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Examiner
  • Q-5 with Mark O’Renick

  • Mark O’Renick is a candidate for the Independence Board of Education. O’Renick has filed for one of two, six-year terms.

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  • Mark O’Renick is a candidate for the Independence Board of Education. O’Renick has filed for one of two, six-year terms.
    Mark O’Renick, 47, is a lifelong resident of Independence and Sugar Creek. He has been married to Debbie O’Renick for 25 years. She is a teacher and cheerleading coach at William Chrisman High School. They have one daughter, Anna, who is a sixth grader at Bingham Middle School. O’Renick is president and co-founder of Salva O’Renick, a strategic sales and marketing integration firm, and an active member of the community.
    1 Why are you running for a seat on the Independence Board of Education?
    The business of running the school district has become increasingly complex. In addition, we will face significant budget challenges in the years to come. How we address these issues will shape the future success or failure of the district. I am hoping to put my business, government and educational experience to work making sure we don’t lose sight of our priorities – supporting teachers and students with the resources they need to grow and succeed.
    2 How would you address the financial challenges facing the school district in the next few years?
    First, is making sure the financial management structure is sound. This includes scenario planning to anticipate future shifts in revenue or expenses. Second, is finding ways to reduce expenses that will have the least impact on students and teachers. Looking at the cost of the district’s administrative function for example. On the revenue side, making sure state and federal budget priorities are in line with the district and building public-private partnerships will be key.
     
    3 Why do you feel like the $85 million bond issue approved in November is important for the future of the Independence School District?
    This shows that our community is willing to invest in improving our schools. With the addition of schools in western Independence and Sugar Creek we have a greater sense of pride than ever before, and improving facilities adds to this. It is critical, however, that we manage the district’s finances wisely so we don’t lose this momentum. Programs like Parents as Teachers and maintaining good student/teacher ratios are key to success in the classroom.
     
    4 What is your opinion of the 12 Blocks West Project, which the Independence School District is heavily involved with?
    Do you see it helping not only the city of Independence, but also the school district? Having been involved with real estate and community development, I’ve seen the benefits of projects that help stabilize neighborhoods. Projects like 12 Blocks West foster a sense of community that increases pride and support for schools. At the same time, schools provide resources that provide stability for children, their families and the neighborhoods they live in. With a tough budget picture, weighing the investment in programs like 12 Blocks West against core educational needs is key.
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