Farmington Schools Candidate Q&A: Kevin Hammer

Farmington Voice sent questionnaires to Farmington Public Schools candidates running on November 3. Responses are being published in the order they are received. Read all of our election coverage here: farmingtonvoice.com/f2h-votes-2020/.

KEVIN HAMMER (TWO-YEAR TERM)

Farmington Public Schools trustees recently approved a diversity proclamation, with one trustee dissenting. Please share your thoughts about the proclamation.

When we have so many who are uneasy with race relations, and with their view of equity and equality between races, then we all have a problem to deal with. However, the classroom is not the place to resolve these differences. What FPS can do to help solve these problems is to provide each child with a high quality education, teaching the basics, and thus instill logic, critical thinking and responsible citizenship.

And focusing on this mission, as a community, is the best thing we can do to foster respect amongst all in our FPS community, and achieve a sustainable, long-term solution to our socio-economic challenges.

Also, I would say that I’m concerned with the lack of details in the proclamation’s proposition, debate and passing. That is, I’m concerned with how much time and resources FPS will expend in an already stressed budget, and on teachers and administrators who are already stretched in their role of educating our students. We want more of our budget allocated to the classrooms, but the resolution seems to call for a diversion of those dollars. And we want to diminish distractions toward our mission, while the proclamation occupies more of our time.

Instead of assuming all in the FPS community are in need of heightened awareness of their implied biases, each person should be judged on the content of their character, and their own actions.

COVID-19 will impact the district’s budget, perhaps for years to come. What values, concerns, and priorities will you bring to the table when it comes time to make budget decisions?

Budgets are organizations’ values statements. We have to set and maintain budget priorities to reflect our values.

We’ve long had budget challenges, reflected in the fact that teachers haven’t had a wage increase for too many years. The pandemic will make these challenges more difficult. Now more than ever, we have to refine and clarify our focus on a performance-based plan to improve student achievement. That should be our priority.

We also need to lobby state government for a larger share of its budget, and work with the city, county and civic organizations for resource sharing.

Trustees have had some challenging conversations among themselves and have listened to a great deal of public comment over the past few months. What would you bring to the table to improve board relationships? How will you ensure residents’ concerns are heard and addressed?

I have had the pleasure of participating in many civic, school and church organizations over the years.

Much more often than not, I have been asked to take on leadership roles. I like to think this is because I’ve exhibited a cooperative, cordial and effective style in these roles. I would bring that attribute to the board.

I look forward to exploring effective ways to engage the community. I will make a purposeful outreach to all in the community and seek productive dialogue through respect and openness.

 

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