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Mark Ponder

Mark Ponder

  1. Why do you want to be on the board? 

I have two children that are just starting out their academic careers in Francis Howell and I want to ensure that their experiences and the experiences of all of the students going forward prepare them for their futures in the best way possible way. I’ve seen and heard some things in the past few years that have concerned me and I want to make sure that the district is run the right way, with transparency and responsibility and with every student in mind.

2. What is a current issue in our district that you would address if elected?

Fiscal responsibility. The massive overspend of Prop S Bond funds will be a long-lasting, hard fetl issue and I would like to make sure it never happens again.

3. How would you like our district to be viewed from an outside perspective?

I would like outsiders to view our district as one that sets an example of excellence. People should want to move to our district because we provide an elite academic, athletic and social experience.

4. What do you plan to do about continued funding issues in our district?

First, I’ll make sure that every last dollar spent is done so responsibly going forward. I’d like to start with identifying any current wasteful spending and reroute it to necessary district-wide improvements.

5. How do you plan to keep top-quality teachers from leaving the district despite several pay freezes over the last 10 years or so?

I’d like to make sure that teachers understand just how valued they are. Sometimes pay isn’t the only way to ensure people feel appreciated and I’d like to find ways to not only increase their salary but also reward them for contributions to the student body may be overlooked and make our district feel as if we’re more of a family vs just a workplace or a job. People need to feel they are appreciated with more than just money.

6. Do you plan to do something about the accumulating issues with our school’s functionality, including the frequent flooding, leaking and plumbing issues?

Well, a lot of the funds that were spent from the Prop S Bond issue were supposed to go toward these types of issues. Again, I have children in this district and I want them and all students to have a great experience and be safe at school. I look at these issue as a safety hazard and they need to be dealt with immediately. I think a combination of Prop S Bond funds and eliminating waste should give us a good start to remedying some of these issues.

7. How do you plan to increase the amount of janitorial staff?

Will you offer more benefits, pay or keep the rates the same? I see the janitorial staff as part of the safety crew and they’re an invaluable resource. I think the answer is yes…more and or better benefits and pay if that is going to keep our children safe and sanitary.

8. A student brought a gun to FHC in early February, how can the district improve on safety that was lacking before?

As you can tell by my previous answers, safety is a main concern of mine. I will have a zero-tolerance policy for starters and I think at times the message gets ignored. Parents and students alike will know what it means if they violate the safety and sanctity of our district. There should be a heavy penalty for any sort of action coupled with counseling and/or psychiatric or mental health assistance. There is nothing wrong with more authoritative measures, more police presence, hiring police officers for secondary shifts, etc. if it means that our children are going to be safe.

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