State Board of Education candidates on the issues: Sex education, tax money and private schools, attracting teachers to Kansas

The Kansas State Board of Education helps direct policy on standards and objectives for the K-12 system.

Some voters in the western part of the Shawnee Mission area, including portions of Lenexa, Overland Park and Shawnee, will have the Republican primary for the State Board of Education District 3 seat on their ballots Tuesday.

Based on input from our readers, we developed a three-item questionnaire for the Republican candidates, Jason Winbolt and Michelle Dombrosky. The winner of that primary race will face Democrat Ruth E. Goff in the general election to replace outgoing member John Bacon.

Below are the answers we received to our questionnaire from Winbolt. Dombrosky did not respond to invitations via email and phone to participate in the questionnaire.

Question 1: What’s your philosophy on sex education in public schools? Should parents have to opt-in to sex ed programs for their kids? Or opt-out if they don’t want their kids to participate?

Jason Winbolt

Jason Winbolt: I believe that all parents and guardians should be notified when sex education is going to be taught, so they can help answer questions from their students.  How a school district goes about informing parents and guardians should be completely left up to the school district.  They know their community of parents and children best and have probably discussed this with building level Site Councils, PTOs, or other groups to understand what option the community wants.

Question 2: What’s your position on the use of Kansas taxpayer funding for private schools? Are there situations where you think it’s acceptable or advisable to direct state funds to private educational institutions? If so when and why?

Jason Winbolt: I don’t believe that public funds should go to private educational institutions. However, I would be open to discussing this if the private institution were to use the Kansas Department of Education Kansas Education Systems Accreditation program to receive their accreditation. This is to ensure that all institutions that are using public funds are held to the same standards.
Question 3: What could Kansas do to attract more teachers to rural districts and urban districts
Jason Winbolt: Recruiting and especially retaining highly qualified teachers to rural school districts is an issue I have seen as I traveled the state with the Kansas Association School Boards Leadership for Tomorrow program.  I think we need to create a loan repayment program that is similar to the Kansas Department of Health and Environment.  That program repays loans that were taken out by doctors, nurses and others for their education, if they work in a rural community.  The longer they work there, the more money they get repaid to their loans, up to $25,000 for up to 5 years.  A similar program would help first year teachers start their career with a solid financial foundation in which to build their life.