Lincoln Public Schools Board of Education candidate profile: Richard Aldag IV

Richard Aldag IV
Richard Aldag IV(Richard Aldag IV)
Published: Mar. 31, 2023 at 3:51 PM CDT
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LINCOLN, Neb. (KOLN) - Even numbered districts are on the ballot this year for Lincoln Public Schools Board of Education. There are two candidates running in each district (2, 4, 6) so all candidates will advance to the May 2 general election.

10/11 NOW sent a questionnaire to all candidates and we did not edit responses. Read Richard Aldag IV’s responses below and view other candidate profiles here.

Name: Richard Aldag IV

Political Party: Republican

Occupation: President, Flagstone Peak Logistics

Why are you running for the Lincoln Public Schools Board of Education? Seventeen years ago, my wife and I promised never to let cost be an obstacle for our children’s education.  After three years at a private school we came to realize that paying for an education didn’t make it “better” and transferred into LPS.  The Lincoln Public Schools offered differentiated curriculum and exposure to technology that our private school could not.  Today, after years of sending our children through LPS, my wife and I chose to again pursue a private education for our youngest child entering Kindergarten.  The Lincoln Public Schools that we grew up with and raised our family in has changed.  I’m a service minded person who believes that it’s better to help move a solution forward than to sit idle and complain.  I want to bring solutions that better support our teachers and improves academic and social outcomes for our children. I see this as an opportunity to identify and improve inefficient processes that have increased the LPS general fund expenditures more than fifty percent over the last ten years.

List a few positive achievements accomplished by the district. Where would you like to see improvement? The Career Academy is one of the most positive achievements of the district.  Giving students the opportunity to develop a skill and earn college credit at a greatly reduced cost creates immeasurable returns for the student, their family, and our community.  As a board member I would like to continue to grow the Career Academy offerings in areas of high value such as geospatial information system certifications.  The best return on our investment come from cutting the cost of secondary education for our students.  Advanced placement testing fees have become an overwhelming obstacle for some of our brightest students.  Providing for free testing for all our advanced placement students would prove to have some of the greatest returns.

What should be done to recruit and retain teachers and staff? Recruiting and retaining qualified teachers is crucial to ensuring the success of any educational institution.  One of the most effective ways to attract top talent is by offering competitive salaries. Teachers are more likely to stay in the district if they feel that they are being fairly compensated.  Teachers in priority positions such as special education feel their compensation has not kept pace with their workload.  However, pay is never a complete solution.  The district need to create supportive work environments for teachers by providing them with resources, such as instructional materials and technology, and by offering mentorship and coaching programs.  Additionally, the district needs to create an environment that fosters collaboration with and among teachers to create a sense of community and improve their job satisfaction.  The root cause to many problems in the learning environment is classroom size.  Large classrooms are hard for teachers to manage which creates undo stress and distractions for students in a learning environment.  I will consider the effects on classroom size with every decision.

How should a board member weigh funding education with the cost to Lincoln property owners? Especially with the current and looming economic downturn it’s important to balance the needs of our students with the cost to Lincoln property owners when making decisions about funding education. To maintain fiscal balance, it’s crucial that school board members have a deep understanding of the budget and available revenue sources. This helps board members make informed decisions about how to best allocate resources.  When making funding decisions, I will prioritize spending on initiatives that have the greatest impact on student learning and achievement. This includes investing in areas like teacher professional development, technology, and resources for students with special needs.  My overarching funding goal will be to improve the learning environment.  It’s vital that the school board continues to leverage alternative revenue sources, such as grants or partnerships with local businesses that help reduce the burden on property owners.  Engaging with the community is essential. Holding public meetings to gather feedback and input on funding decisions will help build support for funding education and ensure that decisions reflect the needs and priorities of our community.  Transparency is my key priority.  Communicating with the community about how funding decisions are made and the impact they have on property owners builds trust and understanding.  Balancing the needs of students with the cost to property owners requires careful consideration and informed decision-making.

School boards across the country are facing increased political polarization. How should a member navigate policy tension with regard to a child’s education? Navigating policy tension as a school board member can be challenging, especially with increased political polarization. There are several steps I would take to ensure I’m making decisions in the best interests of children and the community.  It’s important to me That I keep our students’ best interests in mind. As a school board member, my priority will be to focus on policies and decisions that benefit our students’ education and well-being.  My past experiences in government taught me that seeking input from a diverse set of stakeholders is crucial. I will always seek feedback from parents, teachers, administrators, and students to better understand the different perspectives and concerns related to education policy.  I plan to meet stakeholders where they are at.  Finally, as a school board member, I will research and gather information from reliable sources to inform my decisions.  It’s always been my policy to make my own observations and look deeper than the surface of a presentation.

I believe we need to engage in respectful dialogue, even with people we disagree with, as it’s important in building understanding and trust.  It is possible to find common ground and areas of agreement, while staying true to our values and principles, to find solutions that satisfy all stakeholders. Overall, navigating policy tension as a school board member requires a combination of good communication, research, and prioritizing the best interests of children and the community.

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