Qualifications: Physicist & engineer, expertise for building plan and STEM/CTE curriculum
Board of Ed. observer & school committee participant
Community: most active 1987-2004
Sustainability Working Group (SWG) of Lay Facilities Plan 2012-2013
Volunteer admin of PTA email listserv from 1998-2011
Lead LINKS after school program for Monticello 2001-2004
Volunteer part time teacher at HH (physical electronics) 2000-2003
QUESTIONS and RESPONSES:
1. Student performance: Dramatically improve the STEM and Career Tech (CTE) curriculum K-12 for all students, realizing it enables a living wage. Refurbished sustainable buildings provide space and infrastructure for CTE and STEM. Open HVAC and building construction systems are labs ready for lessons. Engineering documents provide drawings and design calculations for classes. HVAC controllers engage students with calculus in action. Temperature, energy, and heat transfer are experienced, with measurements and calculations being the heart of scientific observation. CTE and STEM require spaces, equipment, and staff not present now. Leveraging the bond issue is a win-win. CH-UH would be unique in the region.
2. Budget:Ask staff what tasks or procurements are unproductive. Look at eliminating those. Sort costs categories by size and look for savings from largest to smallest. Teaching costs are given favored status from reductions. Try zero-based budgeting, where all items have to be re-justified before getting back into the budget. I suspect transportation and IT have reductions possible, but I need more data to be sure.
The facilities bond issue, if passed, will save energy, water and labor with refurbished sustainable facilities saving Operating Budget. It will ease the demand on the Capital budget stopping the need for increased capital levies.
3. Improve schools: The most important issue for the Board to address is student educational success for all. To address this the Board and Superintendent (includes administrative leadership team) must be more frank, questioning, imaginative and trusting than I have seen in my 30 years of watching the schools. Quantitative evidence to support decisions must be widely used. The Board must lead community conversations on issues that teaching staff identify as handicapping students and build consensus on the changes needed. The Board has to become visionary leaders who innovate and get ahead of problems. Question old habits.
4. Communicate: Treat public communications as a chance to educate the audience with motivation, evidence and logic of actions taking place, assuming the communication is not logistical information only, like schedules of events or course catalogs. I sense the public is looking for more plain talk and less gloss. A related question often heard is 'How does the district bridge the school/community/governments divide? In addition to my answer already, the Board needs to more vigorously examine the larger needs of community and governments looking for win-win opportunities, stretch their imagination. Build trust and fair play relationships with governments.