Meet Eric Seider
1. Why are you running for election/re-election? I am running for election for the Francis Howell School Board because I have a life-long passion for public education and a willingness to serve our community. My wife, Diane, and I have four children who have attended public schools and are actively involved in FHSD school district committees and parent booster organizations.
2. Why do you think you should be on FHSD’s Board of Education? I have over twenty years of management experience managing both union-represented and non-represented employees and understand the intricacies of successfully managing projects on time and under budget.
3. What do you hope to do for the district, if elected? I hope to use my experience in management and public education to help provide consistent and independent view of district spending and support for the administration and teachers in the district.
4. What has the school board been focusing on this year? The BOE should be focusing on solutions to the inconsistent funding from the state and federal government. Currently Missouri ranks 49th in state spending on K-12 education. Since less and less of our budget is coming from the state and federal government, the cost of public education falls to local communities to support public education.
5. What types of things do you think the Board should be focusing on right now? The board of education has been focusing on budgeting, contracts, capital spending, policies, and procedures in the district.
6. What has the school board been focusing on this year? The Francis Howell School Districts is one of the best school districts in the St. Louis metropolitan area but there is always room for improvement in graduation rates, preparing students for careers or college. Francis Howell should focus on being the best school district in the state and nation. When our school district is strong and outperforming other area districts, local businesses, property values, and our community prosper.
7. Why has the district been focusing a lot on bullying? Bullying is a serious matter that impacts the lives of our children. a. I am not aware of bullying statistics within the district. b. Strong disciplinary policies and procedures enforcing a no-bullying school community help protect the safety and welfare of all students.
8. How has technology changed throughout the schools? How will that impact students’ learning? Technology use in schools has lagged behind technology use in the home and workplace. Students start using technology outside the school at a very young age and since most students enjoy the use of technology, the use of technology in the classroom helps keeps students engaged in the lesson plan. This district is implementing more technology in the classroom and is implementing a “bring your own technology” policy where students will be encouraged to use their personal smart-phones, computers and tablets. Engaging students through the use of technology enhances the overall learning experience.
9. How did the $4 million get overlooked last year when a lot of teachers were laid off? What is the school using the money for now? Because of the budget schedule of the Missouri Legislature and the decline in local property values due to the recent recession, the school administration and board of education started the year with a very murky and bleak view of how much money would be available for education. 90% of the overall budget in FHSD is used for salaries, benefits, and transportation. Sadly, since the outlook for funding was so bleak, the administration and board cut 96 positions. As the school year progressed, funding from property tax assessments associated with new residential building was better than anticipated. This along with the fact that BOE levied a property tax increase mid-year made the end of year balances higher than projected. The district is always required to maintain a surplus of funds to make salaries between the start of the school year and when the local, county and state government send in funds collected through tax receipts so part of the funds are used for that. The school district has hired some staff back with remaining funds after realizing that the cuts were too deep.
10.How long has the district been working on the School Messenger? Why did the district decide to do that? The district has been trying to identify an efficient way of notifying families of school closings and other potential emergency situations in an efficient manner for quite a while. Prior to school Messenger the existing district capability was disjointed and sometimes missed notifying families of critical information. The School Messenger application ties in closely with the existing district telecommunication system and was a cost effective way of implementing an efficient mechanism to notify families of critical information.
11. My three main priorities are: a. Supporting district administration by letting them do their job without micromanaging. b. Supporting the staff by approving contracts, policies, and procedures that allow them to focus on student education. c. Listening and being accessible to the community when they have questions.