Election 2012: Carson City School Board, District 7

Candidates run for a district seat but are voted on by all voters in the city, not just residents of their district.

Occupation: Professional civil engineer

Email: joe@rci-nv.com

Website: www.ElectJoeCacioppo2012.com

Phone: 721-1920

Explain your background and how this qualifies you for the position you are seeking.

I started volunteering and working with the Carson City School District in 1999. I have served on three Bond advisory committees, two Master Plan committees and served as Chair of the 2011 Strategic Advisory Committee.

Being a parent of three children in the District, I work with many teachers and staff at the elementary, middle and high school levels. These interactions expose me to curriculums and programs to include Common Core Standards, Success For All, Accelerated Math and others.

As a civil engineer, I volunteer my time as mentor for the Gifted and Talented Education (GATE) program, West Point Bridge Design competition and Future Cities curriculum. I currently volunteer as a Carson High School Cross Country assistant coach, and volunteer assistant coach for the Carson High School track team.

These experiences allow me to work closely with the Superintendent, District administrators, teachers, and active community members, and give me a strong understanding of District policies and procedures to include collective bargaining, DSA funding, finances and budgeting, and programming. I have a unique understanding of School District operations and policies. I understand what works well and what needs improvement to ensure effective education of our students.

What are the top 3 issues facing the school board, what should be done to resolve them?

The top three issues facing the Carson City School District include budgeting, student retention and educational programming. The following will help resolve these issues:

Budgeting: In recent years, the District has experienced a funding decrease from $6,600 to approximately $5,800 per student. The Ending Fund Balance decreased from $17.2M to $11.2 million at fiscal 2012 end. By fiscal 2013 end, the balance will drop to $6 million. Nevada statutes require the District to maintain a balance of 4 percent of its operating budget. 8.3 percent of the budget, or $4.3 million, is safe from collective bargaining. Since the gap between revenue and expenses is a deficit of $6 million, the District must make adjustments to operate with a positive cash flow and maintain the minimum required balance.

To resolve this, we must first not let the Ending Fund Balance drop below $4.3 million. A higher balance would be subjected to collective bargaining. That portion should instead be used to improve programs that directly impact students. Eliminating the gap between revenue and expenses is accomplished by implementing alternative energy and higher efficiency usage. Additionally, we must reduce administrative expenditures through advanced use of

technology, and consolidate staff workloads through early retirement incentives and fair, comprehensive evaluations.

Student Retention: In recent years the student population has been reduced. Reasons vary from families leaving the area to families seeking alternative education opportunities. We must recognize what the District does well and what can be improved. We must evaluate our delivery systems and ensure their effectiveness. We must ensure our students are given the tools to master writing, mathematics and other core curriculums, while also continuing to offer and improve extracurricular activities such as arts, sports and CTE. If done responsibly, this can generate revenue.

Educational Programs: Educational programs such as Success For All are under scrutiny. We must improve research of existing and potential programs, and improve our ability to assess these programs and make adjustments when needed. Quality teachers should be instrumental in this process. No program will satisfy all needs. We must trust our quality teachers and allow them to make adjustments to these programs to maximize student learning and success. When adjustments aren't enough, teachers and administrators must work together to make necessary changes. This must be an active, ongoing process that allows our students to achieve at rates surpassing other states.

Why should voters choose you over the other candidates?

Fourteen years experience has taught me how to actively research programs and ask the difficult questions to ensure we have accountability and intelligent, informed discussions so well thought out decisions are made. I will work hard to improve our students academic standing and growth through a fiscally responsible and sustainable educational delivery system.

It is important that the School District works closely with the community to introduce students to a variety of educational and career paths. Community partnerships will help reduce costs and increase student retention by showing students how their academics are applied to various career paths.

I will remain active in the School District through my ongoing volunteer efforts. I will work diligently as a School Board Trustee to listen to the concerns of our community and work together to ensure success for our students.

Occupation: Administrative Assistant II, for the Nevada, Department of Health and Human Services, Division of Child and Family Services, in Juvenile Justice Services.

Email: electalicem@yahoo.com

Phone: 230-9893

Explain your background and how this qualifies you for the position you are seeking.

I have lived in Nevada for 31 years, the last 11 in Carson City. For many of these I worked in Nevada mining while attending night classes at Old College and UNR. When we started a family, I decided to work part-time and was able to secure employment with the Carson City School District and the Ron Wood Center. In these jobs I did what I love, working to help youth. That continued with my return to full-time employment with the state's Juvenile Justice Services.

I have done extensive volunteer work with the school and community. I am currently a member of the Carson City School District Family Living Committee, helping to determine what youth will be taught about family and individual responsibility. While much of my community work has been with the Boy Scouts of America, I have also volunteered with the Seeliger Elementary School G.A.T.E.S. and Special Needs Programs. I also spent two years as a volunteer zero-hour teacher at Hug High School, one year as a once-a-week teacher for a home school program and helped out as a teacher's assistant at Eagle Valley Middle School.

What are the top 3 issues facing the school board, what should be done to resolve them?

The most important issue is the budget. Although we had a surplus of over $15 million in the recent past, in the 2013-2014 school year, we will be about $5 million short. Part of this was due to the school board not wishing to break the teachers contract. To do so would have opened up what savings we had to the teacher's Union. This has happened in California and depleted savings. Well, we are now broke. As I have mentioned before, many people only see two types of solution. The A solution is to fire teachers. The B solution is to raise taxes. I think that we have already lost enough good teachers. I also think that many of us have suffered so much financially that we really cannot afford more taxes. What I am suggesting are C and D solutions. That is something kind of uncomfortable, that will let us get through, but when things get better will be ended. Something like four-day school weeks, having parents pay some of the class fees, advertising on buses etc. I prefer these over taxes, as I have yet to see a tax rescinded when it is no longer needed.

The second issue is teachers. We need a way to fairly reward those teachers who are doing well, and if possible get rid of those who are simply not teaching. I realize that there are many really good teachers who are dealing with difficult-to-teach students. Some of the best teachers are given these students simply because they are good teachers. What I am talking about are those teachers, who other teachers warn their friends about. All school districts have them, and a process should be in place to allow them to find other employment.

Finally, we need to engage the youth. Hands-on classes with real-world relevance are needed. Carson High currently has some excellent Vocational and Technical classes. These appeal to many, not just those who are not planning on going on to college. Not all students learn in the same way. This is where Montessori and other nontraditional schools excel. Allowing students to learn in ways other than in a classroom is essential. Our goal should be to excite them into staying, with classes that provide real-world possible employment opportunities.

Why should voters choose you over the other candidates?

When I worked in mining, my free time was spent working with youth. When we started our family, that interest became full time. All youth need to have a hope that they can accomplish something for themselves and their families. Sometimes those with the greatest challenges have the greatest need to feel hope. I have worked with those who excel, and also with those who have had physical, mental, emotional or economic challenges. As a crossing guard, I stood out in subzero weather because those children needed protecting. In Cub-camp, I worked with children who had ADHD so bad no other leader wanted them. I'm running for the school board for the students, all of the students. I want to make sure that they have a chance. That does not mean giving them everything. But it does mean being honest with them. I will honestly work for our children.


Use the comment form below to begin a discussion about this content.

Sign in to comment