CLOSE

Across Greater Lansing, voters have begun to cast ballots for the 2020 general election – absentee ballots are being sent out, with in-person voting to follow on Tuesday, November 3.

LSJ asked area candidates running for office to share their backgrounds and answer a few questions on major topics to aid voters in their decisions. Read excerpts from their answers, in their own words, below.

Guillermo Lopez (Incumbent)

 No response.

Nino Rodriguez (Incumbent)

Responses below.

Robin Moore

Responses below.

Questionnaire section

Candidates answer questions on major topics

Why do you want to be a member of the school board and what qualifications do you bring?

Lopez: No Response.

Rodriguez: I want to continue providing the best ideas and programs for all our students and our community.  My promise to this wonderful community is to make sure our children continue on a path to a great future. I have dedicated my life to education, to children and their families, as a teacher, administrator, and board member.  This has been my home for more than 48 years.

Moore: I think it’s important to be involved in what matters to you. What matters to me is quality education that is equitable for everyone. Being a member on the LSD school board would allow me the opportunity to serve students, educators and the greater community.

I am a proud graduate of the Lansing School District (LSD) and a longtime resident of the Lansing area. I am also a mother of three wonderful children which two have graduated from LSD and one currently attends. With over 20 years of experience working in Higher Education in the Lansing area, I am committed to serving students, employees, and parents of the district.

What are your priorities if elected?

Lopez: No Response.

Rodriguez: To promote and improve a positive school culture, support quality teaching to improve student achievement, to be sure students are able to return to their buildings (when it is deemed safe) and that we provide them with the best new possible adjustment and continue to serve as a voice for the Lansing community.

Moore: My priorities would be how to reopen in the most safe and effective way. Additionally, there is a significant need to provide helpful guidance and support for students and their families during this time. I think it is important to evaluate the needs of the educators, parents and students and provide resources for their success. 

Lansing is the region’s most diverse school district, but is it doing enough to address diversity, equity and inclusion among students, faculty and staff? What changes would you make?

Lopez: No response.

Rodriguez: Lansing was doing what we thought was the best for equity and inclusion.  At this time, I am aware that we need to review, modify, and create a new environment where equity and inclusion have a new definition and perspective. 

We have started to create an equity committee.  We need to study and modify whatever is needed to be sure that the future produces positive changes.  One thing I recommend is to review all the policies to ensure that they are sensitive and correct regarding diversity, equity and inclusion.

Moore: I believe it is imperative that everyone has a safe space to embrace, learn and celebrate each other’s differences. I would like to see educators and staff involved in DEI work so they can better serve and understand their students. Also, I would encourage administration to revisit the hiring process to address the lack of diversity among educators, administration and staff.

Robin M. Moore (Photo: Submitted)

Lansing defunded police officers assigned to its high schools due to budget concerns this year. Do you support returning police officers to the high schools when the budget allows? Why or why not?

Lopez: No response.

Rodriguez: I support a good relationship between the police department and the Lansing School District. Our students need positive experiences with the police department. This requires the schools to establish programs where the police and the students can learn from each other.

Moore: I believe that if the budget allows the return of police officers it should be used to fund alternative methods. Schools are not designed to be policed in my opinion. I would like to see funding positions such as social workers, counselors and educational support – staff members who could best help the students in their time of need. 

Do you believe your school district is doing enough to prevent the spread of coronavirus? Do you agree with the decisions made in your district as it relates to in-person, online or hybrid learning? If not, why not?

Lopez: No response.

Rodriguez: I agree with what the Lansing School District and the Lansing School Board are doing at the present time in regard to the Coronavirus. I believe they have followed the advice provided by the medical experts. It has been a tough decision, however, an appropriate one.

Moore: I do believe that the Lansing School District made the right decision by transitioning to remote learning. The safety of the students, educators and staff is vital. With that said, remote learning is the most appropriate option at this time.

Is Michigan doing enough to improve the quality of its public schools? Explain your answer. If you believe more state funding is needed, where in the state budget should it come from?

Lopez: No response.

Rodriguez: Michigan is not doing enough to support quality public education for all. One way to improve is to start education from birth to five, have less students per classroom, and promote learning at every level.

 The legislators and the governor have to prioritize quality education as a top goal and find the necessary dollars for it.  They know how to assign dollars and I hope that they are doing so to help the students and not for political reasons.

Moore:  I believe Michigan is doing enough. However, while Michigan is doing enough, certain districts could benefit from additional resources to better serve their students. It would be hard to indicate where in the state budget funding should come from. But I do believe we need to make sure education is equitable for everyone. Every district deserves appropriate funding to provide quality education.

The above information was compiled from questionnaires emailed to each candidate. If you have questions about our process, email [email protected] To support work like this, consider subscribing. For more information, visit LSJ.com/subscribe.

Read or Share this story: https://www.lansingstatejournal.com/story/news/politics/elections/2020/10/05/election-2020-candidates-lansing-school-board-their-own-words/5895921002/