Cook, Kinney seek term on school board

Cook, Kinney seek term on school board By David Lias Besides deciding the fate of a $6.5 million school bond issue Tuesday, citizens of the Vermillion School District will also be asked to vote for one of two candidates seeking a three year term on the Vermillion School Board.

James Kinney, an incumbent on the board, is being challenged by Alvena Rae Cook.

To help the public learn more about the two candidates, the Plain Talk asked them to respond to a questionnaire.

Their responses are printed below.

James Kinney

Age: 58

Family: Wife, Joan, two sons, Matthew and Chris.

Occupation: Aviation and agriculture.

Education: B.S. Iowa State University; post graduate: University of Iowa, Northern State University.

What kind of school board member would you be? Having been involved in education, business and agriculture in the past 35 years, I feel I am qualified to contribute to the decision making process. I am in a position that allows me to make decisions based on merit and a sense of fairness, to promote educational advancement without pressures from special interests, and to be responsible to the people paying the bills.

What are the biggest challenges facing the Vermillion School District? 1. The School system has an increasingly difficult job of providing individual child needs created by changes in family structure and the resulting loss of child rearing responsibilities. 2. To balance the allocation of resources between the development of survival skills and the medial promoted emphasis on recreational activities. 3. Management of financial resources already overly dependent on the property tax.

Alvena Rae Cook

Age: 39

Family: I am a member of the Yankton Sioux Tribe and have always lived in South Dakota. I am married to Wallace Sr., and we have six children: Wallace, Jr., 17 years; Traun, 15 years; Alecia, 14 years; Katrina, 11 years; Sabrina, 9 years; and Darice, 7 years.

Occupation: Social Worker with the State of South Dakota Department of Social Services for the past nine years.

Education: I attended USD and received a bachelor of science in social work/alcohol & drug abuse studies.

Hobbies/Interests: Dancing and singing in my culture, sewing, swimming and being available for my children and all children in our community.

Why are you running for election to the Vermillion School Board? 1. To keep the costs of education at a level we can afford. 2. To guarantee we get the most education possible for the dollar spent. 3. To assure our children are fully prepared to meet the challenges of tomorrow. 4. To promote strong parental and community involvement in our schools. 5. A global view for educating our youth with diversity. 6. Foster understanding, respect, and appreciation for our schools in the Vermillion community.

What kind of school board member would you be? My culture teaches me to respect others and to value education. As a school board member, I will practice both. I will do this by being sensible, fiscally conservative, creative, open minded and understanding. Ensuring the next generation is drug free and enjoys harmony by creating a better environment in our educational settings are my goals as a board member.

What are the biggest challenges facing the Vermillion School District? 1. To develop more productive and effective uses of both financial and human resources. 2. To provide new and expanded instructional programs and services to more fully meet the diverse needs of students. 3. To increase opportunities for teacher and administrator development.

If you could change something about local education tomorrow, what would it be? 1. To have respect for children�s rights so they are able to concentrate and learn. 2. Assess the school system and build on its strengths of excellent teachers, small classes, quality education, strong support services such as special ed, counseling, library, and special programs such as natural helpers, talking circle, and youth 2000. 3. Education represents the highest ideas of our society. It gives our youth the ability to inspire minds and contribute their absolute best back to society.

What is your number one goal if elected? To ensure our children and grandchildren receive a good education, we empower them to help future generations solve the challenges of today and tomorrow. Enlighten our youth with innovative ideas, help create good citizens and create memories for adults.

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