SBR: Seitz committed to serving all students

By Scott Rothschild, srothschild@kasb.org

As a member of the Blue Valley USD 229 school board, Mike Seitz says he is thankful the district has a community of parents and students “who recognize the value of public education.”

And Seitz says he is thankful to serve in various public service roles — the school board, Johnson County Mental Health Center and Baker University Board of Trustees — that allow him to help others.

A retired businessman, Seitz says his role as a school board member is to make sure every child in the district has the opportunity to receive an excellent education. He and his wife Debra have four children who graduated from Blue Valley schools.

“My primary role is to ensure the students get the best education possible and are poised for success in the future. If any school board member is looking at one group of students or another, they are not doing justice to the entire district.”

“We are trying to make sure any decisions we make are inclusive of all students. Long-term, the board can provide the strategy and vision that represents the wants and needs of the community that sets a tone going forward,” he said.

And Seitz said he also wants to ensure taxpayers are getting the best value for their taxes.

“I think public education has to take stock of itself and recognize we have an obligation to prove the value of the investment we are making,” he said. “We have to stop whining about not having enough money and start talking about the outcomes. We need to beat our chest about how good we really are,” he said.

Seitz said he likes the direction public education has taken in Kansas — reducing the emphasis on testing, focusing on individual student success and turning attention to the social, emotional and mental health needs of students.

“I give credit to all of our educators who do that. I think we are moving toward a holistic perspective of students,” he said.

He adds the Legislature “has begun to understand the needs of education better than they ever had.”

If he had any advice for policymakers in Topeka, it would be to continue focusing on mental health, increase funding for special education and “not pit education against other services.”

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