Return McKenna, Wilson to school board | NevadaAppeal.com

Return McKenna, Wilson to school board

Nevada Appeal Editorial

With the exception of contentious contract negotiations with teachers, the Carson City School District Board has been overseeing a district operating smoothly despite a number of challenges imposed on it.

Two of its members, John McKenna and Joanna Wilson, have earned our support for a return to what is often a thankless job – McKenna to a fourth term and Wilson to her second.

McKenna brings a sometimes stern, pragmatic accountant’s perspective to the board. While his obviously interest is in good schools and educated students, he’s also a good watchdog on behalf of the taxpayers.

Opposing him in this election is Kim Cohen, an earnest mother of five who has been attending board meetings and studying issues. We like her parents’ approach to the board, but she has a hard time overcoming the depth of experience McKenna brings.

Wilson has proven to be an effective and inquisitive board member in her first term. Also a mother of five, she has master’s and law degrees and headed two parent-teacher associations before being elected to the board without an opponent.

Again, the advantages of an incumbent mean she is better-versed on the district’s issues and challenges than her opponent, Debby Dailey.

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Dailey’s best argument is that the school board needs to be more open to the public and do more to involve parents in decision-making, although she doesn’t have a sure-fire way to do that. (Nor do we.)

Wilson’s worst moment was abruptly ending a meeting at which board members were confronted by frustrated teachers. It was disrespectful to the teachers, but her entire term shouldn’t be judged by that meeting.

The fact is that most parents and most taxpayers pay attention to the schools only when things are going wrong. Not all, because a lot of Carson City parents volunteer in their schools and pay attention to what’s going on. But even with the pressures of No Child Left Behind and several schools on the federal watch list, the general consensus is that education here is moving in the right direction.

McKenna and Wilson can help keep it on track.