CANDIDATE FORUM: LISD School Board, District 3 - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

CANDIDATE FORUM: LISD School Board, District 3

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KCBD NewsChannel 11 and the League of Women Voters are teaming up to bring you a series of candidate forums in advance of Lubbock's May elections.

On Wednesday, April 25, Mark Blankenship and Eddie Kirkpatrick were in our studio to answer questions from viewers and from the Lubbock League of Women voters.

Information provided by the Lubbock League of Women Voters.

Mark Blankenship

Web Site: voteblankenship.com

YouTube video: http://www.youtube.com/v/ZRrt_YqdkCg

Education: Texas Tech University, 1985 (B.S. Education); Student Teaching at Lubbock Coronado High School. Texas Tech School of Law, 1988 (Doctor of Jurisprudence)

Questions:

Q: Describe the training and experience that qualify you for this office. (300 characters,approximately 50 words)

A: I served on my firm's business management committee for nearly 15 years,3 of those years as chairman, which has trained me to build a consensus. I studied Education and Law, which will provide a new perspective to the Board. 23 years of mediation experience will help me find solutions to issues.

Q: All school programs face decreased funding. Which programs would you propose be cut back and which programs would you emphasize?

A: I would first decrease the number of elementary schools (35) we have for this size of city. This could save many millions of dollars a year, and would have a payback for each closure/consolidation of about 3 years. If cuts to programs were still necessary, I would vote to make math, science, English Language/Arts and technology/vocational training our priorities, and would vote to cut all other programs in relatively equal proportion.

Q: How much emphasis should be given to the programs that are provided by the Byron Martin ATC (Advanced Technology Center)?

A: In my two month experience on the Board, I have already had the opportunity to support the ATC by voting to authorize the purchase of new equipment. I am a strong advocate for the ATC. Although the state's standardized testing initiative assumes that all kids will go the college route, that is simply not the case. We must significantly expand our vocational training to meet the needs of our kids and to provide a solid workforce for our city.

Eddie Kirkpatrick

Web Site: eddiekirkpatrick.com

Education: Graduated from Coronado High School, Honor graduate of South Plains College

Questions:

Q: Describe the training and experience that qualify you for this office.

A: Graduate and parent of two graduates of Coronado High School; PTA member, 15 years (President, Smylie Wilson, 2 years); LISD substitute teacher, 2 years; Lubbock firefighter, 28 years; Commander, Lubbock Fire Department Honor Guard; EMS instructor, 14 years; fire academy instructor, 10 years

Q: All school programs face decreased funding. Which programs would you propose be cut back and which programs would you emphasize?

A: We need to decrease funding in administration. We need to emphasize spending in the classrooms. While the bulk of funding should be focused on the classroom and the facilitation of learning, programs such as fine arts and athletics should receive equal funding, since those tend to be the reasons students enjoy coming to school. As a district, I hope we would choose to be known for academics, as much as athletics.

Q: How much emphasis should be given to the programs that are provided by the Byron Martin ATC (Advanced Technology Center)?

A: Because not all students want to or are able to go to college, I would like to see school work programs receive more emphasis. Although I eventually graduated from college, I participated in a school work program. Both my daughters participated in a school work program, and attended college upon graduation. I believe it is a good way to keep kids in school who might otherwise drop out, while also teaching them about good work ethics.

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