Name: Sarah Kate Reilly
Position you are running for: USD 470 Board of Education
Family members (e.g. spouse, children, grandchildren): Married to Dr. Jonathan Hansen and we have four children: daughter, Maley, a seventh-grader; son, Arri, a fifth-grader; daughter, Alola, a third-grader; and daughter, Zadie, a first-grader. Maley attends ACMS and the other three attend Jefferson Elementary. Also, our “Adopted” Cowley College kids — too many to name, but y’all know who you are! Dogs: Bacon and Phog.
How long have you lived in Arkansas City?
Have you served on any boards previously?
Other than high school and college student government and clubs, no.
Why did you choose to run for this position?
I believe in and value quality public education. Advocating for children in the community to ensure they are receiving the highest quality education possible is a civic responsibility I look forward to taking on.
The City of Arkansas City has proposed a land swap adjacent to the bus barn area once Water Treatment Facility construction is complete. What improvements or changes would you like to see in the area?
If the land swap is mutually beneficial to the school district and the city, than I see no reason why that shouldn’t happen.
What do you think should be done about Liberty Cemetery, the small rural cemetery owned by the school district that is northeast of Ark City in Silverdale Township?
The school district should take whatever action necessary to deed the land back to the township of Silverdale. I don’t think the district has any other responsibility to the cemetery, township or county on this matter.
Tax dollars were used to finance the bonds for construction of the new ball fields south of Arkansas City High School. The bonds are still being paid off. Do you think USD 470 should relax policies for these fields to allow more public access?
USD 470 does a good job with the current arrangement. I currently think all the shared athletic facilities are managed well and would like to see a collaborative effort to share athletic facilities between the city, district and college continue.
Do you think the school district should develop some sort of master plan for its facilities and how it will deal with continued changes in its mix of students?
Sure, having a “master plan” for facilities would be ideal, however the district would first need a strategic plan to create a master plan. It would be mutually beneficial in the future for the school district to collaborate with both the city and Cowley College in terms of facilities planning.
In general, do you think it is appropriate to leave a school board position vacant for an indefinite period of time, or should the board of education adopt some sort of time limit or deadline to fill future vacancies?
A full-functioning board is ideal, however following state or national Board of Education polices in regards to filling the position would be preferable to the way the current vacancy was filled.
If the school board has no existing policy on handling vacancies, creating one should be a priority.
If the school district were to add one curriculum or program of study, what would you like it to be?
This question would be a better question to ask educators; they are more aware of the needs of their students than the board members and I value their opinions. I believe that if we are confident enough to put a teacher in the classroom, then we should respect their autonomy, as long as desired outcomes are being met.
Cowley College begins competing in wrestling this year. Are there any new sports or activities you would like to see the middle and high schools participate in, and if so, how would you propose to finance them?
Other than increasing participation in school sports, which I think could easily be accomplished though simple changes to the structure of the physical education classes, I would like to see an expansion of soccer to the middle school. I would like to see the cheer/spirit programs at both schools move away from a solely sideline focus to also being competitive squads.
Both of these programs would require minimal new financing as the facilities are currently existing and the district already employs the coaching staff. Because cheer is not a sport, but an activity, the funds for any new expense could be funded through activity fundraising.
(As a former college swimmer, it is saddening to see such a decent natatorium not being used.)
What is your opinion of the job being done by Superintendent Ron Ballard and his administrative staff? What changes, if any, would you like to see in their approach and/or the school district’s direction?
I currently have had no direct contact with Dr. Ballard. I can speak only to the results of his administration from my perspective as a parent, which I would say are satisfactory.
Is there anything else you would like voters to know about you or why you are seeking this position?
(no answer submitted)
This information was provided by Sarah Kate Reilly, candidate for the USD 470 Board of Education.