Friday, March 1, 2013

CANDIDATE QUESTIONNAIRE: Richard Kaminski, KCK Board of Education

As we move on from the primary, we start looking at the general election races. Today's questionnaire is courtesy of Richard Kaminski, who's looking to make a return to the Kansas City, Kan., Board of Education this spring. He served previously on the board, but lost in the previous election cycle. If you have not received a questionnaire and have not received a questionnaire or lost it, email me at!

1. What in your background (or what experience) makes you believe you are qualified to serve on the Kansas City, Kan., Public Schools’ Board of Education?

I have the ability to lead.  I have several years experience in the government sector, including 20 years as a board of education member. I owned and operated a small business for several years, which gave me experience in human resources, budgeting and finances.  I raised four children, who attended school in the district. While doing all this, I earned an AA Degree from KCKCC and BA Degree from Wichita State. As a sergeant in the Marine Corps and a Captain on the Kansas City, Kan., Police Department, I proved myself as a leader. To sum it up: I have proven that I have the leadership ability, the experience, knowledge, and a life-time resident who is committed to the community.

2. As a candidate, what would be your top three priorities as a member of the board of education?
  • Increase the test scores.     
  • 100 percent graduation rate.    
  • Every graduate be ready for college or the knowledge to be employed with a trade.
3. A two-part question - What distinguishes you as the top candidate for this position and what differences should voters in Wyandotte County look at before making their choice?

I’ve been there. I wouldn’t have to spend time learning the routine. I could dive in at the first meeting.  I am a team player, but I am not afraid to express my opinion on matters that would help the children and the district.  I have been known to tell it how it is and not what you want to hear. I do not believe in smoke and mirrors.

4. Another two-part question. School finance is obviously one of the most important issues in any school district, but especially one the size of KCK Public Schools. First question – would you be willing to increase property taxes if state funding doesn’t increase? And the second question – if you wouldn’t support a mill levy increase, what would you cut in the budget to help hold the line on taxes?

I do not believe in playing politics with the budget. It takes money to educate our children. The state puts a limit on how much local money can be used.  If we need the money to give our teachers the tools to give our children a chance to meet their goals, I do not have a problem in raising the mill levy.  I would rather spend the money on education now than spend it on building prisons later.

5. What in your opinion are the three biggest challenges facing USD 500? (If you feel there are more than three to list, feel free too.)
  • Sitting down with our State officials and ironing out these finance problems without have to go to court.    
  • Convincing the children and parents of the necessity and importance of being ready for college.  
  • Having a safe environment for the children to learn in and for the teachers to teach in.