The lengths people will go to win a school board election is sad. Today I was sent a copy of a mailer that is less than flattering and I would like to set the record straight. Here’s the background.
In December Breman Anderson, current school board president, and Clinton Adams spoke with me about my campaign. In return for their support they wanted assurance that I would support the president of the board, however, I do not take the position of school board director lightly. As one of the community’s representatives, I believe it is my duty to vote in their best interest. I also believe in transparency. I feel it is important that parents, teachers and the community be aware of what is going on in this district and how issues will affect them. Issues should not be decided behind closed doors. As a result, the decision was made not to support me.
Since that time an all out effort has been made to get other candidates elected. In fact, Mr. Anderson has gone so far as to publicly endorse two other candidates as his choice. This is something the Missouri School Board Association discourages board members from doing because it raises ethical questions. Actually, when I was on the board, MSBA was encouraging board members to get involved because they said it was the only way to get good candidates to run, but there is a line that should not be crossed. Mr. Anderson stated in an ad in the Jackson County Advocate, “I believe it is important to have board members who are parents of children in the district.” All four candidates are parents of current or past Hickman students, but simply being a parent does not make one qualified to be a school board member. Our district is on the brink of becoming unaccredited. Experience and knowledge are needed to set us on the right course, while working with our new superintendent.
In the same ad Senator Kiki Curls’ endorsement says these are “two superior candidates” but does not list any of their credentials. At such a crucial time for our district, and therefore our community, voters deserve to know what qualifications a candidate possesses.
With that I would like to address the concerns of those who don’t know me well enough to see this mailer for what it s, political mud.
1. I am not simply a cookie decorator. I am the owner of A Sweet Expression. I have been in business since 1999 and have had several locations including Lee’s Summit, Bannister Mall, Downtown City Market and Pleasant Hill. Our current building in Pleasant Hill is being renovated. It has been unusable since the flooding of Lake Annette caused the rising waters to flood the area ten years ago. However, it will be reopening this spring with the same quality candy and cookie bouquets, gift items and an old fashioned ice cream fountain. In 2001, my store in Lee’s Summit won Best Old Fashioned Ice Cream Parlor in Kansas City through the Pitch. The website is http://www.asweetexpression.com.
2. I am a certified K-8 teacher in the state of Missouri. I began teaching at North Rock Creek / Korte, Academy of Environmental Science after graduating from Avila University. I developed a love for science and wrote several grants that benefited our students. I taught for twelve years and left the Kansas City School District to start my business. In 2006, I taught in the Hickman Mills School District where two additional grants were written and funded. One was to create a school wide initiative to decrease bullying. I resigned at the end of the year. My teaching experiences are the reason I originally ran for the Hickman Mills School Board. It is the ability to see issues from both sides that enable me to make the decisions necessary to get us back on the right track.
3. During my tenure on the school board, we were a fully accredited school district. My experience with educators and the ability to interpret the data are what prompted me to alert my colleagues to our slipping scores, however administration was able to cover the truth. The state was giving us warnings, but no one was listening. Blaming me for the current state of the district is as fool hardy as blaming the present school board and board president for failing the district, as our accreditation was lost under their watch.
4. I was “ousted” from the board in 2011. This was due to a campaign strategy designed to remove me from the board. Those who wanted to keep their heads in the sand about the fate of our district, who make decisions behind closed doors and who see control of our district as a step into the political arena are responsible for this nasty campaign. As the seats are stacked, those board members with a clear conscious will continue to be outvoted. Firing all the administrators and secondary principals last week is just a sign of things to come.
I have not changed. My ideals and commitment to our community have not changed. I hope you will put your trust in me again. I cannot be bought. Please vote for me, Debbie Aiman, this coming Tuesday. Thank you.