School Board candidates discuss goals in forum
Ponca City Now - March 25, 2019 4:06 pm
Ponca City School Board incumbent Dr. David Kinkaid and challenger Amanda Porter-Cain met at noon Monday in a forum at City Hall to present their thoughts on seeking a seat on the board in the April 2 election.
Kinkaid, 73, said he has seven children, 11 grandchildren, and he himself became a Ponca City Public Schools student when he was in the fourth grade. Before his father took a job in geophysics at Conoco, Kinkaid said, they moved every 60 days. In Ponca City he was a student at the old Lincoln School and Jefferson School, and had many accomplishments. He then attended Oklahoma State University, where he was president of his fraternity, and graduated from the OSU School of Veterinary Medicine in 1970.
After graduation he returned to Ponca City, built his veterinary hospital on Lake Road and later he and his son Brett opened a new veterinary hospital at Fourth Street and Cleveland Avenue.
Through the years he has been very active in a number of sports and has been recognized in several Halls of Fame.
“All of my successes are related to the school system,” Kinkaid said. “Our priority is the children. We have to give them opportunity. I’ve been on the board 13 years and I’ve come to realize the teachers are more involved with children than their families are. They work hard. When Shelley Arrott became superintendent, she made major changes and they have all been perfect.”
Kinkaid said in his time as a board member, the district has passed $85 million in bond issues for school facilities.
“I’ve refereed for 45 years, and our schools are clean and safe, compared to others” he said.
He said the board works closely with Arrott.
“We work hard. We’re a very involved board. Shelley calls us daily,” Kinkaid said. “We make policy and support the kids.”
Porter-Cain is a graduate of Ponca City Public Schools as well, and was active in swimming and basketball, lettering in both sports. She has coached basketball and track at First Lutheran Church and is a former Sailfish swim team coach. She has five children.
She said she wants to serve on the school board because it is an unpaid, thankless job, but it is for the benefit of children.
“They are the most important thing our community can put forth,” she said. “We must rely heavily on the board and schools.”
She agreed the projects accomplished with the passage of school bond issues has been fantastic.
“I want to be part of improvement for our schools. I watch every year when the school report card comes out,” she said. “If something is not working well, I want to say ‘Hey, wait a minute — that’s not how that works.'”
She said she believes change needs to happen.
“I’m very passionate about our kids and our city,” she said. “Kids should not be a line item on a budget; they should be the only item.”
Following their opening statements, the candidates responded to written questions from the audience.
Q: What are the qualities of a good school board member?
Porter-Cain (P-C): They should be open minded, have good morals, be comfortable with change and passionate about kids.
Kinkaid (K): They give up a lot of time and effort and support the staff and administration.
Q: Do you favor a four-day school week?
K: There’s a House Bill being considered now outlining school hours and days. Four-day school weeks may help with money problems in smaller school districts. We won’t do it here.
P-C. I agree with what David said. I also don’t believe a four-day week prepares students for the reality of adult life.
Q: Do you believe it is a school board member’s role to hire/fire athletic coaches and/or teachers?
P-C: It is not their sole purpose or theirs only. If a decision is made, it needs to be made by staff and administration, but the board needs to provide checks and balances.
K: The district has an Athletic Director who is responsible for overseeing the coaching staff. These decisions are made by the staff and superintendent. It is not a board issue.
Q: How should the school board respond to a pending lawsuit (filed by Porter-Cain against the district)?
K: Amanda has a lawsuit filed. The board hired a lawyer; a student was suspended and was not allow to participate in school activities. Amanda has a legal right to file a lawsuit and it will be resolved.
P-C: My job as a mother is to advocate for my child. There are other things that need to be handled. This (seeking the school board seat) is not about my personal emotions.
Q: Did you support the teacher walkout for greater pay?
P-C: Yes. We need to find ways to meet teachers’ other needs as well.
K: Definitely. They got a lot of attention. They walked out for support personnel after they got their raises. We will have to work at it continually. Teachers have the most important profession in our community.
Q: Do you think your children should be in public schools to be on the board?
P-C: It is not a requirement, but it helps. I do have children at Lutheran for academic increase. All our boys went to Lutheran. One son was reading at a third grade level when he was in the sixth grade and transferred to Lutheran.
K: I don’t think that’s even a question that should be given. It’s about providing quality education for all students.
Q. Should there be mandatory term limits for board members?
K: It just depends on the person. No, there should not be term limits.
P-C: If you feel there should be a change, vote for a different candidate.
Q: What do you see as the single biggest issue in the next five years?
P-C: Helping teachers who are wanting to stay in our district.
K: I agree completely. We need quality teachers at each grade level. Oklahoma is low in the output of teachers.
Q: How can the board keep quality teachers?
K: Pay — 90 percent of what’s needed is to provide adequate pay so teachers can support their own families here.
P-C: Pay, but also support in other areas. Many teachers feel run ragged, and many do not have supplies.