Old Burlington School Board Member Bryan Bross confirmed to The Hawk Eye that he is running to join the board as a written candidate for one of three seats up for grabs in the November 2 election.
Bross was elected to the board of directors in 2015 before losing his candidacy for re-election in 2019.
Board members Tom Courtney and Dean Vickstrom do not seek another term, leaving Bross and current board member Darven Kendell as the only two candidates with previous experience as a board member.
Reyna Cadena and Jennifer Lachenberg are also running for a seat on the board, but did not attend a candidate forum hosted by the Greater Burlington Partnership, nor did they respond to questions or messages from The Hawk Eye.
Here’s what Bross had to say:
Work and training
Graduated engineer and professional geologist. Bachelor’s degree in geological engineering and master’s degree in geotechnics. Vice President and Branch Manager at Klingner & Associates, PC in Burlington.
What can you tell us about your family and how long have you lived in the school district?
Our family moved to Burlington in 2004. My two children graduated from Burlington High School. My wife is a housewife (formerly a nurse).
Why do you want to serve on the school board and what made you decide to run?
I was director of BCSD from 2015 to 2019.
I believe that I have been part of many successes at BCSD, but I believe that I have more to offer in terms of my time and talents.
I think critically and solve complex problems for a living, and I hope to bring these skills to the BCSD Board of Directors.
Many people have repeatedly asked me to get out papers for this election. I had always refused them, thinking my time was up.
However, a friend asked me if I would serve if my name was written long enough to be elected. I thought about it and decided it would be an honor to serve if enough citizens wrote my name.
Why should people vote for you?
I already have a deep understanding of the organizational structure and funding mechanisms of an Iowa public school district due to my past experience on the board.
I am able to listen and make thoughtful decisions.
I have positive relationships with many BCSD staff and know how to build consensus even with those who have differing opinions.
I will stand firm on my convictions, but I will not put others down.
I will work and I will lead, but I will always listen before I act.
What school district issues are you most concerned about and how would you work to resolve them?
The biggest problem facing the BCSD is the replacement of our superintendent. We need to work quickly to find, interview, assess and hire the right person for the job. This person will have big shoes to put on.
I will listen to parents and staff, and apply my analytical skills to assess the candidate pool. I will hold anyone we hire accountable for setting and achieving goals.
The next big problem is the successful transformation of high school for 21st century learning. It’s a big project with a big price. BCSD has already assembled a team of professionals, and I look forward to contributing to the council’s leadership as steward of the taxpayer’s money.
What specific goals would you like to work towards achieving if elected to the board of directors?
First, I would like to improve parent involvement at the council level and across the district. This would help parents understand what is going on in their children’s education, but it would also help staff better understand parental concerns and sensitivities.
Second, I would work to maximize the effectiveness of the education of our children while making sure to take care of our educators. This requires careful scrutiny of all expenses to ensure that they align with our district’s goals and achieve those goals.
Finally, I would like to see our building trades program grow with the construction of our first (in a long time) student residence near Edward Stone Middle School.
What do you think of the mask warrants and other COVID prevention measures?
Unfortunately, I believe the hysteria and lack of scientific information has led to an approach based on statistics rather than science. Then it becomes politicized based on the statistics you believe in.
Whether or not a mask is worn should be a personal decision, and no one should be discriminated against, whether or not they wear a mask.
Because the public school district is the student’s legal guardian while on school property or on a bus, the school board must make decisions as if it were a parent.
Whether I agree with the mask warrants or any particular COVID prevention measure, I must respect the grave difficulty of a board of seven well-meaning people having to make a decision in the best interests of more than 3,500 students. entrusted to them.
Do you agree with how Iowa and the state legislature handled the pandemic in public schools?
While I traditionally prefer local control as much as possible, I applaud the Iowa Legislature and Governor for taking the initiative to provide “blanket” to local school boards grappling with difficult decisions in the face of such a situation. uncertainty.
When the court issued an injunction, the result was continued confusion across the state with a mix of Old West laws and rules.
Local school boards have been forced to primarily interpret statistics and certain scientific data to implement pandemic mitigation measures.
So, depending on where you are, children have a wide variety of pandemic mitigations with largely the same results.
Do you think the COVID pandemic has been politicized and, if so, how do you think your personal opinions would guide your decisions if you were elected to the board of directors?
It depends on the statistics you believe, because most of us are not epidemiologists. And, even now, so little is known that the lack of information leads to confusion.
Looking back on this pandemic twenty years from now, we will all have a much better perspective. We are all entitled to our personal opinions as Americans.
Do you think that the parents in your neighborhood are sufficiently represented? Are their views heard by the board?
To some extent it depends on how seriously the parent wants to communicate their point of view to the board, but I think the board could always listen to their constituents better.
What do you think the board should do to improve and ensure equity among students?
I believe that in this context, “fairness” means that students realize the greatest potential that they are able to realize with their God-given talents and abilities.
Not all students will get an A. Marks are earned, not given.
The sky is the limit, so everyone should be able to make their dreams come true.
It is not just up to the school district, teachers or parents, but students should also do their best.