2018 General Election Candidate Forum: Metropolitan Community College Board of Governors District 2 & At-Large

The League of Women Voters of Greater Omaha held a moderated candidate forum for the candidates for Omaha Public Power District (OPPD), Subdivision 1. The candidates in this nonpartisan race are Brad Ashby and Erin Feichtinger for the district 2 seat and Paul Anderson and Ron Hug for the at-large district seat.

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.

Ballot Initiative 427 – Medicaid Expansion: Get the Facts

In this episode of Go Vote, Omaha!, host Geri Simon discusses the initiative to expand Medicaid that will appear on Nebraskans’ Nov. 6 ballot. Geri is joined by Mary Spurgeon, co-chair of the Healthcare Action team at Omaha Together One Community (OTOC).

View the discussion to learn more about Ballot Initiative #427 for the Expansion of Medicaid in Nebraska under the ACA.

Please note: The League of Women Voters of Greater Omaha supports Medicaid expansion and voting for Ballot Initiative #427 on Nov. 6.

You can view more info about the initiative in our archives and from OTOC.

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?

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: Omaha Public Schools 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 Omaha Public School Board of Education, Subdistrict 2

Marlon Brewer (D):  No response received.

Marque A. Snow (D):  http://snowforops.com.  Current Public Office, dates held: Omaha Public Schools Board of Education 2013-Present  President- Omaha Public Schools Board of Education January 2018 – Present.      Past Public Office, dates held: Vice President- Omaha Public Schools Board of Education February 2017 – December 2017. Education: University of South Dakota -Political Science & History.  Volunteer experience: The 100 Black Men of Omaha – Mentoring Reach & Rise Mentoring – Mentoring

Omaha Public School Board of Education, Subdistrict 2, Candidates’ Responses

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

Marlon Brewer:  No response received.

Marque A. Snow: If re-elected, I will continue to work on our retirement pension plan to find a solution within the first year. I also plan to expand our dual language program in OPS to North Omaha and re-align the OPS Strategic Plan to help guide our new Superintendent Dr. Cheryl Logan.

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

Marlon Brewer:  No response received.

Marque A. Snow: Schools are currently using technology to increase better equity as well as educating students on how to use these tools safely and efficiency to compete in the global society. Two years ago, my colleagues and I created our first K-12 virtual school to meet the needs of our students outside of the classroom.

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

Marlon Brewer:  No response received.

Marque A. Snow: In 2014, my colleagues and I put up a $421 million bond to increase the safety of our students and faculty. The community voted 2-1 for the 2014 bond to put in storm shelters, upgrade security measures, as well as fire and life safety mechanisms. In March of 2018, my colleagues and I voted to put another bond for $410 million to reduce the number of portables and deal with our capacity issue at many of our schools. I continue to work with my colleagues from various districts on best practices.

Omaha Public School Board of Education, Subdistrict 4

Shavonna Holman (D):  http://holmanforops.com.  Current Public Office, dates held: Omaha Public Schools Board of Education, Subdistrict 4 January 2018-current.  Past Public Office, dates held: None.  Education: BS in Education, University of Nebraska-Omaha MS in Education, University of Nebraska-Omaha  MS in Educational Administration, University of Nebraska-Omaha Doctorate of Education, University of Nebraska-Lincoln.  Military experience: None.  Volunteer experience: Open Door Mission Salvation Army.

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

Shavonna Holman:  1. Recruitment and retention of teachers /administrators.  2. Increased efforts in providing alternative education programming/opportunities for the underachieving, high ability learner.

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

Shavonna Holman:  When current, quality technology is available, all students are provided an equitable learning opportunity, as long as teachers have been properly trained to use and implement such technology. Technology can be the one thing which circumvents all barriers, shrinking equity and accessibility gaps, while transforming learning. It can personalized to meet the needs of today’s K-12 diverse learner. It can be used to reach and teach students virtually, who may not be physically able to attend class.

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

Shavonna Holman:  A district safety/crisis plan should be followed and practiced consistently so that if an emergency were to arise, both students and staff are fully prepared to follow the protocols in place as is they were second nature. Moreover, all schools should either have a district security guard or SRO who are trained to handle such emergencies. All buildings should be secured with having only one entry access point for visitors, who can be seen by the secretary prior to buzzer entrance.

Candidates for Omaha Public School Board of Education, Subdistrict 6

Jeff Jezewski (R):  http://jeffjforops.com.  Education: UNO, BSBA with major in Accounting.  Volunteer experience: Sienna Francis House, YMCA youth sports.

Nancy Kratky (R):  Current Public Office, dates held: None.  Past Public Office, dates held: Metro Area Boards of Education 1994-2008.  Past president twice.  Education: Bachelors and Masters from UNO.  Military experience: None.  Volunteer experience: Salvation Army Auxiliary Board, Phi Delta Kappa, Citizens Advisory Board-OPS 19592018, NE Mental Health Planning and Education Committee, Technical  High Renovation Committee.

Omaha Public School Board of Education, Subdistrict 6, Candidates’ Responses

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

Jeff Jezewski: My overall emphasis will be to help the Board focus on OPS’s mission which states:  OPS prepares all students to excel in college, career, and life.  More specifically, I will use my 30 years of real world business experience and finance background to help OPS address its daunting unfunded pension liability.

Nancy Kratky: 1. Ability of others to easily reach TAC building staff and get satisfactory information in a shorter period of time.  Cutting staff over and over does not necessarily produce  good results.  2. We have a serious problem with language usage in our test scores, student papers and conversation.  This problem continues to grow daily.  I will address this at every opportunity.  Textbooks are not doing an adequate job.  Supplemental materials and greater focus is necessary.

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

Jeff Jezewski: There is no silver bullet when it comes to eliminating the achievement gap.  Certainly, we should utilize all the tools available to address the issue.  And technology is one of those tools.  We do need to make certain that any ‘new’ approaches or techniques deployed are based on sound research and do not cause confusion or distraction for our teaching professionals.  I will work tirelessly to eliminate the achievement gap.

Nancy Kratky: We have whiteboards vs. blackboards. 1-1 ratio of computers and grade level sharing. Instructors presentations can be seen by all.  Student learning by access to apps, virtual learning, tablets and e-books. Websites provide the rapid-changing information vs. use of multiple, expensive textbooks for STEM, making the purchase cost effective. In many instances we allow computers to be used for homework assignments. Finally, familiarity of technology and the application of it is essential today.

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

Jeff Jezewski: The safety of our kids is of utmost priority.  OPS should plan, practice, and be prepared to execute its plans to protect our kids.  However, I do not believe our teachers should be armed.  Our teachers should teach.  If additional security in our buildings is necessary then OPS will devote additional resources without impacting teaching in the classroom.

Nancy Kratky: Safety is always paramount in our ever-changing environment. Schools provide security entrances/ exits and parking lot cameras and alarm systems. Disguised personnel, police officers and school resource officers are now the norm. Finally, management of student traffic flow within the building and at the exits is used. In addition to keyed entries, drug sniffing dogs may be used. We monitor the trimming of trees and shrubs and provide specific terrorism training and drills for students and staff.

Omaha Public School Board of Education, Subdistrict 8

Kimara Z. Snipe (D): No response received.

Did You Know? Many Citizens with Criminal Convictions Can Vote

In the run-up to the 2018 election, we’re posting quick facts about voting to help you get out and go vote, Omaha! 

Today’s fact: Many people believe that being convicted of a felony crime takes away a person’s right to vote forever. The rules on this vary state by state but few states permanently take away the right to vote for citizens with felony convictions.

In Nebraska, citizens temporarily lose their “citizenship rights,” including the right to vote, upon felony conviction. However, the right to vote is automatically restored for returning citizens two years after they complete all of the terms of their sentence, whether that “includes incarceration without parole, incarceration with parole, probation or any combination of sentences.”

This is often called “being off paper” and means that Nebraskans with felony convictions can register to vote after

  • completing the entire sentence (including any incarceration, parole and/or probation) and
  • waiting two years after completing the entire sentence.

If you meet these criteria, you can register to vote without petitioning the court. You will not be automatically registered two years after getting off paper (even if you were registered before), you’re just automatically eligible to register yourself. Find out more about registering to vote.

Misdemeanor Convictions and Time in Custody

Time in custody, including time awaiting trial, does not take away your right to vote (unless you already have a felony conviction and are not off paper).

Misdemeanor convictions do not take away your right to vote.

You can still register to vote and vote by mail/early or in person if you’ve spent time in custody — even if you’re currently in custody — or if you have a misdemeanor conviction. Find out more about registering to vote.

2018 General Election Candidate Forum: Unicameral, Legislative District 20

The League of Women Voters of Greater Omaha held a moderated candidate forum for the candidates for Nebraska state senate/Unicameral in legislative district 20. The candidates are Jackie Collett and John S. McCollister.

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. You can find out which Nebraska LD you live in by entering your address on the Nebraska Unicameral site.

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: 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: Douglas County Assessor/Register of Deeds

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.

All residents of Douglas County, Neb., are represented by this office.

Candidates for Douglas County Assessor/Register of Deeds

Diane L. Battiato (D):  Web Site: http://www.dianebattiato.com.  Current Public Office, dates held: Douglas County Assessor/Register of Deeds, 2015-current.  Past Public Office, dates held: Douglas County Register of Deeds, 2005-2015; Papillion City Councilwoman, 1997-2002.  Education: Randall and Londay Schools of Real Estate – Nebraska Licensed Real Estate Broker 1986-current; Nebraska Assessor Certificate; International Assoc. of Assessing Officers courses 101, 102, 300 certificates; Nat’l Certified Public Official designation.  Military experience: none.  Volunteer experience: Omaha Area Board of Realtors and Nebraska Realtors Association; Women’s Fund of Greater Omaha; League of Women Voters; NAACP; Hispanic Chamber of Commerce; United Way of the Midlands; ENOA, Meals On Wheels and more.

Walt Peffer (R):  Web Site: http://walt peffer for assessor.  Current Public Office, dates held: None.  Past Public Office, dates held: None.  Education: Attended UNO, Nebraska Real Estate License, State of Nebraska County Assessor Certificate.  Military experience: U.S. Army, Viet Nam veteran.  Volunteer experience: United Way, American Legion, Ralston Chamber of Commerce, church activities. Served on Omaha Charter View Commission, Served on City of Omaha Efficiency Commission.  Coach youth football, baseball and basketball.

Douglas County Assessor/Register of Deeds Candidates’ Responses

What are the two most compelling issues to address within the assessor’s office?

Diane L. Battiato:  One—Researching and determining the best method that will ensure land records are maintained in pristine condition so that they will always be available for use, which is required per state statute; and Two—continuing to strive for the best, most reliable process to use to provide fair and equitable property valuations.

Walt Peffer:  The current Assessor Office is in turmoil and requires someone with my 20 years of real estate and government background to set goals and objectives, and will be a advocate for the taxpayer. I will work to deliver fair, accurate and equalized valuations.

What, if any, changes need to be made regarding property valuations and the process of contesting those valuations?

Diane L. Battiato:  The valuation-protest process is dictated per state statute; no changes can be made at the local level.  Regarding property valuations, a planned, ongoing effort must be made to educate the public about the process, i.e., the difference between mass appraisal, which we employ, and fee appraisal.  Also, an effort must be made to educate property owners about the difference between valuations and taxing entities’ (political subdivisions) tax rates.  Understanding who actually controls tax rates.

Walt Peffer:  Get valuations right the first time, that are fair, accurate and equalized. Once preliminary valuations have been established, I will hold town hall meetings throughout the county so that the taxpayer does not have to take time off of work to meet with their Assessor.

If elected, what would be your first-year priorities?

Diane L. Battiato:  A: First—Continue my 4-term success as a proven, positive leader; Second—Continue to strive to provide fair and equitable valuations by using proven methods such as better identifying sales trends in smaller, more similar neighborhoods; and Third—Increase and improve communications with property owners that will result in obtaining more accurate, thorough information about an owner’s property.

Walt Peffer:  Get valuations right the first time, that are fair, accurate and equalized. Develop an attitude in the Assessor Office that we work for and with the property taxpayer.