- The Enterprise
- The Recorder
Q Superintendent Michael Martiranoís contract ends this school year after serving two four-year terms. Would you vote to offer him a new contract, or would you look for a new superintendent?
Tomasic: I think you should always take a look at if he wants to stay or go. If he feels there are things he can still do, I think you should always look at options. I think there are some things that have been done well over the past few years. I still think we have some things to go.
The superintendent is supposed to be a visionary leader. I do think he plays a good role with that. ... Thereís always somebody out there better. It depends on how much is it going to cost. But I think generally heís done a pretty good job.
Q Which of the initiatives to serve student academic needs put in place in recent years has been most successful? Which has not?
Tomasic: Itís kind of hard to answer that question. When you go to a school improvement team, and you ask for information on those specific programs, they will not provide it.
Like at Spring Ridge, how much of the scores for reading and math for the whole school were being looked at because of STEM and they wouldnít break it out because they said thatís not the way the state breaks it out, so weíre not breaking it out. I donít think you can really get any of the information on these particular programs.
[Including all of the pathways] I think it only deals with about 10 percent of the whole school population. Out of 18,000 it only gives about a couple thousand kids ... Does that 2,000 actually benefit the rest of the 16,000.
My son was a STEM graduate. There are some people that have kids in there now that wonít send their second kid through. A lot of parents had to find internships ... Some kids say they get board with it because itís the same stuff they did when they were in elementary school or middle school as they did in high school. Itís a lot of work. I question whether or not itís helping the kids.
Q Has the board of education effectively made the case to the county commissioners for adequate funding for the schools?
Tomasic: I donít think so. I think more can be done. Since the money is really allocated by the commissioners and not the board of education, it becomes political. So you have two sides fighting ... ideological differences. What would be the problem with adding a few more dollars in there for supplies and resources that they donít have that teachers are going to have to pull out of their pocket?
We have like 100 trailers out there ... Now that we have put [new school construction] off so much, now weíre gong to pay 10 cents more on the dollar [because of an adjustment in the state to county funding ratio]. So when we had the opportunity to use funds that were coming from everywhere, how are we going to get these buildings done?
Q What issues should be included in diversity training for students and staff?
Tomasic: This was an interesting one, it was brought up at a couple different places. Sexual orientation was brought up [at a PTA council meeting]. Iím not saying sexual orientation [should be in the diversity lessons]. That was brought in because people didnít understand what was being brought out. Teachers even said that they had original stuff and it was changed at the last minute.
Itís something we teach in the Scouts. Itís just simple respect for someone else. Just because you might have a different color skin ... that doesnít mean that you shouldnít be given respect. It should be across the board: simple respect. That goes across everything.
Q Do you think the school board participates in enough public discussion on issues before making decisions?
Tomasic: No, not at all. That was one of the things teachers brought up to some school board members, whatís going on, why is stuff seem like it is rammed through at the last minute, like the [policies related to PTAs and fundraising]. I asked one of the board members one day why there was nothing on the historical tab on [the school boardís meeting website]. And then two weeks later, there was no more historical tab; it had been removed. The historical tab should be there because if you changed something, like the [PTA] policy, you should at least have what it was.
I donít think we have what I would consider frank and open discussions about our education system. I think it is more of a push, hereís what our data is. At least the commissioners have their open forums, but when can you talk to a board of ed member except with your three minutes and they donít respond. Iím not saying more meetings, Iím saying more informative.