Welcome to the weekly SPOTLIGHT ON EDUCATION series. Education is one of Dennis’s top priorities. He has been talking with local teachers and asking them to share their stories. Not surprisingly many go above and beyond to fill voids in staffing and funding due to cuts in both. We are very fortunate to have a strong group of professional, dedicated educators who often use their own money, time and energy to make up for the shortfall in our schools. We will share some of those stories here on a weekly basis to illustrate how fortunate we are and how we need to find ways to help our teachers and staff.

The landscape of education has changed in the past ten years. Class sizes have increased, graduation rates are down, and schools have cut back on things our teachers need to ensure your child's success, well-being, and safety. 

Crucial staff positions like social workers, librarians, and school nurses are being eliminated. Teachers are counted on to fill those voids at a time when students who need additional attention in the classroom for emotional support are on the rise. 

Teachers and faculty face tougher challenges today, but with fewer resources than ever. In fact, the formula for funding schools hasn't been updated since 1993. It's time to re-examine this formula to reflect what is necessary in schools in 2018 and beyond.

The future, our children, are not profit centers. We owe them and our educators better. I will fight for what is in the best interest of teachers, faculty, and students.

September 7, 2018:

Read more about how area teachers become students over the summer to become better teachers and better understand what it means to be a student. They do this at their own expense at a time when most families are enjoying their summer vacations. In the business world, companies pay for their employees to attend conferences and educational sessions, but teachers need to do so on their own.… 

September 14, 2018

We don't often think of schools and teachers when we hear about children in need, yet both play important roles in their lives. During the Great Depression, many teachers stayed on even though they weren't paid. They had few resources and had to be creative to find ways to keep the school doors open and kids in school despite hardships on both sides. Times have changed, but budget shortfalls and low wages echo past times. 

A local school teacher talked with me about an anonymous donation she received in the mail to purchase necessities for needy students. "I cried as I read the note attached, in part because of the sheer kindness and generosity of the donation, and in part because I started thinking about the student needs that would surface again this year. This isn’t the way it should be.

Students shouldn't be in the bathroom rolling their own tampons out of toilet paper because there isn't $15 a month in the family budget to buy them at the store.

Students shouldn’t be anxious about Thanksgiving or Winter Break because being off from school means surrendering two meals a day. 

Students shouldn’t be forced to wear the same pair of socks all week because that’s the only pair they have. 

Thank goodness for this kind donation, which allows me to buy more tampons, more granola bars, and more socks. But I will also keep pushing for reforms that take down a system that creates poverty so deep that feminine products, food, and socks have become a luxury rather than a given."

Teachers like her are taking a stand. Her school now has a pantry for students and teachers with basic things we take for granted. Many teachers work multiple jobs yet they still spend an average of $480 of their own money each year to buy necessities for the classroom. 

I agree, this isn't the way it should be. This is why I look forward to working for everyday people...every day and helping teachers, families, and students with what they need to succeed. 

Read more about the cost of being a teacher here:…/news/Classroom-costs--490069211.html