De Soto school board Position 7: Tim Blankenship
Biography: Tim Blankenship
Date of birth: 10/30/1962
Family: Kim, Jessica (Oberhelman), T.J., and son-in-law Josh Oberhelman
Current employment: Parametric Technology Corporation (1999 – present)
Past employment history: Raytheon (1997-1999); Texas Instruments (1988 – 1997)
Education: MS and BS in Electrical Engineering from Missouri University of Science and Technology
Number of years lived in community: 11
Previous public offices held: School Board USD 232
Community involvement: Mill Creek Community Church
Tim Blankenship is running unopposed for the De Soto school board Position 7 seat, an at-large position.
Blankenship currently holds the Position 1 seat on the board and is board president. Since the district re-drew its board member districts, he is running for a different position.
Blankenship responded to a written questionnaire from The Dispatch, which included biographical information as well as questions about current school-related issues. Read his complete answers below.
What made you decide to run for office?
I want to help to continue improving our school district.
What special qualifications would you bring to this office?
4 year of experience on the school board and an engineering and project management background
How do you plan to familiarize yourself with the issues that come before the board?
Ask as many questions as needed to find answers from staff and all sources available.
What leadership qualities do you possess?
I stress servant leadership in which I emphasize serving others. Communications is one of the most important aspects of leadership that must be tirelessly pursued as well.
How do you plan stay in touch with constituents if you are elected?
I am always available for constituents to contact me by phone and e-mail, but I also plan to be out in our school buildings as often as I can.
Describe what you see as the main role of a school board member.
A school board member must set policy for the district and they must scrutinize proposals from the administration to help find the best solutions to issues facing the district. A board member must do this while representing the entire school district which includes all patrons, students, teachers, other staff, and administration.
What is the best attribute of our school district and why?
The best attribute is teamwork. Our students are most successful when the families, teachers, staff, administrators, and board are all working together for their benefit.
What are the three most important issues facing the school district and how would you confront them?
- Funding reductions. I would continue the practices we have started of encouraging budget reduction ideas from the staff and would add more patron input into the process as well.
- Successful transition to a new superintendent. I believe we have selected the right person in Doug Sumner to lead USD 232 into a new era of improving all aspects of the district. However, changes are often difficult for everyone to adopt and I plan to support Dr. Sumner in implementing the needed improvements.
- Cross-district collaboration. I think we could make gains in achievement and efficiency through improved collaboration among the various communities that make up the district. This includes teachers, staff, and students at different buildings as well as parents throughout the district. This could be accomplished through gatherings of the communities for face-to-face interaction and also by employing technology for virtual collaboration.
Do you think public schools are adequately funded? Why or why not?
I believe they are because they are able to meet ever increasing academic requirements. Additionally, public schools meet some incredible challenges of special needs students.
What areas of the budget would you target for spending cuts if necessary?
We must focus on the academic needs of our students. Other aspects of the budget would have to be considered for cuts such as extracurricular activities. These can be offset by activity fees so that the programs don’t have to be terminated.
Are the district’s teachers being compensated fairly? Why or why not?
In general, they are being compensated fairly. We compete with other school districts for teachers and this competition requires that we offer fair compensation.
Under what circumstances would you favor increasing property taxes?
If a majority of the patrons passed a property tax increase in an election, I would do my best to ensure the school district used it effectively and efficiently.