Elizabeth Padgett (Liz) Keith (Taxpayer Friendly)

Watchdog Lebanon Home Page Allen D. Douglass LCSC Board of Trustees Candidate Rating Web Page

Address: 1305 S 400 E, Lebanon 46052 
Phone: (317) 769-4996
E-mail: lizpk@tds.net 

Watchdog Indiana Lebanon Community School Corporation Board of Trustees Candidate Questions - 2014 General Election

1. Do you anticipate the need for holding a referendum to pass a property tax levy outside the property tax caps for school operating expenses before 2019? ANSWER: No. LCSC is financially solvent. Our enrollment is gradually increasing, but so will our state funding to cover the additional cost of those students.

2. Will you support new capital project bond issues before 2019? ANSWER: It is possible that I would support a new capital project bond. Each bond proposal would have to be evaluated individually. If deemed necessary and fiscally prudent, I would support one. On the subject of capital improvements, of concern to some is the rapid growth of the Whitestown/Worth Township area. Our current facilities provide room for significant growth in enrollment. Perry-Worth is the elementary school designated for those K-5 students. It is currently at an enrollment of 375 students with a maximum building capacity of 600, leaving an expansion space of 225. Sixth through twelfth grade can be accommodated as well in our existing buildings. LMS has room for 292 more students and LHS has space for 312 additional students. When you add together additional space in all elementary schools, LMS and LHS, the total expansion capacity is 2,474 for students in grades K-12. There is plenty of room for significant growth without building additional space.

3. Do you believe more Lebanon High School graduates should be motivated and prepared to enroll in college? ANSWER: All students should be motivated to achieve to their best potential. For some, that is preparation to enter a four-year college. For others, that means a trade or vocational school. Some students may go directly into the workforce. We need to prepare our students for a successful future as contributing members of our society, whatever educational path or career field they choose, and show respect for their choices.

4. Should more LCSC students be included in the gifted and talented education track? ANSWER: If a student is able to handle the work in a high ability setting, they should have the opportunity to take those classes. The designation of a student being "purposefully placed" is a great avenue to test if a student should be in the high ability program. Students participate in H.A. over the course of a school year and then are evaluated and either placed completely in the H.A. program, placed H.A. in certain subject areas or it is determined that they would be better served in general education classes.

5. Should more Lebanon High School students earn Core 40 with Honors Diplomas and take Advanced Placement courses so they will need fewer remediation classes in college? ANSWER: If a student intends to go to college, they should be taking A.P. courses. Mr. OíRourke, LHS principal, gave an excellent presentation at the last school board meeting urging a shift in thinking about A.P. classes. All students considering college should be exposed to the higher expectations and larger workload of an A.P. class to help prepare them for the demands of college.

6. Do you support a joint program between the school corporation and the new Vincennes University Training and Education Center in Lebanon where interested students can earn an associates degree in advanced manufacturing upon graduation from Lebanon High School? ANSWER: Yes. This is a great opportunity we can offer to our students. I am very excited the Vincennes University is coming to Lebanon!

7. Why is the percentage of LCSC students earning a Pass Plus on the ISTEP Math exams declining a great deal beginning in the sixth grade? ANSWER: I searched the Indiana Department of Education website for statistics to support the assertion that there is a great decline in students earning a Pass Plus on the ISTEP Math exam beginning in the sixth grade. The information available to the public does not include "Pass Plus" statistics, only the comparison of "pass" and "did not pass". Mr. Aaron Smith with Watchdog Indiana had previously requested those numbers from IDOE and was able to provide Pass Plus statistics for me. Based on the numbers provided for 2012-13, there is a decline in Math Pass Plus starting in the 6th grade. The results were 21% of 6th graders, 20% of 7th graders and 14% of 8th graders achieving Pass Plus. There can be many factors in determining why these scores declined. The best place to start to find that answer is regularly reviewing math curriculums. Contact math teachers to get their input on how to improve those scores. They will have the best perspective as they are in the classroom each day teaching the material.

8. How would you improve outcomes on the ISTEP Social Studies exams? ANSWER: As with any subject matter, the social studies curriculum needs to be regularly reviewed to ensure that we have the most effective tools being used in our classrooms. Contact should be made with social studies teachers to find out what is working and not working. Those teachers should then be given what they need to do their job, trusting that they are professionals who can and will complete the task. School administrators regularly review teacher performance to make certain learning is happening as it should.

9. What should be done to increase the percentage LCSC third grade students passing the Indiana Reading Evaluation And Determination (IREAD-3) assessment without summer remediation? ANSWER: As with many issues in education, there must be support at home. Reading is a skill that needs to be practiced and reinforced outside of school hours in order for a student to be proficient. If that is not happening, it makes a classroom teacherís job very difficult. They are reading at school, providing intervention and doing all they can do to develop a childís reading skills. This is an area where volunteers can be very useful. I have spent many hours reading with elementary students. Giving them the opportunity to read aloud and practice with someone is very valuable. The United Wayís ReadUP program is a great source of skilled volunteers. We need to seek out qualified volunteers to spend one-on-one time with our kids and continue make use of literacy programs that already exist in our community.

10. Do you agree with the decision to cut all kindergarten aides at all Lebanon elementary schools this year? ANSWER: While it is hard to see any position cut within the district that has a direct effect on certain classrooms, it is important for the school administration to evaluate each year where instructional money is being best spent. With increasing enrollment in our district, keeping class sizes as low as possible is a priority. By eliminating instructional assistants in kindergarten classrooms, money was freed up to add teachers in other areas. I certainly donít like the idea of kindergarten teachers losing their I.A.ís, but I respect the fact that this was a difficult decision that was thoughtfully considered by school administrators and the determination was that the money would be better spent in other classrooms.

11. What is your occupation and what skills do you have relative to serving as a trustee for the school corporation? ANSWER: I am employed by Athletes in Action. My husband and I both work for this organization. My role is administrative and support-based, primarily handling financial work. Previously, I worked in advertising and event marketing. I worked for two advertising agencies in Indianapolis as an account representative. For three years, I was employed in the marketing department of Talbots, Inc. in Hingham, Massachusetts. My supervisor and I managed the largest portion of the companyís advertising budget - $40 million annually. In addition to my occupation, I am a regular volunteer at Perry-Worth Elementary. At the direction of my childrenís teachers, I work with students who are in need of additional help. I also complete tasks that help the teachers such as make copies or work on bulletin boards. I volunteer for P.T.O. events. I am very familiar with the school environment and feel very strongly about contributing as I can to the success of our schools.

12. What is your educational philosophy relative to the responsibilities of the school board? ANSWER: Lebanon schools serve a wide variety of students and families. There are students who are very academically focused who need to be prepared to excel at prestigious four-year universities and beyond. There are students who must be convinced that a high school diploma is worth the challenge of staying in school to earn it. There are many more students that have needs that fall somewhere in between. LCSC canít take their focus off either end of that spectrum. In the end, it is our job as a school system and community to produce responsible, educated, contributing members of our society.

13. How would you help teachers in the classroom be more effective in their teaching? ANSWER: Teachers need encouragement and support. They need to know that they are critical to the success of our schools and students. When pay raises are warranted and affordable, they should get a raise. They should have the materials they need in their classrooms. Classrooms should be equipped with helpful technology as much as possible.

14. Should users of the Herman B Wells Community Conference Center at Lebanon High School be allowed to serve beer and wine? ORIGINAL 10/03/2014 ANSWER: Yes Ė with very strict guidelines. When you first consider the idea, it may seem foolish to even think of allowing beer and wine in the building. However, this is a community room, not just property of the school system. The city contributed $500,000 towards its construction. The room is designed in such a way that it can be completely closed off from the high school, providing a barrier between those renting the space and students. As such, it was designed with the purpose of LCSC, businesses and others within the community using the room. This space was a much needed addition to our community. Renters of the room who would like to serve beer or wine must be held completely liable. They would sign a contract accepting all responsibility. Beer and wine cannot be stored on-site, but carried in and out by the renter or caterer. Beer and wine cannot be served during school hours. With these provisions, I think it is acceptable. UPDATED 10/25/2014 ANSWER: In the past few weeks, the issue of beer and wine being offered as a catering option for renters of the Herman B. Wells Community Conference Center has become a controversial topic in our community. As I have talked to people, I have heard valid opinions on both sides of the argument from people I know well and greatly respect. It is difficult to tell which side has the majority. I stated in my answer to this question a few weeks ago that I would be okay with beer and wine being offered as an option for renters. Since that time, I have questioned three issues regarding the policy: necessity, student safety and liability. 1. Is it really necessary to offer the option of beer and wine? Why are we even considering this? Does it apply to a large number of potential renters? 2. High school students are in the building during odd hours, not just the school day. They would not be able to get into the room itself, but can student safety be properly addressed in the parking lot? 3. Can LCSC be totally protected from liability if there is an issue resulting from beer and wine service? While I am certainly tempted to change my answer to "no" because of the issues highlighted above, I just donít think the policy has gone through the necessary process to draw out sufficient public input on both sides of the debate. It may seem indecisive of me to have this opinion, but I think it is prudent to continue to seek out the facts and hear more public comment. I would suggest a public meeting where the policy could be presented, questions asked and public comment taken. It is important to remember that the school board is a representative body. While each board member can and should express their own opinion, the school board as a whole must consider public input when making a decision.

15. Do you wish to make some additional comments about your candidacy? Do you have a campaign phone number and E-mail address? Do you have a website? ANSWER: I am a Lebanon native and proud graduate of Lebanon High School. My husband and I chose to return to this community and make our home here because it is an excellent place to raise children. Central to making Lebanon a place of excellence is an outstanding public school system. LCSC continues to grow and develop into a school system that is a source of pride for our community. I would like to serve my community as a school board member to contribute to the continuing success of our schools. We have three children who are Lebanon students. Over the past six years, I have spent many volunteer hours in their classrooms. I have seen first-hand the exciting achievements that happen each day as well as the challenges faced by our teachers, administrators and other school staff. The knowledge and experience I have gained through this time in the schools would provide a valuable perspective as a school board member. Moreover, I have taken a keen interest in the many changes and mandates handed down by our state and federal governments. I am familiar with these legislative policies that greatly affect the functioning of our local schools. I humbly ask for your vote and the opportunity to serve as a member of the Lebanon Community School Corporation Board of Trustees. My educational background: 1990 graduate of Lebanon High School; 1994 graduate of DePauw University, B.A. in Political Science. I can be reached at 317/769-4996 or at lizpk@tds.net. You can also find me on Facebook at "Liz Padgett Keith for Lebanon School Board".

Watchdog Lebanon Home Page Allen D. Douglass LCSC Board of Trustees Candidate Rating Web Page

This page was last updated on 10/27/14.