The Raymore Chamber of Commerce offers the community an invaluable service in organizing the candidate forum for the Ray-Pec School Board candidates. The City Hall chambers was packed with constituents who wanted to hear what the candidates had to say about why they should be elected. The moderator, Brent Ewert, gave a brief biography of each of the candidates before asking the questions. There were a total of three questions that each of the 7 board candidates were asked. They were allowed 1 minute responses and were kept to that time limit by the time keeper, Robin Noe. They were allowed an additional 1 minute for a closing statement.
Patrick Clark – He moved to Raymore 8 years ago specifically for the school system. He is self employed. He wants to make sure the children have a safe environment, confirm teachers have tools for the class room, and represent patrons to the board.
Paul Coffman – He comes from a family of educators. He has lived in Peculiar for 27 years and all 4 of his children have graduated from the Ray-Pec school district. He played professional football for the Green Bay Packers.
Ruth Johnson – She has served for 4 years on the school board and has been a citizen of the district for more than 20 years. Three of her 4 children have graduated from Ray-Pec and the youngest is currently in high school.
Bill Lowe – He has lived in the district for 7 years and is a Sergeant with the Missouri State Highway Patrol. He believes that when a school district provides a high level of education for students, the whole community benefits. He wants to help guide the school district to excellence.
Donna Nuccio – A mother of 2 Ray-Pec graduates, she has lived in the district for 23 years. She is a member of the Raymore Chamber of Commerce and works as a financial advisor as well as a teacher of finance to local school districts.
Collin Stosberg – He currently has 2 kids in the Ray-Pec school district and has lived in the district for 15 years. He is a Public Information and Education Officer for the Missouri State Highway Patrol. He is a member of the Ray-Pec School Safety Task Force and a Panther Jammers basketball coach. He also helped in the implementation of the WATCH DOG program for the school district.
Kim York – She has 2 kids in the Ray-Pec school district and has lived in the district for 13 years. Her background is in finance and is the current school board President. She has also served on the Ray-Pec Public School Foundation board.
Question 1 – With the ever growing gap in the skilled, manual workforce reaching across the nation, how do you plan to meet this need throughout the Ray-Pec school system, and how early do you think this should start?
Patrick Clark – He believes that it should start as early as kindergarten and that students should move through the school system challenged. He wants to see high goals set in math and science. He thinks that sports and fine arts are important to rounding out a person.
Paul Coffman – He grew up hearing that you don’t teach children things, you teach them how to learn. He believes the Ray-Pec school system has done a good job of that. He also likes that the school board has stayed on the cutting edge of new technology. He would like to see better pay to ensure that the district has teachers who are passionate about their work and who know the requirements needed to prepare students for either higher education or entering the workforce.
Ruth Johnson – She stated that Ray-Pec is already addressing this issue with programs they currently have. Cass Career, Summit Tech, Project Lead the Way, and the new culinary program are all geared toward having students ready after graduation to enter the workforce with a skill. They are also working on a program that will allow a high school student to have earned an associates degree by the time they graduate.
Bill Lowe – The school system has to provide a way for students who are not college bound to learn a skill that is marketable. Cass Career is a fantastic way for those students to engage in the learning process.
Donna Nuccio – She believes that it is never too early to expose children to different career paths. She thinks that Take Your Child to Work Day is a good way to get a view of the working world. She would encourage internships and work release programs. They need to be given real world knowledge to be ready to enter the workforce including teaching them how to dress and speak appropriately for a working environment.
Collin Stosberg – He thinks that the current learning standards that Ray-Pec uses makes graduates college and career ready. His children have been successful in the school system. He wants to continue to support the school district staff, teachers, and students as they strive for excellence in the implementation of the learning standards by which the state measures success.
Kim York – She referred back to the school district’s mission statement: preparing each student for a successful and meaningful life. She believes that the beginning of that process is teaching the basics to every student and then providing opportunities for different paths for students. She said that while she has been on the board she has tried to provide a balance of opportunities to the students.
Question 2 – Now that science shows children learn differently, how would you support curriculum designed to address the needs of different learning styles?
Patrick Clark – He noted that research shows that effective school boards have a direct impact on student achievement through expectations and policies that the board sets. He does not believe in micro-managing teachers, but rather allow them the freedom to develop their own lesson plans and conduct learning in the classroom. He said that Ray-Pec has the most talented pool of teachers and that he wants to re-examine the salary and benefit package to help teachers do their job better.
Paul Coffman – He thinks that policies need to be put in place as well as providing equipment and technologies that support the teachers that put them in positions to succeed. He believes that it is the job of the board to support the teachers and principals so they can in turn help the kids be successful.
Ruth Johnson – She wants to see more professional development and resources they need to make adjustments in the classroom for the different types of learners. She says that Ray-Pec has excellent teachers who give 110%. She also noted that some policies are mandated to the school board by the state and federal governments and they limit what can be done.
Bill Lowe – He said that teachers should not be micro-managed and be forced to teach a certain way. He thinks that teachers should be allowed to be creative to reach the students.
Donna Nuccio – She would like to see the onuses given back to the teachers. They know the kids and the school board should allow them to be creative in their teaching. Let the teachers do what they love to do – teach.
Collin Stosberg – He thinks that Ray-Pec has done a great job of adapting to the changing curriculum and learning standards. Public education for everyone and the school board needs to make sure that teachers have everything they need to make sure students succeed.
Kim York – She said that is part of what are teachers already do. They provide a great deal of individualized learning. She also believes that the district’s focus on technology has also helped tremendously with individualized learning.
Question 3 – Do you believe the Ray-Pec school district has a drug problem, and if so, how should it be addressed?
Patrick Clark – He thinks that the drug issue is largely a misuse of prescription drugs. He wants to see more cooperative efforts between school counselors and law enforcement. He also believes that parents need to be involved in solving the issue.
Paul Coffman – He believes it is a societal issue and that the district should work with local law enforcement. He wants the district to be more proactive with drug issues.
Ruth Johnson – She believes that because society has a drug problem, it is reflected then in the schools. She also noted that the district cannot fix what it cannot control and the problem seeps in from the outside. She said what they can do is teach kids at a young age that it is a wrong choice.
Bill Lowe – He was hesitant to use the word problem because he does not see it permeated throughout the whole school system. He thinks the schools should partner with outside agencies to provide a mental health professional on site.
Donna Nuccio – She would like see something like safe zones for kids who are considering drugs so they could talk to someone. She thinks that counselors should connect with doctors and show real visuals of what happens to a body with continued drug use.
Collin Stosberg – He thinks that it is a problem in every community. He wants to see the school district build relationships with families and every age group so that when problems do arise there is an open line of communication to solve the problem. Education needs to happen at every age level and the district needs to be proactive instead of reactive to the situation.
Kim York – She agrees that there is a problem but that the heart of the issue is not the drugs themselves, but the lack of ability to handle the difficulties that life brings. She would like to see more support for providing mental health support.
Patrick Clark – He believes that his 14 years of experience of managing staff and projects will be valuable to the board as well as his passion for the fine arts. He wants to contribute to the school district.
Paul Coffman – He has volunteered as a coach and done multiple fundraising events for the district. He has a passion for the kids to succeed. He wants to approach this experience as a team effort among the community, schools, and board.
Ruth Johnson – She has been very active as a board member and will continue to do so if elected. She is an advocate with legislators on behalf of the school district and has organized a coalition of Cass County schools to have a voice when it comes to state decisions that affect schools.
Bill Lowe – He wants to be part of developing individuals and teams to serve in the district. He wants to provide avenues of success to students so they can become productive, positive citizens in whatever community they land in.
Donna Nuccio – She believes that a successful school board should be comprised of a variety of educational and vocational backgrounds. She wants to commit her skills, talents, and experience to serve the school district.
Collin Stosberg – He believes this is his opportunity to give back to a school system that has provided his children with great success.
Kim York – She believes that in order for a school district to be successful, there must be trust and faith in the school board and it is up to the board to earn that trust. She believes that the success of the students should be at the heart of every decision the board makes.