Friday, February 03, 2006
Western Kansas: Sally Cauble Kicks Off Campaign in Hays
Moderate school board candidate Sally Cauble kicked off her campaign in Hays Wednesday.
About 80 people attended a campaign rally for Sally Cauble, Republican candidate for the 5th district’s seat on the Kansas Board of Education, at the Hays Arts Council on Wednesday evening. In attendance were local citizens ranging from soccer moms to biology professors to school board members to college students. There was a healthy mix of Democrats and Republicans, but as varied as the audience was, one consistent theme ran through the evening: Who is Sally Cauble, and why should we vote for her?
Granted, a few attendees admitted they were there for the ABC candidate – Anybody But Connie (Morris, the current District 5 KBOE rep). Although Garden City’s former mayor, Tim Cruz, has also filed for the seat on the Democratic ticket, he hasn’t officially visited Hays yet. But the great majority who attended were there to learn about Sally’s stances on a variety of issues. She didn’t disappoint, either. Although her statements weren’t exactly what we all expected, she was clear and definite on most issues.
Former Hays mayor Jayne Clarke introduced Sally, noting the candidate’s native western Kansas roots as well as her previous experience on the school board in Liberal and as a Southwestern College Trustee. She has extensive service volunteering in her church and community.
Why are you running? As I served on the school board in Liberal, I got tired of the folks at the state & federal levels handing down more and more demands on the public schools. I talked to Sonny Rundell, who said he’d like one more term, then he’d step down in my favor. Instead, Sonny lost that election to Connie Morris. So, I’m taking the opportunity now to fulfill that earlier ambition.
Vouchers: When special ed kids go to private schools, the public school district is still required to provide and pay for the special education services. So I don’t see how vouchers would provide any more help for these kids.
Evo/ID: Intelligent design should not be taught in public school science classrooms, and the current science standards should be revoked. I attended an event at KU last Saturday that featured the attorneys from the Dover ID case, and Kansas should learn from Dover’s mistakes. Thomas Jefferson had the right idea about the separation of church and state.
Tenure for public school teachers: The general public & teachers view tenure differently. The general public regards it as job security for a cushy, 9-month, 8 am – 3 pm job. Teachers view it as protection from political vagaries and vengeful parents or administrators. More communication needs to occur to resolve the discrepant views. Differential pay and bonuses should be considered. (This question flustered Sally, and she took awhile to think her way out loud through this issue. As she pointed out, though, she is capable of learning, as she has with the evolution/ID issue.)
Role of KBOE in state funding: It’s the job of the KBOE rep to work with the district senators & representatives to find equitable solutions. I recognize that I’m one of 10 members of the state board, and it’s also my job to work with the other members.
Bob Corkins: The role of the commissioner of education is to carry out board policy. If you don’t like the commissioner, you need to elect a new board. Bob Corkins does not have the basic qualifications for his job.
Tax increases: Who knows where we’ll be in five years? The increases that have been put in place must be phased in gradually.
Role of judiciary: We need a strong, independent judiciary. The Supreme Court shouldn’t have put a dollar amount on their ruling last summer, but their ruling otherwise was correct.
Consolidation: (A questioner noted that consolidating the 100 smallest districts would save a whopping 2% of the education budget.) Some of the folks from the eastern part of the state need to visit western Kansas; they just don’t understand how long our kids would be on buses if schools consolidated. Most small towns out here, if they lose the school, the town dies. Why not consolidate Wichita?
Although the event was billed as a meet and greet function and not a fundraiser, $1425 was raised from 22 different donors, with more promised.
Sally comes across as somebody you’d like to have as your neighbor – friendly, level-headed, caring. She didn’t have glib, pat sound bites prepared for her audience tonight, but came across as someone who’ll consider input from others to formulate her stance. During the next six months, she’ll need to work hard to garner votes in this vast & vastly conservative 5th district. Last night’s event was a good step along that road as she worked to clarify her stance on the issues.