Tuesday, May 03, 2011

Interview Question For Delmar Board Of Education Candidates - Joanne Gum

1. Please provide a brief summary of your background and your reasons for re-running.

I have lived in Delmar for 35 years. I would like to serve again for the Delmar School District Board of Education because of my interest in continuing to provide the best possible education for the students. I have had two daughters who graduated from Delmar, went to college and have done well in their professions. I attribute this to the public education in the Delmar School District. I have been very involved in our Race to the Top initiative and I would like to see it through to its completion. This involves collaboration with the union, district, and school board and because of this collaboration we were among 150 school districts to be chosen to go a national federal conference in Denver. This was underwritten by the Ford Foundation and did not cost the district any money.

2. What unique experiences or characteristics do you bring to the board that other members or candidates don't have?

I am a retired RN. I was very involved with the Chesapeake Bay Girl Scouts for 18 years and had served in many leadership positions both at the local and state levels. I have also held leadership positions in the PTA at the elementary level. I have served for many years as a volunteer at the elementary, middle and high schools. I have served on the Delmar School Board for the past 10 at the elementary level. I have served for many years as a volunteer at the elementary, middle and high schools. I have served on the Delmar School Board for the past 10 years. I have served as the president for the past three years. I have served for three years on the Board of Directors for the Delaware School Board Association with the last year as president

3. If re-elected do you have a top priority for the next five years?

I have three motivations for continuing to serve on the school board. I would like to continue to improve our student achievement. I would like to continue my active involvement with Race to the Top. My next priority is a current resolution before our state legislature to consolidate the school district from 19 to 5.

4. What is your vision for education in this community?

My vision for the community is to continue with our strong support and involvement with our school. Our school has many clubs in our school that do volunteer work in our community. We also have strong support from in our community for school events such as fifth grade orientation, back to school, sports and prom just to name a few. This closeness of our community and school is the envy of the state and I would to see this continue.

5. There is a lack of public attendance at the Board of Education meetings, however many people look at the school website for information on what is happening at the meetings. The website is notorious for parts of it not working or not being currently updated. How would you deal with communicating board policy and matters to the public in the future?

We do have a lack of public attendance at our Board of Education but it’s not due to lack of trying. When I speak at school events I usually invite the public to attend our board meetings. I am proud that I instituted two years ago the attendance of our president and vice president of our Student Government Association. This has provided us with a voice from the students. I feel this was important as the reason we are there is for the students. Our school website was recently revamped and is an ongoing project. I asked Dr. Ring about the posting of our board minutes and he assured me they were posted within 48 hours of the meeting

6. In dealing with the school district's operational budget, which areas have you explored for cost savings or expansion? Which, if any, areas should be protected from budget cuts?

In dealing with the operational budget we have looked at all areas for cost savings as the state has continued to reduce funding statewide. This has included band and sports with the last area to be cut directly involving the students. This is the reason we have started charging admission to our sporting events to make the sports more self sufficient

7. The Governor of Delaware signed a bill in 2009 requiring school systems in Delaware to begin publishing their check register(s) monthly on their website. The Delmar School District does not do this. As a Board member, would you work to bring the school district into conformance with the law?

The governor did sign a bill requiring all districts to post their monthly checking online. I agree I could not find access to this on our website. I called Dr. Ring and he was unaware of this problem. It can now be found under our financial area and this will take you to a DOE website where you can access all the school districts checkbooks.

8. The School district is looking for land to build a new school in the future. At present one spot mentioned is out by Susan Beach Road, west of town, what is your thoughts on that piece of land and building a new school?

The state requires a certain amount of land to build a school depending on the school being built. This state law would preclude any building within the town as there is no land area large enough to accommodate this

9. The State of Delaware Auditor has suggested consolidating District office personnel into one District office for all the schools in Sussex County to save Administrative costs for education, which in Delaware appear excessive as compared to other states. what is your opinion on that?

As stated above the state is now looking to consolidate the districts in the state from 19 to 5 this would result in loss of local control by the constituents and would end the neighbood feeling to our community

10. The trend seems to be to move more grades into the Delaware School district from the Wicomico County School. Do you see that continuing and do you think at some point the Wicomico County- Delmar School District consolidation agreement will cease and students from the two states will be taught only in their state?

We have worked very closely with the Wicomico County School Board and the Superintendent to have a continuing working Bi State agreement. I do not see the Bi State agreement ending.

Thank you for the opportunity to give my views on the reasons I am running for re-election.

Joanne Gum
Delmar School Board President
Delaware School Board President


Anonymous said...

Nice try Ms. Gum. In this interview, you proved to me what I felt was correct about you being on the board.
You didn't even answer the question directly. Particularly the one about downsizing the district. The question was what is YOUR opinion on it. This leads me to believe you are for it. That's really all I needed to know for my vote decision.
While I feel you're a nice person and I know you're supportive of Delmar, I think your tenure may come to an end.
We need a new school in Delmar AND the Delmar School District needs to remain the Delmar School District and not be combined with others in the county so that our LOCALS have no voice, which is what will happen.
Look at all the other instances where things are grouped together in the county and you will see that Delmar ALWAYS gets shafted! Period!

Debbie said...

While I have no reason to believe that Mrs. Morelli would not do an adequate job on the school board, I am personally endorsing Mrs. Joanne Gum. As Delmar Education Association President I have had the opportunity to work closely with Mrs. Gum and the District Administration in developing the District's Race to the Top (RTTT)plan. The collaboration we have enjoyed has brought many positive changes to the District. Mrs. Gum is intimately familiar with the RTTT plan and deserves the opportunity to lead the School Board through the implementation process. Additionally, Mrs. Gum's experience includes a term as President of the DE State School Board Association. With Mrs. Gum we have a proven leader who is committed to a collaborative process and to working tirelessly towards the ultimate goal, student achievement. I encourage everyone to vote on May 10 for Joanne Gum for the Delmar School Board.
Debbie Keenan

Anonymous said...

While I know there are many people in Delmar that do good things, including Ms. Gum, anyone sitting on the Board of Education who doesn't want to look at the "future" and look at only today, this week or this year, don't belong on the board.
A lot of times, elected officials and elected board members don't realize that the decisions and plans they make today have an impact 10,20,30 years down the road.
You have to plan NOW for the FUTURE.

Anonymous said...

Unfortunately, with education, the future depends on the now, in respect to testing requirements, accountability, and qualifications. Children are only in middle school for 3 or 4 years, then high school for 4. The future can change several times in the course of those 7 years. And children become rats in an education experiment run by the state and federal government. My child is in 11th grade, learned the DSTP way; now no testing at all for that level. Middle school is learning the DCAS way, have their big tests this month, and no doubt will have another method to learn before reaching HS.

Anonymous said...

Did anyone ask Ms. Morelli her opinion on the HS student health center and school-provided birth control?

Anonymous said...

Yes, the future does depend on the now, but if you're not looking at the future TODAY, what you do today may not matter at all in the future!

Anonymous said...

the school does not provide birth control. they parent must approve and then fill a prescription from a dr.

Anonymous said...

who cares who Debbie keenan likes. she has divided the staff anyway, and Gum is up her butt!