We highlighted information about each of the LPOSD school board trustee candidates in last week’s issue (May 4, 2017). Candidate Lonnie Williams sent in his information, but it came in after our deadline for layout, so we are presenting his information here. For all of the candidates’ information, check the SandpointOnline.com election page.
Years of residence in Bonner County and Idaho: 26 years
Marital status/family. Are, or were, you a parent of a child in the school district? I am married to Katie Murdock (Sandpoint native) and have been for almost 7 years. We do not have any children, we do have a black lab Bella, and a cat named Tink.
How can the public contact you?
Facebook Page: Lonnie Williams for LPOSD Trustee
Education: I graduated from SHS in 2003, I went to NIC for two years, and ended up graduating from Gonzaga University in 2009 with a degree in Business Administration.
Recent or pertinent employment history:
I am the Vice President of Sandpoint Title Insurance; I have worked here for the last 8 years. I also worked for the U.S. Forest Service on a fire crew before coming to Sandpoint Title.
Any public offices held: Not since high school. I was involved in student government all through school.
Nonprofit and service groups or relevant professional organizations to which you belong:
I belong to the Selkirk Association of Realtors, and we are involved in the many Philanthropic endeavors associated with the board.
•We are active supporters of Habitat for Humanities
•We are active supporters of the Bonner County Food Bank
•We are active supporters of Panhandle Alliance for Education
What particular experiences or skills qualify you to serve on the school board?
I have a diverse skill set of leadership and management that I have honed over my years of team sports, coaching and my working life. I take the approach that there is a solution to every problem, and through open dialogue any task can be conquered.
1. Why are you running for trustee? How much time can you devote to board service?
LW: I am running for trustee because I am passionate about our school district and the success of our students. I feel that we have come a long way in the last 20 years as a district and I want to build on that success. I believe that all the hard work and success that has been built over that time span is in jeopardy, and I know that with continued smart investment we can continue our success, and build on improving our weak points.
I can dedicate as much time as is needed to the school board. For years I coached soccer which is multiple hours a day of time and energy investment, so I know that I can dedicate the time needed to be a good member of the school board.
2. How many school board meetings have you attended this past year? How many schools in our district have you visited? Are you involved in other school activities?
LW: In the last year I have physically attended 1 school board meeting, but I have gone through the online archives of previous meetings including the levy proposals.
The only school in the district that I have not visited is Southside Elementary.
I am involved in the fundraising aspect of our school district through, Bulldog Bench & Panhandle Alliance for Education.
3. Do you believe the district is doing a good job or poor job in educating students? Why?
LW: Yes I do believe that the district is doing a good job in educating our students. There is always room for improvement, but on the whole we are doing very well as a district. One can see from the headlines that we receive for our High School being ranked #2 in the state, our very high SAT score ranking in the state among similar size schools and our clubs and sports constantly achieving high marks. Also our Elementary schools continually rank very high in the state for achievement.
I would love to see continued investment in vocational and technical courses and career paths for our students. We need to offer a wide range of choices to our students including those that are not on the traditional college track.
All of this is success is made possible by the hard work and investment of our dedicated teachers and staff. Without their dedication to the success of this district and our students, we would not be where we are today.
4. The recent $17 million supplemental instructional levy passed March 14, with 64% voting in favor. Did you vote for or against this levy, and why?
LW: I voted in favor of the recent supplemental levy, and I was a very strong supporter for it the whole way through the process. Supplemental levies are the unfortunate reality that we (as well as 88% of the state) have to live with in this state in order to fund our education system. Our levy makes up about 1/3 of our budget, and to cut that funding would have immediate detrimental effects to our district. There were over 100 full time jobs that were in jeopardy if the levy didn’t pass, as well as 100% of the extracurricular activities throughout the district.
I firmly believe that one cannot say that they are a true supporter of our school district, our teachers and staff and our continued success, yet vote against a levy that funds 1/3 of the budget.
A strong high achieving school district helps build a strong growing community, to risk erasing the hard work of our predecessors, and the success of this district, would be an immediate roadblock to future growth and success of our entire community.