Ferguson-Florissant School Board President States Reasons for Reelection
Les Lentz believes district could be role model for state and nation.
Florissant Patch: What is your educational background?
I have been on the Board of Education for six years, and I have worked very hard to learn the education system both on the local level and how districts are run at the state level. I am very active in the State School Board Association and have worked to further my qualifications as a board member.
I attend Professional Development at least twice a year to keep abreast of new trends and requirements. I also view school from the student angle as I attend St. Louis Community College, Florissant Valley. I will transfer to St. Louis University in the fall to complete my degree in Business Management.
Do you have children?
I have two children both of whom attended our district and graduated from McCluer North High School. My daughter graduated from college and taught English in South Korea for a year. She now teaches here after her returning to the area this past spring. My son attended St. Louis Community College, Florissant Valley and was recently nationally certified as an EMT.
What issues are important to the Ferguson-Florissant School Board?
The most important issue facing us is remaining accredited. We are fully accredited until 2014. Although we are in no danger of not being accredited, we must ensure all programs are monitored effectively to strive to be a district accredited with distinction. This is important as we want people to move into our district just for our schools. One only needs to look at some districts around us as their students try to enroll in our district every day. We must continue to good stewards of our taxpayers’ money.
What issues are important for the district as a whole?
As state revenue declines, we must make smarter decisions to ensure financial stability. We are very financially sound, but with state forecasts and projections, care must still be taken. We also have to find ways to keep our teachers salaries at a level to continue to attract high-quality people. We were only able to give staff a half percent pay raise last year, and this will be an issue this year. All issues facing the district are the responsibility of the board, so all issues are ours for resolution.
What makes you a great candidate?
I have worked hard to become a knowledgeable board member. My background is in Engineering, so I had to study to fully understand how this whole system of education works. Now that we have hired a new Superintendent, it is vital that the board help him transition into his new role. I know that every decision we have made has not been popular, however every decision has been made with our most important person, the students in mind.
We can never quit focusing on our students. It is our responsibility to help them prepare for life after high school and have them college ready if that is what they choose to do.
As I write this, I am in Washington D.C. to talk to our congressional leaders on how their decisions affect schools at the local level. It is important for them to know that judging schools by a single test given on a single day is not setting education back years. We must change the system to not punish schools but help them succeed. We must judge school effectiveness on student growth over a period of time.
Do you have a message to voters?
This district is on the verge of GREATNESS. We have programs in place, and we are starting to see huge improvement in all areas. Within the next two years, we will be a district that others in the state and nation look at to see how we did it. I ask the voters to give me the chance to continue to serve you. I have always been transparent and strived to do the best for our students.