Sunday, September 7

Fields and Shaw Offer Most Progressive Voices for School Board

For the typical 4% of voters who typically make it to the polls to determine who will represent their interests (and their tax dollars--which are far more than the budgets for the local communities), Patti Fields and Michael Shaw offer the most populist/progressive view of how our schools should be run.

As Iowa City Community schools continue to become more diverse, supports are needed to help students who did not start their schooling here to be successful, as well as keeping the standards of education high for all. Patti Fields and Michael Shaw understand the importance of both these goals.

Patti Fields is the incumbent in the race and serves on the board's legislative and communication committees. She is the director of community impact at the United Way of Johnson County and was appointed by Gov. Culver on July 1 to the Iowa Commission on Volunteer Service. Patti and her husband Jeffrey, also have two children in the district. She grew up in Solon and has lived in Iowa City for 16 years.

Michael Shaw has worked in the school system as a coordinator of the Family Resource Center at Grant Wood elementary school and has children in the schools as well. His work as a social worker has prepared him to address the whole child need that has become the charge of schools today. He is running on a platform of responsible school growth, safe and healthy schools, and school/family connections. From having worked with Michael in the past, I know he will be a strong advocate for families on the school board.

Under the leadership of Toni Cilek, the school board managed to have a bond issue passed that the state was able to turn into a permanent sales tax. No one can disagree that more funding for the schools is important, but the purpose of the SILO was to improve structures. With the funding going to the general fund, who knows where it will go?

We need thoughful elected representatives on the board, particularly with the terms sent to increase to four years in the 2009 election cycle.

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