Candidate questionnaire: Kyle McDonald

Friday, March 23, 2012

NAME: Kyle McDonald

AGE: 43

PLACE OF BIRTH: Charleston, South Carolina

SPOUSE, CHILDREN'S NAMES:

Amy McDonald - Director of Cape Public Schools Foundation

Madeleine McDonald - Freshman at Cape Central High School

Allison McDonald - 5th grade at Cape Middle School

OCCUPATION:

Agent/Owner of Farmers Insurance- McDonald Insurance Agency, LLC

EMPLOYER:

Farmers Insurance- McDonald Insurance Agency, LLC

BUSINESS OWNED, ALL OR PART:

McDonald Insurance Agency, LLC

PREVIOUS OFFICES HELD OR SOUGHT:

Have been on Cape Public Schools Board of Education for past 6 years. Have held the position of President for 2 years and Vice President for 1 year.

WHY DID YOU VOTE FOR/AGAINST THE DRESS CODE PROPOSAL?

As an elected member of the Board of Education, it is our responsibility to listen to the concerns of the citizens and to make adjustments accordingly, while at the same time determining what is best for the students and the district as a whole, so as to improve the learning environment for all students. I voted for an amended dress code proposal for 2 reasons:

1) I felt that a more objective and enforceable dress code was needed so that teachers and administrators could more consistently enforce appropriate dress within our schools, so that valuable school hours could be utilized to educate our children more effectively rather than being spent disciplining students for wearing subjectively-determined, inappropriate clothing.

2) I supported the amended dress code proposal because it was a good compromise between what the dress code committee had initially presented to the public and what the public forums and communication with the Board of Education revealed as points of contention.

The adopted policy allows for more objective enforcement of a dress code while allowing the parents and students to know what is acceptable and not acceptable to be worn during school hours and at school functions, while at the same time allowing for the individuality and the comfort of all students.

WHAT ACTION WILL YOU TAKE TO HELP REPAIR A HURT RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN SOME PARENTS AND THE SCHOOLS CAUSED BY THE DRESS CODE ISSUE?

I believe that the adopted policy is a good compromise between what was presented by the dress code committee to the public and what changes the citizens of Cape Girardeau requested. This compromise has done a lot to repair the initial "hurt feelings" of the public. On several occasions it was stated that the proposed "uniform" dress code was a "done deal". But as the public can plainly see by watching the recorded Board meeting, it was far from a "done deal". The review and revisions of the proposed policy showed that the Board takes its role seriously and does listen to the concerns and requests of the public; whether for or against a particular issue.

THE NUMBER OF CENTRAL HIGH SCHOOL STUDENTS GOING TO A 4-YEAR UNIVERSITY OR COLLEGE HAS DROPPED BY NEARLY 15 PERCENT SINCE 2008. WHAT CAN A SCHOOL BOARD DO TO ADDRESS THAT?

While it is the role of the Board of Education to make certain that the curriculum and programs offered by the district's schools provides a comprehensive and preparatory education to the district's students so that they are prepared for a future post-secondary education or career, it is not our role or responsibility to make sure that every student attends a post-secondary school. All we can do is emphasize the benefits of such an education through counselors and programs and hope that after graduation the students will pursue additional opportunities for advancing their education for improving their opportunities of getting better employment.

Since 2008 the United States economy has taken a huge decline. This decline has limited the amount of money, either from family savings or from grants and loans, previously available to graduating students. This decreased funding has caused many students to enter the workforce immediately after graduation rather than attending a post-secondary school so that they could save money for their future education or help their family make ends meet.

WHAT DO YOU SEE AS THE MOST PRESSING NEED IN THE SCHOOL DISTRICT?

There are a few pressing items that need to be addressed within our school district:

1) Improving the high school graduation rate - The educational opportunities being offered at Cape Public Schools is second to none in our area. Students that graduate from CHS are able to compete for employment and university positions along side some of the best students in the US. However, I believe that we need to do a better job of getting all students engaged in the education process. There are too many students that simply "fall through the cracks" or are not interested in graduating. We, as a school district, need to find ways to get those students active in their education and to see that by graduating, their futures are brighter and more productive with a high school diploma than without.

2) Continuing the district-wide facilities plan - With the passing of the $40 Million bond issue 2 years ago, the district has made great strides in improving the educational facilities and opportunities available to our students. But this is only the beginning. There are still areas where we need to improve (i.e. renovating the Jr High School). We need to make sure that this improvement plan is maintained so that the district does not again find itself in a position where such drastic improvements are needed in such a short amount of time, especially in light of the cuts in State and Federal funding for education. The plan in place will assure this need is taken care of, but it will take the continued support of the citizens of Cape Girardeau.

3) Improving the relationship between the School District and the community - The dress code issue showed two things. First that the citizens of Cape Girardeau care about what goes on in their public schools and are willing to fight for what they believe in. And second, that through better communication and involvement with the community we will become a more effective and successful school district for educating our children. But I would like to see more community involvement in the normal operations and activities of the district and not just when there is an emotional topic being discussed or decided on. We should be involved at all levels of the district, whether it is at a local school level (i.e. the PTO/PTA, Booster clubs, athletic teams, etc.) or on a district wide level (i.e. the Board of Education). The more involvement we have in our schools the better they are for all children and for our community. And that is why I am continuing my bid to serve on the Cape Girardeau Public School District #63 Board of Education.

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