John Dillingham, a regular member of Haskell School Board Seat 2, will face retired teacher Annita Taber in the school board election on Tuesday. Candidates answered the following questions about academic issues.
1. What do you think are the most important issues facing public schools in Haskell?
TABER: “The most pressing issue facing Haskell Public Schools is our teacher turnover rate and average daily student attendance.”
DILLINGHAM: “The biggest problem right now is the shortage of teachers in Oklahoma. It’s very difficult to find certified teachers to teach higher-level courses.”
2. What specific actions would you take to address these issues?
DILLINGHAM: “The only steps that can be taken to address these issues is to push to elect the right lawmakers for our state. Our lawmakers must continue to work to increase teachers’ salaries to ensure we can retain our current teachers. while providing a competitive starting salary so that we entice our children to join this profession.In addition to this, we are also declaring money to enable us to increase the salary of our support staff.No school can function without this group of employees and most schools cannot compensate them as they deserve.This will be the only way we can educate our children as they deserve.
TABER: “The steps needed to address these issues are to provide our staff and students with a safe and positive learning environment. We can provide a safe learning environment by ensuring that our students and staff benefit from the support needed to succeed. We need to boost the overall morale of our school by providing collaborative opportunities for our students, staff, teachers and administration to ensure that everyone is an active participant in the learning process.”
3. Why do you think you are the best candidate for the Haskell Board of Education?
TABER: “I have 30 years of educational experience. My 30 years of educational experience come from the Haskell Public Schools freshman class.”
DILLINGHAM: “I’ve been on the school board for 15 years, so I would say my experience. My opponent in this election retired from teaching at Haskell schools after 30 years. The experience I bring to the board is another type of experience. School board members are required to earn education credits each term in areas such as ethics, school finances, Open Meeting Act and school law. Ongoing training is required every quarter, and I have exceeded the requirements. I served as Chairman of the Board for many years and work closely with the Superintendent to draft meeting agendas and assist our Superintendent in troubleshoot other issues that may arise. Haskell Schools have been very fortunate with community support to pass bonds without raising taxes for our residents. I’m the only current board member with experience with school bonds and projects with these funds, and we’re in the planning stages for our next bond, which is due to come to a vote in two years for taxes to stay the same. Haskell has a freshman superintendent with many years in public education. The experience needed on the board today is the experience that I have described to myself.”
4. How should topics such as slavery, Jim Crow, the Path of Tears, and women’s rights be taught in the classroom?
DILLINGHAM: “While this is a hot topic nationwide and I have a strong opinion on it, the reality is that as a member of the Oklahoma school board, we have to follow the law on how these subjects are taught HB 1775 went into effect May 2021 with emergency guidance from the State Board of Education in July 2021 and final guidance coming just a few weeks ago. not followed, our teachers risk having their certification suspended or revoked. Additionally, if a school district fails to follow the laws, the district risks losing its funding and accreditation.”
TABER: “Subjects such as slavery, Jim Crow, the Trial of Tears, and women’s rights should be taught in accordance with applicable law and Oklahoma academic standards.”
5. What are the major capital needs—such as buildings, technology, transportation—facing your school district?
TABER: “The primary capital need facing Haskell public schools is adequate educational technology. Educational technologies are constantly changing. We need to ensure that we provide our students and staff with the latest in educational technology. »
DILLINGHAM: “The main capital requirement for Haskell right now is the need for new cafeterias at our two sites. We also need a new building and equipment for our farm mechanic students. keep improving our technology.”