Laura Barker

Demographics

Independent

54

Oakwood Hills

Business Insurance , Market Financial Group

Single

Alexandra , 15

Andrea , 11

On the Record

What experiences do you have that make you a good candidate for office?

Having lived into the district since 1986 and having two children currently attending Prairie Grove School, we have enjoyed the many benifits a smaller school. I have worked in the Insurance industry for over 30 years, with many years of experience performing contract analysis, negiotiation including evaluation of potential expsoures to be considered. I believe it is critical to be flexible and openminded to all needs.I am running for office with 3 other vested community members; John Bowman, Margaret Ponga and Rick Salvo.

What are your top two or three priorities if elected?

I would like to evaluate the current expenditures of the school, finding ways to reduce expenses without compromising the wonderful education provided by the staff. Next,encourage community involvement! Without community involvement through committees there are no checks and balances. We should work with complete transparency so everyone knows what our tax dollars are being used for.

Would you support freezing your taxing district’s levy until housing prices rebound? Why or why not?

I would support freezing the taxing district’s levy, however freezing it at the individual property level is what needs to happen. Freezing at the taxing district’s level is freezing the whole, not each property’s levy. Today, when a person is granted a reduction in their taxes, that reduction amount is spread across the rest of the taxing district and the result is the taxing district’s revenue stream remains the same. Those that fight for a reduction pay less and those that don’t fight pay exponentially more so the overall revenue remains the same. The solution is individualized frozen levies so those that fight reduce their own levy and those that don’t fight continue to pay at their own frozen levy level. The result would be a true freeze and a true reduction in revenue for the taxing district. And during difficult times, the taxing district should realize a reduction in revenue and respond accordingly by finding areas where freezes or reductions in costs could be realized.

What one decision by the school board do you most disagree with and why?

The school board’s decision to dissolve all of the community committees and implement their Committee of the Whole (COW) meetings has had a negative trickle affect on our district and community. The government created the COW process so that an entire board could have a venue to meet with an entire committee to discuss that committee’s charter, not to eliminate committees from existence. We must re-engage the community! We need a finance committee, curriculum committee, policy committee, building/grounds committee, parent/community advisory committee, discipline committee, etc. As a board member, we need others to provide input and have committees with various levels of expertise to work together to discuss topics and address issues.

What was the biggest accomplishment of the board in the past year?

After over one year of the teachers working without a contract, being able to finally resolve the differences of the Teachers contract.

Why should voters elect you to office?

I believe a am a level headed person. I try to be open minded to all, doing what is in the best interest of the community.