2018 General Election Candidate Forum: Millard School Board

The League of Women Voters of Greater Omaha held a moderated candidate forum for the candidates for Metropolitan Community College Board of Governors, District 3. The candidates in this nonpartisan race are David Anderson, Stacy Jolley, Mike Kennedy and Dulce Sherman.

You can watch all our candidate forums and see all of our 2018 elections info under “2018 ELECTIONS” on our home page.

The League of Women Voters of Greater Omaha is a nonpartisan organization that never supports or opposes any candidate for office or political party. LWVGO’s mission is to inform and empower voters.

Voters’ Guide: Douglas County West Board of Education

The League of Women Voters of Greater Omaha contacts candidates during each election cycle and invites them to participate in the print and online editions of the Voters’ Guide. Candidates provide their biographical information and their positions on selected issues. Candidates are aware in advance that the biographies and answers will be printed exactly as submitted without edits for content, spelling, punctuation or grammar.

The League of Women Voters is a nonpartisan organization that never supports or opposes any political party or candidate for office.

PDF of Douglas County Voters’ Guide | Find voter information specific to your ballot at vote411.org.

Find your district by looking up your voter registration on the Nebraska Voter Check website.

Candidates for Douglas County West Board of Education

Kelly Hinrichs (R):  No response received.

Jamie Jorgensen (NP):  Unable to reach candidate.

Bill Koile, Jr. (NP):  Education: BS — Northwest Missouri State University (2000),  MS — Clarkson College (2008),  MBA — University of Colorado (2020).  Volunteer experience: Board President — DC West Youth Sports,  Gretna Volunteer Fire Department — Assistant Chief (past)

Patrick McCarville (D):  Unable to reach candidate.

Tristan C. Nelson (R):  No response received.

Amanda Wright (D):  No response received.

Douglas County West Board of Education Candidates’ Responses

If elected, what two things do you hope to have accomplished by the end of your first year?

Kelly Hinrichs:  No response received.

Jamie Jorgensen:  Unable to reach candidate.

Bill Koile, Jr.:  I believe that the work the current board has undertaken in the past has laid ground work to further improve the community and the education our youth receive. They keep professional development opportunities for the staff at the forefront to assure the students of the best instruction possible. I would continue to strengthen both of these initiatives.

Patrick McCarville:  Unable to reach candidate.

Tristan C. Nelson:  No response received.

Amanda Wright:  No response received.

How can schools use technology to create better equity and educational outcomes?

Kelly Hinrichs:  No response received.

Jamie Jorgensen:  Unable to reach candidate.

Bill Koile, Jr.:  DC West has already taken steps to be on the leading edge of technology for our students in the rapidly changing world of education and have received national attention for their success with robotics and the STEM programs offered to the youth. The district needs to maintain this momentum.

Patrick McCarville:  Unable to reach candidate.

Tristan C. Nelson:  No response received.

Amanda Wright:  No response received.

What can be done to ensure the safety of students and teachers in our schools?

Kelly Hinrichs:  No response received.

Jamie Jorgensen:  Unable to reach candidate.

Bill Koile, Jr.:  Safety should be a priority, not only from a external perspective but also from an internal perspective.  Every student, staff member and support personnel  should feel safe coming to school. Programs to promote kindness/inclusiveness should continue and the relationship between DC West, the Valley Police Department and the Douglas County Sheriffs Office should be strengthened.

Patrick McCarville:  Unable to reach candidate.

Tristan C. Nelson:  No response received.

Amanda Wright:  No response received.

Voters’ Guide: Millard School Board

The MPS Board of Education creates policies and rules and helps the district implement our Strategic Plan.  This site includes current and archived board agendas, audio recordings of board meetings, upcoming schedule of meetings and policies & rules.  — from the board’s website

The League of Women Voters of Greater Omaha contacts candidates during each election cycle and invites them to participate in the print and online editions of the Voters’ Guide. Candidates provide their biographical information and their positions on selected issues. Candidates are aware in advance that the biographies and answers will be printed exactly as submitted without edits for content, spelling, punctuation or grammar.

The League of Women Voters is a nonpartisan organization that never supports or opposes any political party or candidate for office.

PDF of Douglas County Voters’ Guide | Find voter information specific to your ballot at vote411.org.

Find your district by looking up your voter registration on the Nebraska Voter Check website.

Candidates for Millard Board of Education

David M. Anderson (R):  Web Site: http://Facebook Page  “Dave Anderson for Millard School Board”.  Current Public Office, dates held: Millard Schools Board of Education 2007 – Current.  Past Public Office, dates held: None. Education: MBA – University of Arizona BSBA – University of Nebraska at Omaha.  Military experience: None.  Volunteer experience: Board of Directors service with: Millard Board of Education, Millard Schools Foundation, Nebraska Association of School Boards, Omaha Childrens Museum, Goodwill Industries, Divine Shepherd Lutheran Church, Omaha Chamber of Commerce Small Business

Stacy Jolley (D):  Web Site: http://www.stacyjolley.com/.  Current Public Office, dates held: Millard Public Schools Board of Education, Feb 2018 – present.  Past Public Office, dates held: n/a.  Education: University of Nebraska – Lincoln, Bachelor of Science in Business Administration;  Marketing major; Communications and Psychology minors;  Study abroad at Oxford University – Economics.  Military experience: n/a.  Volunteer experience: Weekly volunteer for MPS for 14 years.  MPS Foundation Pres., classroom volunteer, PTO Pres., District Cmtes, etc., Girl Scout Leader, Asst Cubmaster, YMCA bball coach, Harvey Oaks HOA Membership chair, FRIENDS/Stuttering conference organizer, etc.

Mike Kennedy (R):  Web Site: http://parentsformikekennedy.com.  Current Public Office, dates held: Millard School Board 2003 to Present, City of Omaha Library Board 2015 to Present, City of Omaha Omaha Naming Committee 2014 to Present.  Past Public Office, dates held: Metro Community College Board, 1999 to 2002, Omaha Charter Review Committee 2014.  Education: University of Nebraska at Omaha Bachelors of Science Political Science, Creighton University School of Law Juris Doctorate.  Military experience: None.  Volunteer experience: Boy Scouts of America, Millard Public Schools, Various local charities.

Dulce Sherman  (D):  http://www.Sherman4MPSBoard.com.  Current Public Office, dates held: Not currently.  Past Public Office, dates held: None.  Education: Graduate Certificate Program, Organization Development, Fielding Graduate Institute, Master of Arts degree, Management, Bellevue University, Bachelor of Science degree, Human Resources Management, Bellevue University.  Military experience: Not applicable.  Volunteer experience: Latino Center of the Midlands Board,  Women’s Fund Circles, Millard Foundation Board,  2018 Women’s Center for Advancement Honoree, Latinx Caucus Chair & Executive Board, NDP, Latino Rep & Executive Board, Douglas County, Healthcare Sector Board.

Millard Board of Education Candidates’ Responses

If elected, what two things do you hope to have accomplished by the end of your first year?

David M. Anderson:  I have served for 12 years up to this point.  I hope to utilize only a small portion of the levy override authority given to the board of education in the latest levy override election recently passed by Millard voters, while being able to maintain current diverse curriculum offerings.  I also hope to continue to grow community collaborations with other organizations who are in-line and can help support the mission of Millard Schools.  A example of this would be the opening of Boys/Girls Club.

Stacy Jolley:  We need to maximize every dollar in our budget in light of another $2M+ shortfall from the state. With this being a yearly event, we need to examine every program to make sure it passes a cost/benefit analysis. We have to preserve the amazing opportunities in our district while being mindful of our taxpayers’ needs. I also want to work on getting more parents into our middle schools. Increased parent engagement at that level will translate into higher scores and student engagement.

Mike Kennedy:  I have served on the Millard School Board for the past 16 years.  If reelected, I would like to continue to work on the district’s finances and improve our programs the make sure our children are college and/or career ready. The Board of Education has been a good steward of the district’s finances and we have improved our children’s test scores.  My experience on the Board of Education will help us in achieving these goals during the next 4 years.

Dulce Sherman:  I will host “town hall” discussions with all stakeholders (students, parents, teachers, unions, board, PTO) to introduce myself, create two-way dialogue and listen to their feedback.  I will discuss and begin building a new creative funding strategy.  We have relied too much on our property taxes. With the changing demographics, it’s time we come up with new ideas, build partnerships with our legislature, and community to keep all funding in our public schools.

How can schools use technology to create better equity and educational outcomes?

David M. Anderson:  Technology is a tool for instruction and not the end all.  Technology allows for a cost efficient and effective way to teach curriculum and track educational outcomes.  Technology is used in all aspects of running the Millard Public schools and our students have embraced it throughout the experience in Millard.

Stacy Jolley:  Putting devices in kids’ hands is not the end, it’s the means. For kids w/o access to tech, this helps level the playing field and sends the learning home. Using district-provided devices, students take MAP tests 3x/year. With instant scores, teachers can address kids’ knowledge gaps in real time. New software creates an individualized lesson based on MAP scores, which allows every kid to get exactly what they need. It keeps kids from slipping through the cracks with gaps in their learning.

Mike Kennedy:  During my tenure on the Millard School Board we have dramatically improved our students access to technology and its use in our classrooms. Our “One to One” computer program has been successfully implemented at the Middle and High School level and we will now tackle the issue in the elementary schools.  All of our children has access to current technology and our curriculum has been adapted to reap the benefits that technology offers our students. Our teachers really do a great job.

Dulce Sherman:  Technology plays an important role in “access to education”.  However, we need to provide internet access to all students.   Social media is playing a bigger role in ease of communication.  We rely too much on social media at times by replacing the face to face communication.  Some student households may not have access to the internet, social media or a cell phone.  Therefore, we need to ensure all students are receiving the necessary communication.

WHAT CAN BE DONE TO ENSURE SAFETY OF STUDENTS AND TEACHERS IN OUR SCHOOLS?

What can be done to ensure the safety of students and teachers in our schools?

David M. Anderson:  Millard has focused and expended significant resources to address safety in our schools over the past 5 years. We have made significant improvements for safety thru physical and technology security measures.  We have worked in conjunction with law enforcement on all school building plans and have been through a variety of audits and reviews around those plans.  We have been commended and recognized as a leader around safety planning for schools.

Stacy Jolley:  We must focus on the social/emotional needs of our students. Years ago, kids came to school with fewer worries, less stress, and fewer adverse life events. In today’s world, many of our students struggle with anxiety, depression, and life upheaval. What used to be assumed, now must be taught. Teaching kindness, respect, and personal responsibility will go a long way toward making our schools safer, happier, and more productive. We have secure buildings; we must focus on reaching kids’ hearts.

Mike Kennedy:  Since the shooting at Millard South, our community and the Board of Education has made a strong commitment to school safety.  As a member of the school board, I supported and campaigned for the upgrades at our buildings to make our schools safer.  These included securing our entrances, adding cameras, adding doors to open classrooms and making sure our staff is properly trained in safety protocols. I will work to continue to review our safety plan and update it as necessary.

Dulce Sherman:  Early adolescent assessment would help us understand what is happening in a child’s life.  It may help identify children at risk and the ability to “proactively” intervene with the necessary Community Resources if the School is unable to provide the necessary resources like counseling.  However, keeping a pulse of student’s morale is important.  As a Human Resources leader, I am accustomed to holding organizational discussions to understand the pulse and creating remedies to address concerns.

What role, if any, should charter schools have in the Nebraska educational system?

David M. Anderson: I am not a proponent of Charter schools.  We have great private schools in Nebraska already thru religious affiliations.  I am a strong advocate for public education and do not want to see monies re-distributed away from public schools.  We are lucky in Nebraska as we have great public schools districts.  In Omaha, families can not make a bad decision as to where to send their children to a public school.  The research is mixed as to the effect of charter schools.  I do not believe we need them.

Stacy Jolley:  No tax dollars should be spent on charter schools. It is the government’s responsibility to educate ALL children. By extension, it is the taxpayer’s responsibility to educate ALL children. Therefore, no tax dollars should be spent on any school that can turn children away due to ability. Charter schools siphon off money meant for all and channel it to the chosen few. No tax dollars should be spent enriching a for-profit school. Data shows they don’t do better and they rob others of funding.

Mike Kennedy:  I am not a supporter of independent charter schools.  I believe school districts have the ability to create programs of excellence like we have in Millard.  If there are issues with a school district’s quality, it is up to the State of Nebraska and the community members to improve their schools.  Using the word “charter” in a school does not guarantee that a school will provide a quality education.

Dulce Sherman:  I believe we need to keep an open mind to new ideas.  Charter schools is one idea that has had some success in other States.  Nebraska doesn’t have any laws in place to govern Charter Schools.  Therefore, I do not support Charter schools.  I believe in keeping all funding in our Public Schools.

Voters’ Guide: Gretna Board of Education

The League of Women Voters of Greater Omaha contacts candidates during each election cycle and invites them to participate in the print and online editions of the Voters’ Guide. Candidates provide their biographical information and their positions on selected issues. Candidates are aware in advance that the biographies and answers will be printed exactly as submitted without edits for content, spelling, punctuation or grammar.

The League of Women Voters is a nonpartisan organization that never supports or opposes any political party or candidate for office.

PDF of Douglas County Voters’ Guide | Find voter information specific to your ballot at vote411.org.

Find your district by looking up your voter registration on the Nebraska Voter Check website.

Candidates for Gretna Board of Education

Jennifer Bullington (R):  http://www.facebook.com/bullingtonforschoolboard.  Education: Bachelors Degree from Iowa State University, Masters Degree from Pacific Oaks College.  Military experience: Spouse of Air Force Veteran.  Volunteer experience: Board Member for the nonprofit Survivors Rising, Teaching Assistant for a Taekwondo kids class, Room Parent at Whitetail Creek Elementary School, Active Gretna Community Member

Jennifer Deitloff (NP):  Current Public Office, dates held: N/A.  Past Public Office, dates held: N/A.      Education: Bachelor’s degree in Communication Studies from University of Nebraska; Juris Doctorate from University of Nebraska College of Law.  Military experience: None.  Volunteer experience: Member — Child Saving Institute Guild Board since 2012 and started Kids 4 Kids of CSI — where kids plan a fundraising event supporting kids in foster care and the emergency shelter.  Association of Corporate Counsel programs committee co-chair.

David Gulizia (R):  No response received.

Mark Hauptman (R):  No response received.

Carsten Ruff (NP):  No response received.

Ann Sackett Wright (R):  No response received.

Gretna Board of Education Candidates’ Responses

If elected, what two things do you hope to have accomplished by the end of your first year?

Jennifer Bullington: First, I would love to be able to do my part in pursuing safety in school drop off and pick up procedures, including a street light at Hwy 370 & 186th St. As our district expands, we must continue to consider the safety of young and inexperienced drivers as well as the rush of traffic around those times. Second, I would love to gather as many members of the school district as possible to share their voices on our growing school district as we continue to learn the best way to expand.

Jennifer Deitloff: I would seek to understand both the work that the board has done to date and the individual perspectives of the other board members and the administration on strategic priorities for the district.  Thereafter, I would work collaboratively to ensure that we have appropriate crisis plans in place that properly address the risks facing our students, teachers and staff.  I would also take on a focused review of curriculum to identify areas to improve, enhance or modernize what we have today.

David Gulizia:  No response received.

Mark Hauptman:  No response received.

Carsten Ruff:  No response received.

Ann Sackett Wright: No response received.

How can schools use technology to create better equity and educational outcomes?

Jennifer Bullington: Technology has allowed our students to have a competitive edge and a head start on preengineering, pre-architecture, and pre-urban planning skills, just as a few examples, thusly better preparing them for higher education opportunities. The hands-on experience technology provides gives the kinesthetic and visual learners an opportunity to excel, making abstract concepts easier to understand & apply. We must use this opportunity to continue teaching internet safety as well.

Jennifer Deitloff: Not all of the technological tools that schools invest in actually promote learning and development for all students.  Schools should be disciplined and ask themselves whether they are investing in a technology because it is a popular trend among other schools or whether the technology will actually support the learning, participation and comprehension of all student users or does it instead reinforce social inequalities.  Schools need to be mindful of any barriers with the use of new technology

David Gulizia:  No response received.

Mark Hauptman:  No response received.

Carsten Ruff:  No response received.

Ann Sackett Wright: No response received.

What can be done to ensure the safety of students and teachers in our schools?

Jennifer Bullington: Being an educator myself means I’ve been a part of safety and lockdown drills. In addition to the regular drills and the officers present frequently in our schools, we need to bring the community’s voice to the discussion. What more do parents and other invested parties want to see? I’ve been fascinated by Oklahoma’s bulletproof shelters they’ve installed in classrooms. Additionally, I do believe we need to continue research on the prevalence of the Gretna area human trafficking.

Jennifer Deitloff: School safety has never been more prevalent in public discourse than it is today.  Protecting safety of students, teachers and staff in our school systems is a complex problem that requires a comprehensive solution.  Working to identify a mix between seeking to control access to guns, identifying and addressing mental and/or emotional health issues, investing in school security technology, identifying bullying and negative peer behavior and ensuring proactive crisis management plans are a start.

David Gulizia:  No response received.

Mark Hauptman:  No response received.

Carsten Ruff:  No response received.

Ann Sackett Wright: No response received.

What role, if any, should charter schools have in the Nebraska educational system?

Jennifer Bullington:  No response received.

Jennifer Deitloff: Nebraska’s public schools consistently score rankings above the national average.  While I recognize the importance of parental choice, it is important to consider the potential negative impact to students and society.  Choice does not necessarily guarantee quality.

David Gulizia:  No response received.

Mark Hauptman:  No response received.

Carsten Ruff:  No response received.

Ann Sackett Wright: No response received.

Voters’ Guide: Elkhorn Board of Education

The League of Women Voters of Greater Omaha contacts candidates during each election cycle and invites them to participate in the print and online editions of the Voters’ Guide. Candidates provide their biographical information and their positions on selected issues. Candidates are aware in advance that the biographies and answers will be printed exactly as submitted without edits for content, spelling, punctuation or grammar.

The League of Women Voters is a nonpartisan organization that never supports or opposes any political party or candidate for office.

PDF of Douglas County Voters’ Guide | Find voter information specific to your ballot at vote411.org.

Find your district by looking up your voter registration on the Nebraska Voter Check website.

Candidates for Elkhorn Board of Education

Chuck Burney (R):  Current Public Office, dates held: Elkhorn School Board, 2011 to 2018.  Education: Bachelor’s Degree In Social Sciences Education (7-12) From Wayne State College  Master’s Degree in Secondary Education from The University Of Nebraska At Omaha.  Military experience: N/A.  Volunteer experience: Nebraska Realty Kindness Crew St. Patrick’s Church Men’s Club Elkhorn Girls’ Softball Association Open Door Mission  Charles B. Garman (R):  http://www.GarmanForElkhorn.org.  Current Public Office, dates held: Trustee SID, third term. Just elected clerk.  Education: Augustana University, BA 2002 Creighton University School of Law, JD 2005.  Military experience: Army National Guard 1999-2011 Active duty in support of OIF 2003.  Volunteer experience: Service as assistant minister at St. Timothy.

Amy Parks (D):  No response received.

Nancy A. Rogic-Greufe (R):  Unable to reach candidate.

Reagan Rosenberg (NP):  Unable to reach candidate.

Elkhorn Board of Education Candidates’ Responses

If elected, what two things do you hope to have accomplished by the end of your first year?

Chuck Burney:  My top priority is for the Elkhorn Public Schools to continue and build on our outstanding academic achievements that have been produced year in and year out, while at the same time passing fiscally responsible budgets that will give our staff the best resources to accomplish this.  Another priority that I hope to accomplish by the end of the first year of my third term would be to help make our students aware of all of their opportunities as they determine their post-high school plans.

Charles B. Garman: I will push for a comprehensive curriculum that sets high standards to give students a goal to shoot for.  Specifically, our children should either be able to read to standard by grade three or have additional educational support in place to correct any deficiencies.  This includes early diagnosis of learning disabilities.  I will work on a prioritized budget that takes loss of state funding into consideration.  The budget needs to fund what the district needs but not everything desired.

Amy Parks:  No response received.

Nancy A. Rogic-Greufe:  Unable to reach candidate.

Reagan Rosenberg:  Unable to reach candidate.

How can schools use technology to create better equity and educational outcomes?

Chuck Burney:  During the last couple of years the Elkhorn Public Schools has been phasing in 1-to-1 technology into grades 8-12.  Technology should be used to enhance learning. Technology allows greater access to online resources.  The proper use of technology creates greater student engagement and allows teachers to create tailored learning experiences.  It is important to ensure teachers are properly trained to integrate technology into our curriculum, and for the district to oversee its proper usage.

Charles B. Garman: Technology and its proper use is the future of education.  However, it cannot take the place of properly trained and paid educators.  Technology is an education multiplier but does not replace best practices.

Amy Parks:  No response received.

Nancy A. Rogic-Greufe:  Unable to reach candidate.

Reagan Rosenberg:  Unable to reach candidate.

What can be done to ensure the safety of students and teachers in our schools?

Chuck Burney:  I was a teacher at Millard South on 1-05-2011.  It is vital that we ensure the safety of students.  Through recently passed bond issues, we have improved safety by limiting access points to all of our older schools, while building new ones with an emphasis on safety.  This year we have added school resource officers so all of our high and middle schools will have an SRO presence during the day.  Staff policy and procedures regarding safety must be reviewed often to make our schools safe.

Charles B. Garman: Unfortunately this is a matter for our State Legislature as currently not all options are on the table.  EPS is currently a good job having School Resource Officers where our schools are soft targets and strictly controlling access where possible.

Amy Parks:  No response received.

Nancy A. Rogic-Greufe:  Unable to reach candidate.

Reagan Rosenberg:  Unable to reach candidate.

Chuck Burney:  Speaking as a member of the school board for the highest achieving school district in the state, there is no role for charter schools within our district.  My opinion is that the state would be better suited providing more funding for K-12 education rather than redirecting resources away from public education.  The Elkhorn district, as well as many others in Nebraska have produced excellent results on a dwindling budget.  It would be exciting to see what they can accomplish when properly funded.

Charles B. Garman: My job as member of the Elkhorn school Board would be to ensure EPS offers the highest quality education so that parents have no interest in a charter school.

Amy Parks:  No response received.

Nancy A. Rogic-Greufe:  Unable to reach candidate.

Reagan Rosenberg:  Unable to reach candidate.

Voters’ Guide: University of Nebraska Board of Regents

The Board (of Regents) supervises the general operations of the university, as well as controls and directs all expenditures. A corporation secretary provides governance advice and support to the Board, and is the official record keeper for the proceedings of the Board of Regents meetings. — from the board’s website

The League of Women Voters of Greater Omaha contacts candidates during each election cycle and invites them to participate in the print and online editions of the Voters’ Guide. Candidates provide their biographical information and their positions on selected issues. Candidates are aware in advance that the biographies and answers will be printed exactly as submitted without edits for content, spelling, punctuation or grammar.

The League of Women Voters is a nonpartisan organization that never supports or opposes any political party or candidate for office.

PDF of Douglas County Voters’ Guide | Find voter information specific to your ballot at vote411.org.

Find your district by looking up your voter registration on the Nebraska Voter Check website.

Candidates for University of Nebraska Board of Regents, District 4

Larry Bradley (D):  http://www.bradleyforregent.com.  Current Public Office, dates held: Papio-Missouri Natural Resources District, District 3. 2016-current.  Past Public Office, dates held: Papio-Missouri NRD, District 3. 20082012.  Education: B.S. Biology ’97 (UNO), M.A. Biology ’01 (UNO), Ph.D. Geography ’10 (UNL), Minor in Geology, Minor in Native American Studies.  Technical High School.  Central Grade School, downtown Omaha.  Military experience: United States Army.  1982-1986.  Honorable Discharge.  E-4.  91R.  Army Achievement Medal.  Good Conduct Medal.  Norfolk, VA 1983-84.  Frankfurt, West Germany 1985-86.    Volunteer experience: Commander of Local Veterans Post, 2008-2015.  President of the Ancient Order of Hibernians-Father Flanagan Division, 2015-2017. Immigration Chair for AOH, 2018.  Youth sports coach for Catholic Youth League and YMCA (when my children were young).

Elizabeth O’Connor (D):  http://www.ElizabethForRegent.com.  Past Public Office, dates held: University of Nebraska Board of Regents, UNO student representative 2011-2012;  University of Nebraska Board of Regents, Executive Committee member  2011-2012.  Education: University of Nebraska Omaha, Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science, Summa Cum Laude 2012;  University of Notre Dame Law School, Juris Doctor, 2015.  Volunteer experience: Executive board member of the Friends of Nebraska Children;  Mentor to the University of Nebraska at Omaha Underserved Law Opportunity Program (ULOP).

University of Nebraska Board of Regents, District 4, Candidates’ Responses

What role does the First Amendment have on college campuses?

Larry Bradley:  Pro Academic Freedom and Pro Science is one of my platform issues.  I have studied, researched, lectured, and taught at the collegiate level in Nebraska for three decades now.  I have personally experienced barriers for my original contribution to science.  As long as any person or group does not seek to incite hatred, riots, or violence on our beautiful and peaceful campuses, then it is our civic duty to allow civil discourse so that we may attain common ground on critical issues.

Elizabeth O’Connor: Freedom of speech should be a cherished and celebrated right on college campuses.  Our universities must be a crossroads where people can meet in dialogue:  a place where diverse ideas, cultures and perspectives can be exchanged freely and openly, where ideas are debated and where every sincere contributor is listened to and respected.  Our universities should aspire to be places where the exchange of diverse ideas is welcomed in civil conversation and differences of opinion are not foreclosed.

How do you see the future of funding for Nebraska’s public universities?

Larry Bradley: Currently, as I view the issue, funding for public education K-16 is under assault, not only in Nebraska, but the entire country.  As a candidate who actually grew up and reside in District 4, I have a history of raising thousands of dollars for students who could not otherwise attend Nebraska public universities.  As a veteran, I am the logical candidate choice to lobby for DOD research funding.  I have the proven leadership and experience to work with all sides on funding issues.

Elizabeth O’Connor: Funding for the University should be viewed as an investment in Nebraska’s future.  The University should be funded fairly – it should not be asked to shoulder a higher burden of cuts than other state agencies. It should spend those funds prudently – every dollar it receives takes a dollar away from other state agencies.  We must invest wisely in Nebraska’s future – the solution to building Nebraska’s economy is not through cuts but through growth.  The University is an engine for that growth.

With the rising costs of higher education, how will you help to ensure that all young Nebraskans have access to a college education?

Larry Bradley: Affordable Education is one of my platform issues.  As a father, I will fight for Nebraska’s most important resource, which is the future of our children.  I would investigate to see exactly who is profiting from Student loan providers such as NELNET, which is based in Lincoln, NE.  I will be the most vocal about the current President of the U.S. cutting Pell Grants by $3.9 billion and eliminating student loan debt forgiveness programs.  I have been an advocate for low tuition for 30 years now.

Elizabeth O’Connor: There are ways to efficiently provide a high-quality education, such as: leveraging technology and continuing strategic educational partnerships.  While the University is competitively priced, tuition increases weigh heavily on students.  A typical family can expect to spend between 26-30% of its annual income on tuition.  Nebraska invests less than a third of the national average in need-based aid.  I will focus on ensuring that need-based financial aid is available to all eligible students.

If elected, what two things do you hope to have accomplished by the end of your first year?

Larry Bradley: First and foremost, I will ensure the atrocious, exploitation of part-time labor at UNO, with respect to the high number of 500 adjunct professors, is brought to the center of debate.  Especially, for those who have not had a raise in ten years or more, and those who had to sign away benefits.  Second, I will ask legal counsel to investigate if the Anti-Affirmative Action petition circulated around Nebraska a half decade ago is still constitutional with respect to hiring diverse faculty.

Elizabeth O’Connor: As a woman and young professional, I will bring a valuable and diverse perspective to the Board as it deals with matters that affect all Nebraskans. The issues regarding free speech and budget may highlight a growing rift between the University and Legislature which would be detrimental to our future.  In my visits with business leaders, elected officials and University administration, it is clear we have a shared a goal: a better future for Nebraska.  I will refocus us on that goal.

Candidates for University of Nebraska Board of Regents, District 8

Hal Daub (R):  Web Site: http://haldaubforregent.com.  Current Public Office, dates held: University of Nebraska Board of Regents, District 8, 2013 to present.  Past Public Office, dates held: Four elected terms, U.S. House of Representatives, 11981-89; twice elected Mayor of Omaha, 1994-2001.  Education: Batchelors Degree in Business Administration, Washington University, St. Louis, MO; Juris Doctor Degree, University of Nebraska College of Law.   Military experience: 2nd and 1st Lieutent, Infantry Rifle Company, and then promoted to Captain, Company Commander, Second U.S. Army Infantry Division in Korea.  Volunteer experience: Salvation Army, Boy Scouts, Autism, Wounded Warriors Family Support, Head Start and Fatherhood Initiative Boards presently; Rotary, Optimists Clubs; Chamber Business Hall of Fame; Distinguished Alumnus of University of Nebraska, Washington Univ.

Barbara Weitz (D):  http://barbaraweitzforregent.com.  Current Public Office, dates held: None.  Past Public Office, dates held: None.  Education: Bachelor of Arts, Carleton College (1970). Master of Public Administration, New York University (1974). Master of Social Work, University of Nebraska at Omaha (1991). PhD candidate (all but dissertation), Case Western Reserve (1998).  Military experience: None.  Volunteer experience: University of Nebraska Foundation board, Urban League of Nebraska board, Avenue Scholars board, Building Bright Futures board, Nebraska Children & Families Foundation board, Women’s Fund of Greater Omaha board         

Candidates for University of Nebraska Board of Regents, District 4

What role does the First Amendment have on college campuses?

Hal Daub:  The Four great freedoms of Press, Religion, Speech and Assembly must be the core policy commitments of our University of Nebraska environment, for students, teachers and our guests and visitors. My strong commitment is to these principles of open and transparent learning proscribed only by such limitations as may be reasonable to facilitate respectful, non-threating conduct, non-disruptive activity or discourse that does not damage the reputation of the University.

Barbara Weitz: Freedom of speech on campus is of the utmost importance. Universities are the foundational institutions where ideas, theories and philosophies can be examined, tested and adopted based on each person’s individual experience and personal values. The role of the university is to create an atmosphere where all perspectives can be expressed and challenged.

How do you see the future of funding for Nebraska’s public universities?

Hal Daub:  Given the State’s limited population and taxpayer resources, funding our $2,6 billion University budget will continue to be a real challenge.  My past experience and efforts in working with Governor Heineman to freeze tuition and my background in managing large budgets at the City of Omaha and the University will provide the oversight necessary to meet these challenges.  I am committed to maintaining the fiscal restraint to insure affordable, accessible education for Nebraska students.

Barbara Weitz: I am very concerned about continued cuts to the University of Nebraska’s budget. As a former UNO professor, I agree that we must be fiscally responsible. However, the University of Nebraska is the number one employer for the state and brings in six dollars for every dollar spent. Continuing to cut the university’s budget and eliminating programs will hurt our ability to recruit and retain faculty and students and provide an affordable education to all Nebraskans.

With the rising costs of higher education, how will you help to ensure that all young Nebraskans have access to a college education?

Hal Daub: Faced with trimming $30 million from administration, I supported creative solutions which involved combining functions and cutting expenses. Over 6,000 students receive their Nebraska University Education on full scholarship, and we have added $5 Million more for Husker Scholarships for each of the next two years from our successful Athletic Department Programs for non-athletic department students. Managing costs, focusing on programs and coursework germane to the future workforce is critical.

Barbara Weitz: The burden of rising tuition and student loan debt prevents many Nebraskans from receiving an affordable education. As Regent, I will find innovative solutions and alternative revenue streams to offset budget cuts and reduce our reliance on tuition increases to balance the university’s budget. These include public-private partnerships with companies and foundations to fund university programs and scholarships and university patents that bring in revenue – I am open to new, creative solutions.

If elected, what two things do you hope to have accomplished by the end of your first year?

Hal Daub: Having Chaired the Audit, Compliance and Risk Management Committee for the Board,  (1)my knowledge of the fiscal and academic programs learned as a member of the Academic Affairs Committee give me subject matter expertise to continue to keep our budget balanced, tuition, board and room competitively affordable (2)work aggressively to help recruit and retain great teachers to assure all students will have a well-administered environment to support great learning experiences, research and outcomes

Barbara Weitz: First, I will work to make the Board of Regents more accessible to the public by increasing opportunities for communication with taxpayers who fund the university. I will hold regular town hall meetings and “office hours” across the district to share information and receive suggestions about what our priorities should be. Second, I will have meetings with private companies and foundations to discover possibilities for raising university revenue through public-private partnerships.

Voters’ Guide: Bennington Board of Education

The League of Women Voters of Greater Omaha contacts candidates during each election cycle and invites them to participate in the print and online editions of the Voters’ Guide. Candidates provide their biographical information and their positions on selected issues. Candidates are aware in advance that the biographies and answers will be printed exactly as submitted without edits for content, spelling, punctuation or grammar.

The League of Women Voters is a nonpartisan organization that never supports or opposes any political party or candidate for office.

PDF of Douglas County Voters’ Guide | Find voter information specific to your ballot at vote411.org.

Find your district by looking up your voter registration on the Nebraska Voter Check website.

Bennington Board of Education

Mark A. Byars (R):  http://markbyars.com.  Current Public Office, dates held: Bennington Board of Education, 2015-present.  Education: BS Business Administration, University of Nebraska-Lincoln; MBA, Northwestern University.  Volunteer experience: Various church and school activities, Boy Scouts, Bennington Public Schools Strategic Planning Committee.

Valerie J. Calderon (R):  No response received.

Heather Goertz (NP):  No response received.

Bob Tingelhoff (R):  No response received.

Matthew E.D. Wickham (R):  No response received.

If elected, what two things do you hope to have accomplished by the end of your first year?

Mark A. Byars:  Bennington’s growth presents challenges in long-range planning, in budgeting, and in communicating through rapid change.  First, I will work to ensure our strategic plan continues to deliver our students a high-quality education at good value to taxpayers, the first year – and every year – of my term.  Second, I will work to promote open, constructive communication with all stakeholders in the district to implement our best ideas and improve the community in which we learn and live.

Valerie J. Calderon:  No response received.

Heather Goertz:  No response received.

Bob Tingelhoff:  No response received.

Matthew E.D. Wickham:  No response received.

How can schools use technology to create better equity and educational outcomes?

Mark A. Byars:   A school board plays an important leadership role in creating a culture of safety by implementing practical policies that can be followed and fairly administered.  Threats can be prevented with a collaborative culture that encourages students to treat others with dignity and respect.  The board should emphasize preparedness planning and equip staff with quality training to expertly address threats in progress.  Facility enhancements that fit an educational environment should also be implemented.

Valerie J. Calderon:  No response received.

Heather Goertz:  No response received.

Bob Tingelhoff:  No response received.

Matthew E.D. Wickham:  No response received.

What can be done to ensure the safety of students and teachers in our schools?

Mark A. Byars:  The key role of technology in education is to teach our kids how to critically evaluate the wealth of information at their fingertips and use it constructively to improve their lives and their community.  Technology also offers a cost-efficient means to expand learning beyond the classroom and deliver continuing education to our topnotch teachers.  Most importantly, students can use technology for personalized learning, exploring topics unique to their interests in support of their goals.

Valerie J. Calderon:  No response received.

Heather Goertz:  No response received.

Bob Tingelhoff:  No response received.

Matthew E.D. Wickham:  No response received.

2018 General Election Candidate Forum: State Board of Education, District 8

The League of Women Voters of Greater Omaha held a moderated candidate forum for the candidates for the Nebraska State Board of Education, District 8. The candidates for this nonpartisan race are Deborah Neary and Patrick McPherson.

Find out more about the election in our Get Ready to Vote FAQ. You can watch all our candidate forums and see all of our 2018 elections info under “2018 ELECTIONS” on our home page.

The League of Women Voters of Greater Omaha is a nonpartisan organization that never supports or opposes any candidate for office or political party. LWVGO’s mission is to inform and empower voters.

2018 Candidate Forum: Nebraska State Board of Education, District 8

The League of Women Voters of Greater Omaha held a moderated candidate forum for the candidates for state board of education, district 8 race. The candidates are Bob Meyers, Pat McPherson and Deborah Neary. The candidates are competing in the primary election to determine which two will advance to the general election in November.

Find out more about the primary in our Get Ready to Vote FAQ and nonpartisan voters’ guide. You can watch all our candidate forums and see all of our 2018 elections info under “2018 ELECTIONS” on our home page.

The League of Women Voters of Greater Omaha is a nonpartisan organization that never supports or opposes any candidate for office or political party. LWVGO’s mission is to inform and empower voters.