Making Democracy Work

School Board Candidates

School Board Candidates

Muncie School Board

Kathy Carey

Status: Challenger

Website URL:

Date of birth: November, 1969

Place of birth: Muncie, IN

Name of spouse:

Number of Children: 1

Education: BS in Criminology (2008) BSU; MBA in Public Administration (2010) University of Phoenix

Occupation: Academic Advisor/Life Skills and Student Success Adjunct at Ivy Tech-Muncie/Anderson Campuses.

Previously sought/held offices: None

Please articulate your stand on public education. How do vouchers and charter schools play into an effective public school system?

After reviewing the many changes in public education, I believe that it was time for me to jump in and offer some assistance in constructing a more well-rounded and diverse educational structure. Working for a community college has taught me about the many changes that are yet to come in higher education. Our students must be prepared to handle these upcoming modifications. College ready students are the new standards that are being implemented. We must make certain that our public school students are ready and capable. I do not find anything wrong with our current standards, but there is always room for improvement. I believe that a parent has a right to send their child to whatever school they believe will be a better fit for them. I have no problems or issues with charter or private schools.

How would you support professional development for teachers to ensure they are prepared to work with the new Indiana standards?

I believe teachers should be given yearly training in the field a technology to keep them up-to-date on the constant changes and growth of our technological world. I would like teachers to gain more skills in working with at-risk students, and to handle their own personal stresses they face at work and home. The technology and at-risk children training should be mandatory courses. For teachers to participate in these mandatory trainings, they should be given the opportunity to select the types of development training Teachers are common-folks who are faced with daily challenges too. Offering coping-skills and/or hands-on activities could be used as an outlet for teachers to escape their daily pressures. Teachers should always be given options that they believe would work best for them as an individual. However, I do believe that teachers would enjoy gaining skills in technology and learning about new challenges with at-risk students.

What criteria would you use to measure the success of a public school?

In the 21 century which we live, students need to be highly skilled in critical-thinking and diverse concepts. Performance-based assemesments should be included in standardarized test. To measure a student's ability, a student should be able to perform presentations, and submit portfolios that focus on their strengths. Today employers are seeking individuals that are capable of succeeding in a technological world where emphasis will be fixated on recall, analysis, comparison, interference, and evaluation. These skills are highly recommended in the world of technology that we live in. Students should also possess high levels of moral character, collaboration, and team-building skills. These types of traits can be measured through the submissions of hands-on projects, and daily assignments. Preparing students in these areas will produce an all-around educated and diverse individual who will be equipped in handling many different responsibilities. These concepts will generate highly diverse and problem-solving thinkers that would be... [Candidate's answer exceeded the word limit]

What kinds of enrichment programs would you support in the public schools--such as arts, music, languages, technology, theater, math or chess club, service learning? How would you evaluate the current programs, and which would you keep?

I support all of the programs listed for students to gain a well-rounded, diverse education. As an academic advisor, the question I ask students often is "What do you love to do?" When a student expresses his/her passion, I often inform that student that you just discovered you true passion. The arts are used as an outlet for students to release their emotions. These courses are highly needed in today's world for a student to cope with the issues they are plagued with. Many of these programs aid students are at-risk students. These programs serve as an outlet for those students who have a hard time with focusing on the academic side of schools. When a at risk students develops a skill on how to play chess, that student has enhanced his/her skill in problem-solving, strategy planning, and discipline. Many of these programs have been removed from schools, and the focus has been place heavily on standardized test. When a student master's one of the skills above, the student not only develops a passion for their art, they gain confidence within themselves to achieve in a world that concentrates on team-building and creating solutions to the problems of the world today. MCS has eliminated many of these programs due to loss of funds to support these programs. In order to keep these programs thriving, grant money will be a dire necessity each year to keep these programs active.

This year the school board made hard choices in closing a school and reassigning students. What are the hard choices the school board will face in the immediate future and what would your contribution be to address them?

Change is very hard for people to accept and embrace. The MCS board will always face some difficult alternatives where some will not agree with the end results. I plan to take note of ALL objectives and seek advisement from experts regarding the issue that has been presented. Please note that making these hard decisions will never be easy, but I hope that making a logical decision for the betterment of our schools will serve as the best decision that will benefit everyone within our community.

Please describe the community activities and/or professional experience that make you especially well qualified to be a school board member.

I started my career in education with MCS by becoming a substitute teacher/teacher aide in 2007. While working at MCS, I was in the process of completing my undergraduate and Master's degree. Currently I am employed with Ivy Tech College as a part-time academic advisor and an adjunct faculty. I teach the Ivy Tech 101 Student Success course. I have been employed with Ivy Tech close to 3 years. I have a passion on coaching students how to survive college and to become successful students. I served as a board member for Inspire Academy for a little over a year. Inspire Academy is a charter school in Muncie. I have served as Vice President of the Industry Neighborhood Association from 2006 through 2011. I have volunteered a couple of times at the Unity Center assisting in teaching Leadership Development skills to students in grades 6-8. I have conducted numerous voter registrations drives, and aided candidates that have views aligned with mine.

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Dave Collins

Candidate chose not to participate in this voter guide.

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Robert "Andy" Warrner

Status: Incumbent

Website URL: http://www.warrner4schoolboard.com

Date of birth: November, 1947

Place of birth: Spring Valley, IL

Name of spouse: Janet McKee Warrner

Number of Children: 5

Education: BS 1969, MA 1972 (Ball State)

Occupation: Retired MCS teacher and current Instructor at BSU

Previously sought/held offices: None

Please articulate your stand on public education. How do vouchers and charter schools play into an effective public school system?

Vouchers and charter schools are here to stay. But they can be an opportunity for the MCS. They challenge us to become better. They force us to be better than we were before they arrived on the scene. For example, two years ago a new charter school opened in Muncie. Eighty students, primarily from two of our elementary schools, transferred to that new school. This led our administrators and staff at those two schools to look at their curricula and their delivery of courses, and then to make changes in how they operated. As a result of these changes, almost half of those students have returned to the MCS. The same is true of our bigger and better high school, which has attracted 104 transfer students from other Delaware County schools. Those transfers represent almost $650,000 of new revenue for the MCS.

How would you support professional development for teachers to ensure they are prepared to work with the new Indiana standards?

The MCS have been preparing our teachers for the new Indiana standards since before they became the official standards. Each of our schools selected teachers and administrators to attend education conferences where they learned what these standards were and how to best meet them in their classrooms. Then these teachers and administrators returned to their own buildings and held in-services in which they shared what they had learned with their fellow educators. For several years our local textbooks have been specially selected to meet Indiana standards and to include materials that help our teachers prepare lessons that meet these standards as well. In addition, our teachers' Ipads and Smartboards include programs that assist in successfully meeting the Indiana standards. As a result our schools are fully prepared for these standards. We will continue our efforts to adjust to any changes that the State of Indiana makes in these standards.

What criteria would you use to measure the success of a public school?

I taught in our local schools before we were evaluated by standardized tests and grades were given by the state. I can assure you that teachers and parents knew which schools were getting the job done without either of those items. A school is successful when it prepares its graduates for the next step in their lives. When students go on to academic success in college, earn licenses from vocational schools, qualify for educational opportunities in the military, and find and hold good jobs, then we have done our job well. I value the reports we received from IU that our students were among the most successful at their campus far more than I worried about some "grade" assigned by a bureaucrat in Indy. The same is true of the reports we received from IVY Tech and the military about the success of our students at their institutions.

What kinds of enrichment programs would you support in the public schools--such as arts, music, languages, technology, theater, math or chess club, service learning? How would you evaluate the current programs, and which would you keep?

The programs we need to offer our students are constantly changing. Programs that I would have considered necessary when I was a student (for example, typing and shorthand) have fallen by the wayside, replaced by programs more appropriate for the Twenty-First Century. Last spring our high schools compiled extensive lists of possible programs (both curricular and extra curricular) and then surveyed all of our secondary students to select as many as they were interested in. From those polling results were created our offerings for the 2014-2015 school year. After the end of the 2015-2016 we will evaluate our offerings, ending some and starting some new ones. The single most important factor in determining a program's future will be the level of student involvement. In effect our students will "vote" when they decide which programs they will participate in and which programs do not meet their needs. At the present time there is no school system in east central Indiana (and few in the entire state) that offer the wide range of opportunities that are offered by the MCS. Some examples of our offerings include four years of five different foreign languages, the largest JROTC program in the state, more sports (including gymnastics), a wide variety of extracurricular clubs, a wide variety of intramural sports, a school planetarium, an award winning marching band, and the largest college credit program in our area, and more. If people believe other programs should be added, they should contact our school with suggestions.

This year the school board made hard choices in closing a school and reassigning students. What are the hard choices the school board will face in the immediate future and what would your contribution be to address them?

There is no doubt that the MCS will continue to face declining revenues in the coming years. Due to a variety of reasons our property tax draw will continue to decline as will our revenue from the state (declining student enrollment).

If we are to avoid cuts in programs or teaching staff, we will have to look elsewhere for cost savings. Many school systems are outsourcing their cafeteria and custodial services. While this has the potential to save millions of dollars each year, it also can have negative side effects. Our health insurance costs are huge and growing rapidly. But attempts to reduce these costs creates added medical expenses for our employees. The MCS staffs all our buildings with nurses and librarians. That may no longer be affordable. It is possible that additional schools may have to be closed, some due to declining enrollment and others to excessive utility costs. My familiarity with our schools and staff and years of experience with our cost containment program will give me a major role in these decisions.

During the 2014-2015 school year we will have to determine our priorities and then decide how to reduce expenses to fund those priorities. Unfortunately we can no longer simply "cut the fat;" we will find ourselves cutting some "meat" as well. But in an era of declining revenue and increased pressure from the state, we have no choice. We must act before others take the choice from our hands.

Please describe the community activities and/or professional experience that make you especially well qualified to be a school board member.

I have been a classroom teacher in Muncie for forty-four years and a member of the MCS Board of Trustees for more than three years. I know our buildings and staff. I am aware of our problems and their possible solutions.

In addition to my connection with the MCS as a teacher, my wife and I were active parents. Our five children attended the MCS from first grade to graduation. We served on numerous committees and worked at many activities while our children were students.

Since my retirement, we have tried to give back to the community that served us and our children. Each Thursday we run a route for Meals On Wheels (keeping us in contact with the elderly of our city) and once a week we spend an afternoon at Longfellow School, working with our youngest students. For years we have volunteered many hours for the Friends of the Muncie Public Library. I have made unpaid presentations to the Kiwanis, the Cornerstone Center, the Sons of the American Revolution, the Center for Creative Aging, and others. These provide me with links to different groups within our community and help me to be aware of its changing needs.

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