I decided to take you up on your offer. I think it's a great idea.
Mary Cameron Replies to the Chamber of Commerce:
1. Do you support the Edison Project? Do you support possible future
Yes, I do support the Edison Project and it's future expansion if
Edison provides a rigorous academic program for ALL children: longer
school day and year; a curriculum that is grounded in 5 major areas;
regular and on-going assessment of student and teacher performance, and
high levels of parent involvement. As quoted in their 1997-1998 Year
One Executive Summary, "this approach exemplifies the tradition of
American PUBLIC education; to provide ALL students, regardless of
economic or social circumstances, with an education that is rooted in
democratic values, that is academically excellent and that prepares them
for productive lives."
2. Do you support the "full disclosure" resolution recently passed by
the School Board which requires full disclosure of the costs associated
with labor contracts prior to the Board voting?
The full disclosure resolution was proposed by me over a year ago. I
strongly believe that tax payers have a right to know what impact a
proposed contract settlement may have on our schools and community.
Futher, Negotiations Code of Ethics state: "The School Board and
administration will make every reasonable effort to provide accurate and
complete information to employees and the general public through
in-house publications, news media (printed and electronic) and other
3. What would be your long range plan for school locations, class size,
and grade configuration (i.e. should there be a standard for elementary,
middle, and high schools)?
I don't necessarily believe that every school has to look alike as
as grade configuration is concerned. I do however believe that
curriculum should be equal acorss the district, for example, Edison
provides music and Spanish for EVERY child beginning in kindergarten.
I would like to survey parents of 7th and 8th grade Central students.
My current position is that 7th and 8th graders do not belong in the
same school environment as 10th, 11th and 12th graders. Before pursing
the idea of building a middle school, I would like a needs assessment
4. A large percent of the district budget is personnel related, what do
you thing the impact of increasing personnel costs will be in relation
to current and future program demands and the budget? How would you
address this issue?
Elementary and secondary education is the largest item in the
state budget. I believe the problem of increasing personnel costs is
world-wide. Obviously if personnel cost continue to rise, something
needs to be cut. I believe we need to look at how other schools and
businesses are handling this problem. What is Edison doing? How are
they able to survive without making cuts, and make a profit? What re
local businesses doing? We may also need to look at our administrative
structure, what, if any areas can be downsized, joined, or elimanted?
Competing wages is an on-going battle. We want the best possible
the least amount of cost. Increasing health costs contribute to this
problem. Because many people relocate to Duluth because of it's quality
of life, I believe we need to promote our City more in this way,
advertising the quality of life and the quality of programs ans services
that we offer.
5. Do you support a "tax to the max" position regarding the property
tax levy? What options would you support to solve financial problems?
I do not in theory support taxing to the max, however, I did support
most recent decision to do so for a number of reasons: I was unsure of
what the state was going to do in the area of funding; I did not support
a 2 million dollar cut; I wanted to avoid a possible teacher strike,
because I did not have enough information, I had to make a decision that
was in the best interest of the children.
Other options: Using our resources to the maximum; involving the
business community and the Chamber in the decision and planning process;
building more collabortives with the City, County, UMD and Social
6. What is the number one issue facing the school district? How would
you address it and what role do you envision for the Chamber/business
I believe that the number one issue facing the school district is
declining enrollment and it's implication on schools and our community.
Again, I believe that we need to get input from the business community
and do mor brainstorming, such as with the School to Work
Partnership...more visioning and strategic planning.
I also believe that we need to look at changes in demographics,
the needs of our community, acknowledge them and work together to find
Mary L. Cameron--seeking re-election to School Board at-large seat
Mary L. Cameron
UMD Human Resources/Student Employment
255 Darland Administration Building