Stephanie Horne: Candidate for JCPS Board - District 3

Stephanie Horne: Candidate for JCPS Board - District 3

1. What is the biggest issue facing JCPS? Is it a district trending in the right direction, wrong direction, or stagnant?

There are about 101,000 of them. That's the 2014 enrollment of our schools. Slogans and educational fads pale beside the importance of each and every one of those children. We must raise achievement, and ensure each and every one of our children graduate on time and ready for college, career and life.

JCPS is a district currently trending in a positive direction but our children can't wait. We need our Superintendent to lead a full court press collaboration amongst JCPS, the community and our parents to achieve better results, now. We have some of the best schools in the nation, but as a whole we need to address the achievement gap honestly and urgently so that all our children can reach their full potential.

2. How are you best qualified to make decisions for district with more than 100,000 students?

In my 20+ year career as a Real Estate Attorney I have been entrusted with hundreds of millions of dollars in client funds, having to account for every dollar. I work with a lot of people, many contracts, and large amounts of funds every single day.

My husband Andrew and I both attended public school. I've been married for 22 years, with two children, who attended Bowen Elementary, Kammerer Middle School, and Ballard High School. My younger son, Nick, is a senior at Ballard HS. The older, Tyler, graduated from JCPS and is a sophomore at American University in D.C.

You could say education runs in my family. Both my parents are retired educators who taught public school in Illinois. My Mom has a Masters in Early Childhood Education and my Dad received his Doctorate in Educational Psychology from Northwestern University in Chicago. My Grandfather served on the Board of Education for two terms in the town where I was born.

I have served on numerous boards, current and past, including the following organizations: Christ Church United Methodist Administrative Council member and Long Range Planning Team; Building Industry Association of Greater Louisville (formerly Homebuilders Association of Louisville) Board Member; Mortgage Bankers Association of Louisville Board Member; Kentucky Mortgage Bankers Association Board Member; Kentucky Chapter of the American Land Title Association Board Member; Women's Council of Realtors, Greater Louisville Board Member; Junior League of Louisville Board Member; Younger Women's Club of Louisville Board Member. Louisville Bar Association Real Property Section Chair; Kentucky Bar Association Real Property Section Chair. Metro United Way Campaign Committee Member.

I have volunteered in my children's Public Schools for years, and served as a weekly Work Fest volunteer, SBMD member (2 terms) and PTSA President at Ballard (2 terms). I have organized/led Talent Shows and multiple Clubs/activities, including starting Ballard's "Running with the Bruin's" Run/Walk School-wide fundraiser now in its 3rd Year.

I am passionate about education for all children. I know education changes lives!

3. What is your position on state Auditor Adam Edelen's recent assertion that JCPS is a top-heavy district with too many highly-paid administrators? What, if anything, would you do to address this?

The audit clearly showed a significantly larger number of central office administrators making over $100K and a higher average salary of such administrators at JCPS compared to our peer school districts. JCPS also had the largest gap between the salaries of central office administrators compared to teacher salaries. It is particularly troubling considering the audit showed JCPS spends the lowest amount, only 53% of the budget, on classroom instruction. Comparable peer districts spend a higher percentage on classroom instruction.

The audit noted that a comprehensive salary study had not been performed in recent years. I would call for the Superintendent to follow the recommendations in the audit: create and then perform a transparent annual salary review process, starting with these positions earning over $100K, but should include all salaries paid by JCPS.

4. What is your position on Edelen's assertion that the school board didn't properly understand the district's budget before voting on it? What, if anything, would you do to address this?

The Superintendent is responsible for making sure the Board is provided with the financial reports necessary to make informed decisions related to the JCPS budget. The audit said the Board was not provided with budget to actual reports that can be reviewed regularly so that variances can be discussed. This needs to happen, now! In the past the Board had a standing Finance Committee; it is concerning that there doesn't appear to be a consensus on the current Board to have a Finance Committee? Adding a Board Audit and Finance Committee appear needed.

5. The school board recently voted to approve a budget that held property taxes flat. Do you support that decision, or would you have voted to decrease or increase property taxes? Depending on your decision, what would you propose to cut, or what would you propose to spend the addition money on?

I supported the Board decision to not raise taxes. We have a 1.4 billion budget, and I believe that's enough. We need to get more funds into the classroom, now! We need a higher percentage of the JCPS budget to go to instruction. Our children need textbooks. Our teachers need classroom resources supplied to them by JCPS so they don't have to purchase classroom supplies themselves.