Age: Over 60 years old
Years of residence in Bonner County and Idaho: Resides in Sagle; Bonner County property owner for 23 years
Marital status/family. Are, or were, you a parent of a child in the school district? My wife, Susan Arima-Miller and I have been married for 25 years. Our daughter, Brighten is a successful graduate of the LPOSD, she graduated with honors from SHS and was awarded a scholarship from the University of Idaho where she is studying towards a career in speech pathology. GO VANDALS!
How can the public contact you?
Donations/address: 217 Cedar Street #170, Sandpoint, ID 83864
Education: I hold a Master's degree in Traditional Chinese Medicine and support and participate in several local causes.
Recent or pertinent employment history:
I own and operate a small business, Dr. Splinter's Woodworks, out of Sagle since 1997. My wife, Susan, has been practicing acupuncture in Sandpoint since 1999.
Nonprofit and service groups or relevant professional organizations to which you belong:
I currently serve as a Board member on the local Injectors' Car Club. In addition to car shows and events, we believe in actively supporting our community with fundraisers to support hospice, Toys for Tots, the food Bank, Senior Center and Cancer Society. The Injectors also help SHS football team by assisting with the car for their annual Lost in the '50s car raffle.
What particular experiences or skills qualify you to serve on the school board?
I offer my 40 years of experience as a successful business owner and craftsman to guide and support P-tech and the restoration of our aging schools facilities. Pro-education and fiscal responsibility supports both our students and community.
1. Why are you running for trustee? How much time can you devote to board service?
I have been a local specialty building contractor for over 20 years. Having worked with many contractors and businesses, a common theme emerges, lack of qualified motivated employee candidates for various areas of the trades. I am running to further promote and support a more flexible and responsive educational experience for those students who are not college bound but show aptitude and interest with tactile skills. I can devote at least five (5) hours per week, more when required.
2. How many school board meetings have you attended this past year? How many schools in our district have you visited? Are you involved in other school activities?
Eight school board meetings. I have visited six (6) area schools – SHS, SMS, Sagle, Washington and Farmin Stidwell Elementary. I support and have attended football, soccer and la cross games as well as drama and musical performances and concerts as well as the many fundraisers to support these important activities.
3. Do you believe the district is doing a good job or poor job in educating students? Why?
In academics - relatively yes. However, in other areas of preparing our students to succeed in practical life applications this can be greatly improved.
4. Describe the top three to five issues you believe are facing our school district, with your position on these issues.
a. Only 45 percent of students will complete at least one year of post-secondary education or training by the age of 35.
b. We need to strongly support and encourage trade and life skills for the remaining 55 percent of students. This will provide an opportunity for their success and continued stability of our community.
The 3 issues of most concern voiced by Zone 2 (of which I would be representing) are:
a. Lack of accountability and transparency regarding fiscal matters.
b. Poor communication from the district, no opportunity to communicate input prior to major decisions.
c. Graduating students with few practical skill sets.
5. Last August, the school district proposed a $55 million plant facility levy to rebuild Sandpoint Middle School, Northside School, most of Washington School, and address district-wide facility and maintenance needs identified as critical. The levy failed, with 65% voting against. Did you vote for or against it, and why? Do you believe the levy was addressing real needs? How should the district fund replacement and repair of schools?
I felt there was a real need for maintenance and/or replacement of some areas of the various schools that I saw. The concerns I had in deciding to vote for or against the levy was lack of information as to how these funds would be allocated. In any building project, there is a bid which itemized a breakdown of costs. I believe this should have been run as a bond levy to reduce the impact on taxpayers in the district. Once proper analysis is complete with industry accurate budget estimates, I would gladly support a construction and maintenance bond to further support our districts' needs.
We have many skilled, competent tradesmen in this district. We need to be sure that our local contractors receive a significant share of the work involved to benefit our community rather than sending the funds out of town.
6. The recent $17 million supplemental instructional levy passed March 14, with 64% voting in favor. Did you vote for or against this levy, and why?
Zone 2 voted 57 percent against this levy, their reasons varied:
a. Lack of budget transparency
b. School maintenance deferred 10 years
c. Why the district runs levies off normal voting cycle at a cost of $75,000 each time they run their special election. The county taxpayers are paying for this in addition to any levy amounts.
7. To bring down costs, would you support closing rural schools such as Clark Fork, Northside or Southside? Would you support larger class sizes? Would you support saving money on extracurricular activities, including athletics, by charging fees to participate?
The school board receives monies from the Federal Government specifically for rural schools. How is this money being allocated? I would like to have information regarding the answer to how monies are currently being spent before I can base a decision on such an important topic.
8. What changes, if any, would you seek in the district's curriculum?
According to Business Insider, compared to global standards, our students rank below average in math and science achievement. We need to strengthen basic math skills and encourage scientific curiosity.
9. What do you see as the role of technology in education?
While the use of various technologies is necessary in our everyday lives, many students seem to have weak basic math skills and critical thinking.
10. What, if anything, should our schools do about teaching values? Should our district teach about family life, sex education, AIDS? How should gay/LBGTQ issues be handled?
Which values? What or whose values are you proposing to teach? This question is vague and ambiguous. LBGTQ? Specifically, what issues are you referring?