Why vote for Diana Paccapaniccia?
“I think having a child go through the entire process of an Indiana education, and the fact that I have already been on the board for 7? years, going through two teacher contracts, two AFSCME contracts and a number of building projects” qualifies her for re-election, she said.
“I have been board president and evaluated the superintendent on a yearly basis. …
“I also have the time to put into the district … going to conferences, such as the PSBA conference that I have attended on a yearly basis.”
On balancing the budget with revenue increases and spending cuts:
“I don’t have a problem spending money where it needs to be spent, but one of the things school districts need to look at is becoming more efficient.
“The one issue that keeps coming up is closing an elementary school. I think it’s time to put that issue on the ballot as a referendum so we can finally put that debate to rest, whether the community is willing to support with increased taxes four elementary buildings, or do we actually close one.”
Paccapaniccia said the district needs to be careful about raising taxes and needs to set a policy for selling naming rights and advertising, but probably can no longer save through attrition without affecting students’ education.
On where to spend or save money:
“I think the areas that need to be controlled are the management of our buildings (the physical upkeep). … Technology is always going to be an issue we will have to spend money on. It’s expensive, it’s going to remain expensive, and it certainly is a priority.”
Other priorities for the board next two years:
“If money was not an issue, I would really like to look at our elementary buildings and see if they’re really meeting the needs of our students. … It’s fine if we’re fixing heating and roofing, but do we have classrooms and facilities for our special needs students?”
Paccapaniccia said reviews of board policies and the student handbook are under way, and she supports having a full-time clinical school psychologist on the staff as a security measure.
On academic priorities:
“We duplicate resources, especially in areas such as ICTC. If those are areas we have to cut back on, I certainly would look at those first.”
Paccapaniccia said some, if not all, advanced placement classes, the arts, and technology education also need to be maintained, and that students in the United States need to improve in math and sciences.
“I like the idea that we now have a cyber program and we’re going to have blended schools.
“That lets students chose their high and low priorities.”
On influencing the state of education:
“I think that keeping an open line of communication to our local representatives, Don White and Dave Reed, is important when local issues come up.”
Paccapaniccia is an advocate of easing the opportunity for students to make up work following an excused absence for educational reasons.
Students now are required to turn in missed work on the day they return to school, whether they were suspended from school or excused for a school activity.
Paccapaniccia said students who were busy with school activities need extra time to turn in the work they missed.