In this last of the School Board candidate surveys, we have Seaford School District Board of Education candidates. Actually, make that just one! Even though there is a race, with John Hanenfeld facing Michael Kraft, only one of the candidates responded. I appreciate all the work the candidates took to fill out these surveys. Life is busy, whether you are running for a school board or not. With that being said, I will be coming out with an article later tonight with my endorsements for many races. This respondent will NOT receive an endorsement from me. Why? Read the answers to the survey questions. I don’t expect people to agree with me. In fact, it would make this blog useless if everyone did because there would be no need for it. But everyone is certainly entitled to their opinions.
1) Do you support a parent’s right to opt their child out of the state assessment? Why or why not?
John Hanenfeld: No. As with all issued tests, students are encouraged to partake in this evaluation.
2) Why are you running for a board seat in your district?
Hanenfeld: Here in Seaford, unopposed elections are common place. I served on this Board 2005-2010 three years as President. I waited to the last possible moment to run so the Stakeholders of Seaford could banter over concerns within the District. Without an Election, all would be quiet and no change would occur.
3) What are your thoughts on digital technology in the classroom?
Hanenfeld: I would like to see all classrooms activities are simulcast for all to listen in especially those home absent.
4) With a massive state deficit for FY2018, what are things you think your district can do to save money during this crucial time?
Hanenfeld: Freeze all hiring, line by line cost analysis and trust that our statewide elected officials will not seek a bail out from those who produce.
5) The local teachers union plays a large part in school districts. How do you plan to engage this association in your district?
Hanenfeld: Would do away with Collective Bargaining and adopt Collaborative bargaining techniques.
6) Recently the Christina School District Board of Education passed a policy regarding safety zones in their schools. This gives a uniform process for federal immigration officials in the event they should question or contact an undocumented student whereby the feds would have to consult the Superintendent first. Are you in agreement with this policy? Should the policy go a step further for sanctuary schools?
Hanenfeld: No. Our first priority is the keep our schools safe. If immigration officials believe or suspect that a felon who is undocumented walks the schools hallways, then yes they should have the right to question that individual without being second guessed by the District.
7) Are you in favor of Delaware going through a massive redistricting of their school districts? If it meant you would have to give up your board seat would you be in favor of this?
Hanenfeld: YES! Nearly 7 years ago, Tom Wagner’s office was commissioned to study this and recommended that the State consolidate and that 19 districts are excessive. His office recommended that the State only have three Districts plus one handling all Vo Tech. The savings where $45M annually. In Western Sussex County we have four districts all within 10 miles of each other. The student count is less than most Districts up North.
8) Do you feel students should receive more unstructured learning time/play/recess?
Hanenfeld: Instruction time is critical, so is recess and open air activities. A balance must be established.
9) What are your thoughts on school vouchers where students attending private schools would receive state or federal funding from education budgets to help with tuition costs?
Hanenfeld: The argument that State Dollars should follow the student seems to be the future with the current administration. With what is seen with school choice and Charter Schools on how they capture students from home schools, I could only imagine how Private Schools will then draw from Charters.
10) Many in Delaware feel school board members give what is known as a “rubber stamp” where they automatically vote yes on any action item the district suggests. Do you feel the role of a school board member is to serve the district or the students of the district? Please explain.
Hanenfeld: Complete nonsense with this candidate. The Board sets policy and evaluates the Superintendent for the betterment of all stakeholders in an equitable manner. Ask the tough questions and make hard decisions.
11) Understanding of school finances and funding is crucial to serving on a school board. How much do you understand the different funding sources in education?
Hanenfeld: Served from 2005 – 2010 (three years as Board President) and was a member of the District’s Economic Oversight committee 2012 – 2014.
12) What volunteer experience have you had in traditional Delaware public schools or in the school district you seek to serve?
Hanenfeld: As before served 2005-2010.
13) What do you believe is the biggest challenge facing Delaware students at this time?
Hanenfeld: Parents and guardians. Since a school age child spends 88% of their lives outside the school a good upbringing with an appreciation of education and respect is critical.
14) Can you please discuss your thoughts on special programs and de facto segregation?
Hanenfeld: Inherently with school choice is a form of segregation. Look at the demographic makeup of any charter school as it compares to the market which they serve.