Candidate Q&A: Red WIng School Board: BronsonRaymond Bronson, school board candidate
Raymond H. Bronson
Residence: 31649 Lakeview Avenue
Family: Wife, Donna, two boys, ages 32 and 28. One granddaughter, age 4.
Public involvement (limited to five): No public offices held
Work: Retired executive from Alliant Techsystems
The district has been faced with extensive budget cuts in recent years. Considering more cuts may lie ahead, what specific budgetary items would you look at trimming?
We have to go through a formal analysis of how we deliver education, identify where there is waste in the system, and eliminate it. Many public organizations have used a technique from business called "six-sigma" to cut cost. We should see if that would work for us, or find some other process that will. I'm not in favor of cutting curriculum or the student-to-teacher ratio we have today. We should determine if there is work performed by district employees that could be outsourced or performed by volunteers or students. Taking a "one size fits all" approach can lead to inefficiency.
The district is tackling a well-documented struggle with diversity issues stemming from the notorious 2009 Wangster Day incident. How necessary do you think the Office of Civil Rights' investigation was regarding racial sensitivity in the district?
The investigation could have been avoided had the School Board and principal been more sensitive to the possible ramifications by not taking a proactive approach and strong response. Did they consider what a complaint to OCR would mean? Did anyone ask the question "is this condoning a hostile environment?" When the matter was brought before the School Board last year, the board should have sought outside advice. Had the board taken this seriously enough to seek advice about an issue that they apparently were not subject matter experts in, all of this might have been avoided.
If elected, the current operating referendum will expire during your term in office. List the reasons why you would or wouldn't support a new referendum calling for additional per-pupil funding.
I would support a new funding referendum only if I could stand before the voters with firm conviction to tell them that we did everything possible to eliminate waste, improve efficiency and cut cost. The Bchool board would need to assure our voters that we understand the cause for not living within our budgeted funding and now have a plan that assures we aren't going to come back again in a few years and ask for more money. Finally, I would have to see compelling data which demonstrates that additional per-pupil funding results in better education and academic performance.
Bullying-related issues in schools have captured the national spotlight in recent weeks. Describe how much of a role you think the district should play in preventing and reprimanding bullying.
The district has a policy regarding bullying, one of dozens of policies. I regard the prevention of bullying as a part of the district's overall responsibility to insure the safety of every student. The district must place greater emphasis on student safety. Safety belongs in the district's mission statement and among its major goals. Unfortunately, it is not, and revising the district mission statement to include safety is one of the first areas I will address. Safety includes bullying, but it is more than that. Industry has many safety best practices which we can borrow and apply in our schools.
The district is taking a serious look at Q Comp, a state plan that ties teacher pay to student achievement. Would you support such a plan?
I absolutely support Q Comp, because I think it is a first step in tying teacher pay to performance. The issue is how to implement Q Comp so that it doesn't become an entitlement program. This can be done by linking the district level goals under the mission statement down to school administration and individual teacher accountabilities. These accountabilities will be measurable. I have been successful with a business process known as Balanced Scorecard. With some tailoring, it could help us to do Q Comp the right way.