Arm students for education, Pasco School Board candidate Kaleel says
Too many students don't have the equipment they need to get a good education, Pasco School Board District 4 candidate Billie Ann Stamatis-Kaleel says.
She recalled her own nephew not even knowing what a dictionary is.
"We need to make sure they have dictionaries in classrooms at a young age. If they can't spell, they can't read, can they?" Kaleel said. "I have seen it in the classroom, where kids struggle with easy words. I say, arm them."
Read on to learn more about Kaleel's views in response to a St. Petersburg Times questionnaire.
What is your position on amending Constitutionally required class sizes? How do you propose to finance the long-term costs of the class-size amendment if voters choose not to alter it in November?
Class size should be amended. If the amendment is not altered, we would have to review the various amount of time that is needed to accomplish goals.
Do you support or oppose levying an additional quarter-mill property tax this year?
Only if the tax is approved by the voters.
Would the school district and its students and families benefit from a magnet school approach to gifted education or one that has part-time programs at every school?
No. I support the part-time programs at every school.
What specific ideas do you have on balancing the school district budget? Would you consider furloughing employees, cutting benefits, reducing salaries or other personnel cost reductions?
Funds available should be allocated to those areas that would best serve the children. Teachers benefits should be kept in tact to insure their retention and give incentives for new teachers to apply.
Increased parental participation at schools is cited as a common need nearly universally. How would you propose to get parents more involved in their children's education?
Hold a special meeting of school board members once a month, just for parents, so they may express their concerns and be heard. Workshops should be held after such meetings to discuss parental concerns and their solutions.
Do you support or oppose the expansion of charter schools? What do you think is the appropriate role of charter schools in public education and what should be the benchmark for performance?
Yes. Parents should have the choice of where their children will attend school. Charter schools should be held to the same state and federal standards as public schools.
In light of Senate Bill 6 and the promise from legislators to seek a new version of it next year, should the district be moving toward changes in teacher pay/performance and developing end-of-year tests in each subject?
Yes. If this passes, we need to insure that our teachers benefits and salaries are protected. I feel that an average should be taken from periodic tests administered during the course of the semester, in each subject, and averaged in with a final exam in each subject at the end of that semester.
What is your opinion of Superintendent Heather Fiorentino's job performance?
I think she has earned a D. If she were doing her job we wouldn't be having the problems Pasco County schools are facing at the present time.
Describe why voters should consider you for this office and what you hope to accomplish:
I have been a citizen of Pasco County since 1963. I have seen the growth in this county and the many changes it brings. I believe there is a need to better allocate school board revenue and to curb wasteful spending. As an advocate for students and their guardians, I feel there sholud be more opportunities for parental participation.