(Editor’s Note: iHeartGlassCity has invited all candidates and issues to submit a column, to better educate the voters on the upcoming November 3rd election.)
Written by: Stephanie Eichenberg
“What made you decide to run for Toledo School Board?”
I am running for Toledo (Public) School Board because I want TPS to be a place of opportunity not only for my children but for all of Toledo’s children, as it was for me when I graduated from Bowsher High School. Toledo Public Schools District has done many things right in recent years. I believe as a member of the Board of Education, I can help to continue this movement in a positive direction.
TPS has developed many innovative programs, such as Toledo Technology Academy, the Aviation Center, and the Early Risers music program for grades 5-8 that bolsters arts education. These approaches have helped TPS to gain grant funding for Career Tech education and retain students. They were largely the result of collaboration between the administration and staff. With the confidence of the voters, TPS passed a new money levy last year.
While I celebrate these recent gains, I believe we must support them with thoughtful budget planning in the next few years to fill the gaps of expiring grants, anticipate potential state and federal funding changes and address the growing staffing crisis that we have as a district. Our teachers are currently working to the rule to protest not being fully wage restored to 2010 levels, we lose a host of principals to higher paying suburban districts every year now, and we are currently struggling to hire secretaries. These issues are ultimately budget problems and they need to be solved. Two and three years from now we will be asking voters to renew levies and we need to maintain voter confidence as we tackle these issues.
I am running to make sure tough decisions ultimately reflect the best interests of our students so that we can continue our path of creating opportunity.
“Why do you feel you are best qualified?”
All of that business above may sound a bit boring with budgets and staffing. While it’s important and my twenty years of business experience helps to qualify me on that count, I think my demonstrated commitment to Toledo’s children as a boots on the ground parent advocate makes me one of the two candidates for whom you should cast your vote for Toledo School Board.
As the President of Beverly PTO I led the effort to secure a grant and funding while coordinating with TPS administration to move our old playground and expand our usable outdoor space, with improvements ongoing.
In 2014 I went to Columbus to testify before the Ohio House Education Committee against a bill that would have mandated more standardized testing for more grades and subjects. In 2015 I’ve continued my efforts to be a voice against high stakes testing as a member of the Northwest Ohio Friends of Public Education.
As a TPS Levy Chair in 2014 I spoke to the community about parent support for the successful levy effort.
Taking the reins of TPS Parent Congress as President in 2015, I’ve grown parent attendance from 4 schools to over 20 schools. We come together to discuss and learn about topics such as discipline, state testing and our dress code. I led Parent Congress to pass a resolution calling for the reduction of testing that was shared with our State School Board and State Legislators.
I’ve led Parent Congress to partner with TPS and Partners in Education to bring Parent University to Toledo. TPU is a program where parents can connect and engage with topics that impact parenting and their children’s education.
As a member of the TPS Performance Audit Advisory Panel from 2013 until now, I have become familiar with TPS operations and programs, while providing feedback to TPS administrators on their implementation decisions.
I have demonstrated both knowledge of our schools and a commitment to helping the children of TPS by volunteering, advocating, bringing parents and schools together and giving of my personal time and energy for 4 years before I’ve asked for anyone’s vote.
“What is the one thing people should know about you?”
I am a high information decision maker. I make sure to not only do my own research, but to make sure I’ve listened to and asked opinions of representatives of all involved parties before decisions are final. Informed decisions are better decisions.
For more information on Stephanie Eichenberg, visit her website