Norma Staaf is challenging incumbent Casey Smith for Mountain View School District’s Zone 2 seat. The following are their profiles.
Education: High school graduate
Family: Eight children, 39 grandchildren, and two great-grandchildren
Experience/Qualifications: Four years Mountain View Trustee, two years Governor’s Business Advisory Board
Web or social media: Facebook Casey Smith; email@example.com
Running for school board to
1) Keep unhealthy influences from outside organizations.
2) Protect children physically. Helped arm teachers.
3) Bring fiscal responsibility to the district.
4) Provide positive education for children. Have 11 grandchildren and three foster children in MVSD.
The teachers union is promoting very liberal candidates that will promote and encourage leftist agendas. I will continue to reject and fight against influence from the national Education Association, Planned Parenthood, and LGBT organizations.
1) Financial security is always a concern. The state is very inadequate at funding schools.
2) Physical safety for teachers and students.
3) Protecting children from hideous curriculums pushed by Planned Parenthood, LGBT groups, and NEA. Sex ed and gender teachers are inappropriate for pre-school and kindergarten children and should not be taught by leftist educators.
Norma E. Staaf
Education: Bachelors of Science of Landscape Architecture, Purdue University, 1984
Family: Husband Nick Hazelbaker
Length of residence in the area: We have lived in the Harpster area since 2012 after purchasing a homestead property owned by Nick’s family since the 1930s. We manage the forests, fruit trees and fields on our property and enjoy the freedom of our rural lifestyle. Four generations of our family have attended Idaho County schools with three current Mountain View students.
Occupation: Freelance writer, substitute teacher and library substitute
Web or social media site: https://www.normastaaf4schools.com and facebook Normastaaf4schools@zone2sd244
I believe that public schools, like churches and libraries form the cornerstone of public life in our small communities. I think it is important to maintain and strengthen all of the schools in the district and improve the connections of the school with people in the communities. I believe in putting students first in our decisions. All students should feel safe and welcomed in our schools and free from bullying.
I want to improve the communication between the school board of trustees, teachers, students, parents and community members. I believe that the board should be as transparent as possible in its decision-making and I value listening to other ideas whether during public input sessions at meetings, by email, personal contacts, etc.
I have the proven ability to work with a variety of people addressing some challenging topics. I have 15 years of experience serving on boards of directors for various non-profit organizations and worked well with other board members.
During my 30+ years of serving the public working for the U.S. Forest Service, primarily in the mountains of rural Idaho, I worked on many controversial projects. As a recreation planner on the Nez Perce-Clearwater Forest planning team I frequently presented information and answered questions from county commissioners, congressional staff, community leaders, forest products industry, miners, recreational interest groups, environmental groups. I have the confidence to work with other board members to make sound decisions to solve the school district’s problems even when it is difficult.
I believe it is important for board members to have first-hand knowledge of what happens in school classrooms.
I volunteer for Upriver Youth Leadership Council activities, library programs, assisting with the Valley Educational Support Team (VEST) Fest and other fundraising to benefit students.
1.) In the past year I have seen a lot of conflict between the board members, community members, teachers and administrators.
We need to remember why we are here—to provide a quality education in safe, welcoming schools within our budget. I will work with other board members to strengthen our relationships with the superintendent, teachers, parents, students and community members to move our school district forward. We need to improve the negotiation process with the teachers. I have learned from previous board members that teacher negotiation sessions used to involve the entire board and a neutral facilitator to avoid the breakdowns in communication we have seen recently. We are fortunate this year to find an experienced superintendent to come out of retirement to work for the district for one year. It is critical to begin early next year to begin the hiring process for a new superintendent with the skills and temperament to work with the board (and staff) and to help keep everyone in their own lanes.
2.) With the uncertainty of Forest funds in recent years, how do we secure a predictable flow of funding without burdening local landowners?
I will communicate with the state legislature on changing the state’s schools funding formula to address the unique challenges of rural schools. I will work with the board to pursue grant funds at the programmatic level in addition to project-specific grant funds already being used. I will listen to ideas from school staff and community members on cost efficiencies that could be implemented without affecting the students.
3.) Recruit and keep teachers with the certifications needed to provide students with the education they need for their future, whether that is college, career-technical, trade school or directly into the workforce.
One thing I have heard from a number of people is wanting to increase teaching trades, such as plumbing and electrical work in addition to the successful welding program. Local businesses and government agencies may be able to work with the schools on developing real-world programs for practical skills.
I will work with the board and staff to establish a fair and consistent process across all district schools for pay, benefits, hiring and contract renewal decisions. This would help provide some certainty for teachers and aids from year to year without dramatic swings in salary and benefits. Keeping a good teacher in place is easier than training new teachers, so reducing turnover would benefit students.
People have asked me what I think about the school district’s gun policy, adopted by the Board of Trustees in February 2017 and revised in January of 2019. I support this policy and do not see a reason to change it.