Jennifer Casey, Blue Springs Board of Education, elected in April to first term

1 Why was this the right time for you to serve on the Blue Springs Board of Education? I have worked extensively as a parent leader for many years not only in our Blue Springs District but as a state board member for Missouri PTA. Serving as a board member for our district is an extension of that work and enables me to continue to advocate on behalf of all children. I also believe that having a student in the district provides a helpful perspective on what is happening in our schools. I look forward to establishing even more relationships with the great staff of our district and helping to support their needs in order to meet the needs of our students.

2 What are your goals during your first term in office? As a parent leader one of my passions has always been parental involvement. Giving parents the tools they need to know how to be involved in their children’s educations and how to reinforce what they are learning in the classroom is vital. Student health and wellness are also at the top of my list. I look forward to continuing to see improvements in the link between student wellness and achievement.

3 What do you see as the biggest challenge facing the Blue Springs School District? With the economic challenges we are all facing, having the funding needed to meet the needs of our more than 14,000 students is a concern. State and national budgets are seeing the signs of our slow economy and as a result, our local effort is also straining to continue to meet our students’ educational needs. We must stand together for our children and make the decisions necessary to continue to provide the high quality education that has become a tradition in the Blue Springs School District.

Locally, we have seen the impact of TIF’s that have been issued within our district boundaries. These TIFs take dollars away from our schools and place more burden on our private citizens. That being said, our board and our district staff have continued to work hard to best allocate dollars and have demonstrated great fiscal responsibility in planning for the future and the education of our children.

4 Where do you see the Blue Springs School District in 10 years? The Blue Springs School District has always been top notch and I do not expect that to change. We must continue to plan for growth that will be coming in order to maintain the highest quality curriculum for our students. It will be important to continue to realign our goals and make the necessary changes to our curriculum and programs based on the needs that emerge. With the help of groups such as the Citizens Advisory Committee we will have a greater understanding of what is important to our community and our students will continue to shine.

5 Why is the relationship between the board of education and community members so important? Community leadership, cooperation and support work together to provide great opportunities for our students. The community is a key factor in the success of our district and our children. The recent passage of the bond issue with 89 percent approval demonstrates how important the community is to our success and their commitment to the students in our school district. Education is a partnership and we must all take an active role in providing the greatest opportunities for our children.