October 4, 2020

Kristine Furtaw

Pronouns:They/Them
School DistrictRichmond Community School District
City:Richmond

How long have you lived in your district?

23 years

Have you received any endorsements?

Yes

Are you an incumbent?

Yes

Why do you want to be a school board member?

The community recently passed a bond and my professional experience coupled with my experience on the board can be utilized. In addition the board needs experience. I have served one term this would be a re-election. I have worked with over 15 individuals on this board I. The past 5 years – they need consistency more than ever.

What does education justice mean to you? What does it mean specifically in the context of your school district?

Education justice means providing a school district with programs in place to teach students with an equitable distribution of resources for all students. It also encourages restorative practices when a student makes a “wrong choice” allowing learning to continue and not stop due to a poor decision. As a board member i have worked to support restorative justice by supporting in- house suspension, the program has been very successful.

If you could completely reimagine the way schools look after this public health crisis, what would they look like?

No Response Given

Describe how you think parents, students, and families should be involved in making decisions within your school district?

Parents, students and families should be involved in decision making. As a board member it is my responsibility to be available to listen to needs, opinion, and compliments of the district; it is my desire to work cooperatively with parents, students, staff, community and fellow board members.

Who (if any) are your top financial supporters for your campaign?

Self

What are your top 3 educational priorities/goals within your school district?

Teacher shortage – The district over the past few years has had several teachers retire we have an additional large group that are eligible or will be eligible in the near future. The district needs to think of creative ways to encourage new applicants and also work to promote Richmond grads to enter the teaching profession.
Budget – making sure we work within the budget while setting aside money to keep our schools safe for our students and staff.
Curriculum- ensuring students ya have choices including college bound and non- college/career bound students.

What are your top 3 educational priorities/goals at a state level?

Legislation; primarily unfunded mandates. My goal is to stay attune to legislation that effects public schools and stay in communication with legislators in regard to support on non-support of those issues.
Budget; I am a strong advocate for public education. Charter schools and private schools should not be funded with public tax dollars. I will continue to advocate as I have for the past 5 years by attending county legislative meetings and supporting hill days in Lansing to support the value of Public Education and funding of Public Education.
Budget – Public Schools receive funding for students at different rates. Richmond gets the lowest foundation allowance or per pupil funding yet we are still held to the same standards. This needs to change. I will continue to advocate for fair and equitable funding across districts.
Safety- creating a safe environment for our students is important to me and I will be focusing on this as we implement the bond phases.

What challenges do you anticipate this school year to COVID and what do you think your school district must do to keep students & staff safe?

We need to continue to give families choices. I expect challenges will occur as we have positive cases. I also believe we will have issues with social development of students as we do return to in-person education, especially at the elementary level.

What should be your school district’s top spending priorities in their budget? Alternatively, what should not be prioritized your district’s budget?

The top priority is classroom size. Keeping the classroom under 25 is a priority for me. In addition we need to continue to prioritize class selection or choices for our students including CTE, STEAM, Early College and Reading programs.
Low priority are programs with little or no interest and transportation for extracurricular events or paying for special events that only service a small number of students.

What role do you think standardized tests should play in your school district?

I believe we have too many standardized tests. While I understand a need to determine a uniform measurement it is difficult to only rely on standardized testing in ranking faculty or a district. The measurement and standard for testing changes too often and this is simply unfair and not logical then to use to measure overall performance.

If you could have an impact on your school district’s curriculum , what changes would you make? What, if anything, would you keep the same?

I am pleased to have been part of promoting 1:1 technology and would keep this in place. I would encourage a re-introduction to home economics and overall “adulting” life skills including mandatory personal finance and the implications of debt.

What responsibility do you believe your school district has in supporting students’ and staffs’ mental and emotional health/wellbeing?

Providing a safe and inclusive environment should be the goal of every school district.

How do you think your school district should handle student discipline/and make schools a safe place for students and staff?

Student discipline is best handled at the school level and as it escalates it should include escalating restorative practices to curb the behavior. However, I support zero tolerance for personal threats, weapons or drugs on campus.

What are your top priorities around special education in your district?

Inclusion in programs and extracurriculars

What is your perspective on working towards achieving equity within your school district?

Richmond Community Schools strives to provide students with equitable learning opportunities. More training of staff, board and administrators is necessary to truly achieve equity and lessening judgement against persons or groups experiencing inequality.

Any other information you want to include or share?

Please vote. School boards determine policy’s for the district and determine budget priority for the district. Your vote is important to me and I hope you will consider voting for Kristine Furtaw – 2 year term Richmond Community School District Board of Education.