Krista Holtzmann has lived in Parker for 17 years. She is currently unemployed and plans on devoting her time to the Douglas County School Board. Holtzmann has a J.D. and B.S. in child development from the University of Missouri. She worked as a volunteer attorney at the Rocky Mountain Children’s Law Center and as an attorney practicing family law at The Law Firm of Dennis Lacerte. She was the assistant state’s attorney at the Madison County State’s Attorney’s Office in Edwardsville, Illinois. She was also a preschool teacher at the University of Missouri Child Development School. Holtzmann has served on school accountability committees at Pine Grove Elementary, Pine Lane Elementary, Sierra Middle School and Chaparral High School
Campaign website: www.Krista4 Kids.com
Why do you want to serve on the board of education?
I want to give back to our community, which has given our children a great education. Additionally, the knowledge I gained serving in our schools helped me realize there are 68,000 students who need and deserve an advocate that will put them first when making decisions for their schools.
Following years of dissension, what can be done to bring a sense of unity to the Douglas County School District community?
Listening to the voices of our parents, teachers, students and community members is a good place to start. I will also be a board member who models working together for the good of students, just as we expect our schools and teachers to do. As an attorney in child protection, I successfully built consensus in very difficult, emotionally charged situations by encouraging all parties to focus on the best interests of children. And this is what I will do as a board member.
What are the most important traits to look for in the next superintendent?
A superintendent who understands the best leaders are servants first, and has a deep commitment to ensuring quality public schools for every child is essential. Additionally, community members frequently tell me it is important to find a person who has experience as a teacher and extensive knowledge about education.
Should interim Superintendent Erin Kane be considered for the job on a permanent basis?
Superintendent Kane has helped move our district in the right direction over the past two years. If she would like to be considered for the position, I would support her consideration.
Is the increasing number of charter schools in Douglas County good for the school district?
Charter, neighborhood, magnet and online schools are all public schools. We have too many seats available for the number of students in our district and this hurts all our schools. We have already allocated funds to schools who are deemed “highly impacted,” or who are being seriously affected by low enrollment. These schools are unable to provide adequate services to students without these additional dollars. Since our current board has already approved six schools (which all happen to be charter schools) to open over the course of the next two years, this is very concerning for all our public schools.
Do you support the use of taxpayer-funded vouchers to pay for students to get an education at a private school?
Though I am a strong supporter of public school choice, I do not believe private school vouchers would be helpful to our community’s mission to provide a quality public education for every child. As the board serves the public school students in the district and given the financial struggles of our own public schools, diverting funding from public into private schools would place a further strain on the district’s limited resources. Taxpayers would also lose all accountability as to how their tax dollars are spent.
Would you be in favor of a larger influence by the teachers’ union?
In general, I believe our board of education will benefit by listening to the voices of teachers. It does not matter to me whether a given teacher belongs to a professional association or not, I want to hear from them as the expert in our district working most closely with our students. Just as I valued the partnership my husband and I had with our children’s teachers, I would expect to work in partnership with teachers to best serve the 68,000 students in our district.
What can be done to allow the district to keep its best and most experienced teachers at a higher rate?
We must continue to restore the culture where educators felt respected and supported. This includes paying teachers a competitive wage, including their voice in decision-making about curriculum and instruction for students, and promoting partnerships among teachers, parents and administrators to meet the needs of all 68,000 Douglas County students.
Would you support a ballot measure to help the district pay for capital improvements?
Yes, Douglas County needs to fix and maintain our buildings. We find ourselves with well over $300 million in unmet capital needs, with $59.1 million to $82.5 million of those unmet needs being so urgent and critical (such as roofing, plumbing, heating and compliance issues) that, if not addressed soon, could impact educational programming and shut down schools until repairs are made. Our community has not passed a bond to support the capital needs of our schools since 2006. It is time. (DCSD Master Capital Plan 2017-2018, Appendix 6, p266)