28 Apr Susan Neal
Elko County School Board District 1
Campaign Contact Phone: 775-340-7351
Please share briefly what inspired you to run for this office and why you feel you’re qualified for the position.
In October 2021, I was appointed to Elko County School Board District 1 and would like to continue my work in this position. I am running for school board because I am passionate about the education and well-being of the students in this district and want to make a positive impact. Planning the education of our children is a daunting task and not one to be taken lightly. I know this because I am a retired educator. I believe it is important to build strong relationships and work collaboratively with all stakeholders to ensure the success of all of our children. Student achievement and implementing policies that ensure success for all students is of importance to me.
I am working collaboratively with the current board members and superintendent to continue the vision and goals of the district as well as developing new ideas to continue to move the district forward. Visiting all campuses and attending school events has given me the opportunity to have first-hand experience of the uniqueness of our district.
I know I can bring my experience, skills, and educational qualifications to this position. I am excited at the opportunity to continue to serve.
How do you propose that more funding be allocated to public education?
The Pupil-Centered Funding Plan was put into place in 2021. The education funding formula is different from what the state has had in the past. It has yet to be seen if this plan will generate enough funding for public education. Raising or adding taxes is never popular. Finding other avenues of revenue such as community/corporate partnerships and grants could be the key to finding more funding.
Parents are frustrated with the performance of public schools, its apparent nonresponsiveness to the community, and its current poor performance with student outcomes. What are your thoughts on how we can support public education and change this situation?
School boards need to work together with all of its stakeholders. The education community should work as a team instead of against one another. More communication between the district and the public is needed whether this be in the form of committees, newsletters, website, board meetings, etc. If a community supports education, students as well as everyone in the community benefits.
How would you propose changing the current funding formula to make it more equitable for children from poverty, English Language Learners and special education students?
The Pupil-Centered Funding Plan was approved in 2021. This plan provides weighted funding for at-risk students, English Language Learners, and Gifted and Talented students. Special Education student funding was removed from weighted funding and will remain in a separate account. At this time, it is too early to tell whether the changes in the Pupil-Centered Funding Plan will be adequate and equitable for all students.
There is a rise of bullying and racism in our schools. If elected, what steps would you make to ensure that our children can safely attend school?
The Elko County School District has had school resource officers in the schools for several years. This is a partnership between the district, city, and county. This partnership should continue for the benefit of our students’ safety. Each school, in collaboration with the district administration, develops a plan to address these issues.
Comprehensive, age and developmentally appropriate, medically-accurate, inclusive sex education has been proven to improve students’ long-term health outcomes, yet it is not required that students be provided with this information in their sex-ed programs. Do you believe that public school sex-ed programs should be comprehensive, medically accurate, and inclusive?
As a board member it is important to listen to the stakeholders (students, parents, school nurses, personnel, etc.) to develop a program that works best for all students. The program needs to follow district policy and state guidelines. Parents should have input into the program as well as whether their child participates.
Do you support ending the use of pepper spray on students by the school district police? Yes or No, and why?
School Resource Officers are trained to handle various situations. Each event is different depending upon the circumstances. Officers in the district are trained in deescalating situations using the least amount of force.
Post Covid we have many students who have not been able to catch up in their learning. It is particularly alarming that the younger students, who did not acquire reading skills during remote learning, are very far behind in reading proficiency. At the other end, we have seen a drop in Nevada’s high school graduation rates, with minorities, special ed, and ELLs now suffering a significant graduation gap. How do we address the needs of the Covid generation?
The schools in my district are addressing these situations. Each school has different needs, and they have addressed these in their School Performance Plans. Of importance is making sure these schools have the tools and resources to continue to meet their students’ needs.
What is your position on legislation such as Don’t Say Gay, and forcing transgender children to use bathrooms of their birth sex?
Accommodations can and should be made for all students. Sometimes this is done on a case-to-case basis. The school board’s job is to make sure they are acting in accordance with state statutes, federal laws, and district policies to benefit all students.
What is your position on restorative justice?
The school district has a District Restorative Discipline Plan which follows district policy and NRS code. The plan in place should be revisited by staff, revised if necessary, and approved by the school board.