Jal Record


The Candidates Speak

In the next several editions of The Jal Record, we will be featuring questions
and answers from the candidates currently running for office in our local elections this November. Each
candidate will be asked the exact same questions, with incumbents being asked one additional question regarding what they are proud of accomplishing thus far in office. It is our hope that all candidates will want to share their heart and mind with  the voters here. ~  Editor 

Jal School Board

Kayla Lujan Incumbent

Q: What are some accomplishments that you are proud of in your time so far on the school board?

A: “I’m really proud of all our facilities, how we’ve pretty much transformed the whole district into what it is now. I feel like we have put a lot of time, energy, and effort into bringing what’s the best for the kids and I feel like it was an honor to be a part of that. Another thing I’m pretty proud of has been fighting for the teachers’ raises. We have been able to give them a 33% raise with better benefits in the last few years and I believe that’s something they wholeheartedly earned.”

Q: Are there any things that you would like to see changed in Jal Schools?

A: “I guess that’s a hard one because all we really do is budget and policy. We don’t have a say over much else. So I hope that we can continue to bring the change and modernize it a little bit. Times are changing and I hope that we’re changing with them for the good part. I’d like to be able to continue to do that with our kids.”

Q: In your view, what is the job/responsibility of a school board member?

A: “We’re over policy and we’re over the budget, but I also think that we are responsible for the vision of the school and the direction where we want to take it in. I feel like we’ve done a pretty good job with that for the most part, of doing what we can. We hold our superintendent to a very high standard, and in turn, he does it with his staff, and I think that we’ve really got to see a lot of that lately.”

Q: What are the strengths that you bring to the school board?

A: “Being a part of JPYS [Jal Panther Youth Sports], I’ve got to do a lot of things on the sports side, so we’ve almost brought in three quarters of a million dollars to the school. I don’t know if everybody knows that or not, but from the elementary to the high school sports, we’ve got to bring in equipment and we got to buy the rings, and we’ve done just so much with that part that I’ve been really proud of. I feel like that’s a good strength. I feel like on the construction side of the buildings and stuff like that, I have a little bit of insight because of my company, with Panther [Energy]. We do construction, so I feel like I can bring a different opinion or a different view just some more insight to it, where a lot of people just don’t understand that. Everybody brings their own special views, but I feel like that is one of my strong suits.

Q: What do you think should be the top priorities for the school district for the next few years?

A: “I would like to see a little more of community involvement and I would like for our school employees to be able to reach out and get input back, where there’s not maybe a clash of feelings, but where you can get positive feedback and it’s positive, you know? I feel like right now there is a lot of negative in our world and I’m not going to say it’s negative with our teachers, but I really would like to see more community involvement.

Q: If someone were to ask you, ‘Why should I vote for you?’ what would you say?

A: “You know, we’ve had nine years of experience on there right now, and I feel like we are just getting started, really. There’s still a lot to be accomplished, and I’d really like to be a part of that. I feel like I could be a productive member of the school board, and I’d appreciate their vote.”

Bekah Richard

Q: What are some of the strengths that you would bring to the school board?

A: I think I have a different perspective than most. I’ve worked at the school doing multiple different things, teaching junior high math, being an assistant for the technology class. I am now a mental health counselor. I would think I know how to talk to people well and deal with whatever’s going on in the community fairly well, I would say.

Q: Are there any things you would like to see changed or improved with the Jal Schools?

A: There’s many things that I think can be improved. As an organization constantly working towards that, trying new ideas, I mean there’s always going to be new challenges. Communication with parents and teachers with new ideas going forward, facing challenges head on, and always looking towards improvement.

Q: In your view, what is the job or responsibility of a school board member?

A: A school board member, in my opinion, would be going over the laws that the school has, going over the school handbook, dealing with the superintendent, and, again, always trying to better the school for new opportunities for students and teachers and staff, and just always moving forward.

Q: What do you think should be the top two or three priorities and/or goals for the school board and the school district for the next few years?

A: Make sure funding is used properly in things like facilities and students as much as can be done from the school board side. To make sure funds are used appropriately and wisely. I would guess I would say we are collaborating as a group to find ways in order to use whatever is given to us well. Since I’ve never done it, that’s just kind of general, but that’s all I’ve got.

Q: If someone were to ask you, ‘Why should I vote for you?’ what would you say?

A: “I would say I will come with new ideas. I work well with others and I’ve been in the teaching position before, so I have some different perspectives.

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