October 6, 2020
School District:Bloomfield Hills School District
How long have you lived in your district?
Have you received any endorsements?
Downtown magazine, Birmingham Bloomfield Democratic Club
Are you an incumbent?
Why do you want to be a school board member?
Public education is the foundation of democracy and these are time of stress for democracy. I wish to offer my diverse perspective and a) give back by driving performance among students of color, low income, Special Education and ELL students b) help to refine and finalize the Strategic plan for students in the district c) help the administration execute the $200 mil school transformation project flawlessly
What does education justice mean to you? What does it mean specifically in the context of your school district?
Fair and equitable access for all students, irrespective of financial ability, whether it be for universal Pre-K, free tutoring or waiver of fees for extra-curricular activities
If you could completely reimagine the way schools look after this public health crisis, what would they look like?
Underperforming students with performance gaps have caught up
Describe how you think parents, students, and families should be involved in making decisions within your school district?
Parents should have transparency to how appointments are made, I would recommend curriculum nites and open-houses
Who (if any) are your top financial supporters for your campaign?
What are your top 3 educational priorities/goals within your school district?
My top three priorities are 1) minimize performance gaps in mandated testing among people of color and low income students 2) setting achievable and measurable SMART goals
What are your top 3 educational priorities/goals at a state level?
1) equitable funding model across districts, 2) growth in funding for public education 3) accountability for scores
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?
My main concern is that we will see a significant decrease in funding allowance in future years
What should be your school district’s top spending priorities in their budget? Alternatively, what should not be prioritized your district’s budget?
We need to focus on mental health funding and resources to ensure kids and staff are not being left behind due to COVID related challenges in instruction
What role do you think standardized tests should play in your school district?
I am not a fan of standardized tests, but it does provide a common base for accountability. I would consider it to be one of many tools, and definitely should not be the only tool used.
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?
Work on continuing to improve equitable inclusion, Focus on ability based classification rather than age based classification.
What responsibility do you believe your school district has in supporting students’ and staffs’ mental and emotional health/wellbeing?
Now more than ever, it is key to support student and staff mental and emotional health and wellbeing
How do you think your school district should handle student discipline/and make schools a safe place for students and staff?
Discipline should be transparent and sensible. There has to be equity in discipline
What are your top priorities around special education in your district?
For Special Ed, we need to ensure practice meets policy and initiatives are properly staffed and appropriately trained
What is your perspective on working towards achieving equity within your school district?
These are challenging but exciting times. I believe that the first step is acknowledgement. The BHS board just passed a resolution to eliminate racism and clearly takes this seriously. I think we also could take other steps like subsidizing field trips or funding afterschool activities for economically challenged students.
Any other information you want to include or share?
My name is Siva Kumar and I’m running for a seat on the non-partisan Board of Education at Bloomfield Hills Schools. I’m driven by a simple goal; to do my part in making BHS a better and more inclusive place for all, regardless of gender, race or orientation. My wife and I have been fortunate that our children received a great education going through Bloomfield Hills Schools and I chose to run because I would like to give back to the community. My priorities are:
1) equitable education for all, including students of color, economically disadvantaged students, Special Education and ELL students
2) ensuring prudent investment of our $200 mil bond recently approved by residents. We need to prioritize spending wisely in a post-Covid world
3) preparing our students for the future by effectively implementing the BHS strategic plan with a focus on mental well being and post high school readiness.
I’m strategy, operations and finance executive with over 30 years of experience in large manufacturing and service organizations where I successfully managed large projects and built up businesses while working with boards to manage interests of multiple stakeholders. I attended Wayne State for an engineering degree and I have an MBA from the Ross School of Business at the University of Michigan.
I pledge to bring my skills in finance and strategy as well as my skills in driving alignment to the BHS Board of Education. Thank you for your vote !
Please reach out to me with your questions at firstname.lastname@example.org or on my website at https://www.skumarforbhschoolboard.com/