Patch sent all local candidates for office identical questionnaires in order to compile candidate profiles prior to the April election. Each candidate who returned the survey will be featured on the site.
Find out who else is running for Lindbergh School District Board of Education.
Cindy McDaniel, 53, 513 Oakwood Drive (Fenton)
Occupation: Professional Staffing of St. Louis, LLC, Independent Owner/Operator
Education: With 34 years of business and management experience, I’m confident I would be an effective member of the Board and would make contributions to the continued success of the District. I graduated from Southwest High School in 1978. From 1981-1985, I served in the US Army Reserves and was assigned to the 10th PSYOPS Battalion in St. Louis, MO after completing basic training. Lastly, I was elected to and served as a Trustee of two Homeowners Association’s from 1998 to 2002 and from 2004 to 2007.
Family: My husband is Doug McDaniel, we’ve been married for 25 years and we have three children. Michael is 23, graduated from LHS in May 2008, obtained a BA in Mass Communications from Webster University in May 2012, and is now working full-time. Mark is 16, is a Junior at LHS, and works part-time at a local café. He loves music, plays guitar and ukulele, and is teaching himself to play keyboard and violin. Melissa is 14, is a straight A student, and is in the 8 th grade at Truman Middle School. She loves sports, and plays soccer, basketball, volleyball and softball.
Years lived in the Lindbergh District: We have lived in the Lindbergh School District for 26 years.
Please provide a brief summary of your background, highlighting community involvement: Overall, I have 34 years of professional work experience. For the past 10 years, I’ve been the owner/operator of Professional Staffing of St. Louis, providing recruiting services for companies across the US, with expertise in retirement plan services, financial services, finance & accounting, employee benefits, and legal services industries. I previously spent 24 years working in the retirement plan services industry. As an Executive Director for General American’s Retirement Plans Division, I managed personnel and million dollar budgets, ensured legislative compliance for pension and profit sharing plans, and led strategic initiatives such as product development, infrastructure consolidations, and operational reengineering.
Please provide a brief summary of your reasons for running: The time is right for me to give back to the community. I’m willing and able to commit a significant amount of my time and would be honored to serve on the Board. There are many volunteer and public service opportunities to choose from but serving on a school board is one of the most important responsibilities a citizen can have. I’m committed to keeping the best interest of the District in focus, and I’m passionate about meeting the needs of every teacher and every student.
What do you currently see as the biggest issue facing the Lindbergh School District? The biggest challenge will be evaluating the fiscal outlook and addressing the funding requirements – while maintaining and continuously improving academic performance, ensuring job satisfaction for teachers and ensuring teachers have the tools and resources necessary to meet the needs of every student, and planning for the continued growth in the student population by making it possible to maintain appropriate class sizes and teacher-to-student ratios.
How would you address the continuing uncertainty over state funding for schools? The funding for public education should be shared by federal, state and local governments and should be done in a manner that provides stability and consistency in the revenue stream. Variations in funding formulas creates instability in the revenue streams, especially during an economic downturn. Funding formulas should be based on a per-student cost that is determined necessary and reasonable to operate an effective education system. To some extent, local funding may continue to be subject to the economic conditions of the geographical area. But where local funding revenues are tied to real estate taxes, we should have an appropriate property assessment practice that minimizes (or eliminates) fluctuations in the revenue stream when significant increases or decreases occur in property values. This would provide some stability for the District’s revenue stream and would help to stabilize the annual cost to tax payers. Such stabilization in funding formulas and funding systems would result in long-term solutions, and would avoid short-term issues that can be created when revenues are tied to tax revenues that fluctuate significantly with the ups and downs in economy. In any event, local school boards and superintendents should continue to be responsible for the financial activities of the district and held accountable as stewards of the funds.
In what area does the Lindbergh School District need to improve? Are you satisfied with the way the district has been operating? Lindbergh Schools have consistently ranked high in academics and have received numerous local, state and national awards. Based on the Missouri Assessment Program (MAP) test scores, Lindbergh Schools have rated as the #1 K-12 District in the State of Missouri for the past three consecutive years. Additionally, the current tax rate for Lindbergh Schools is the 4 th lowest rate (out of 22 districts in the St. Louis metropolitan area), and our per student cost of approximately $9,500 is significantly lower than the per student cost of some other districts which are as high as approximately $18,000. Over the years, the Board members and the Administration have been prudent in managing their fiscal responsibilities, while simultaneously achieving excellence in academic performance.
As a new Board member, I would visualize what the future will bring, as financial constraints and economic conditions will make it increasingly difficult to build on past successes. For example, addressing the growth in the student population and ensuring the ability to continue to attract and retain quality teachers will present some fiscal challenges over the next several years. Within the scope of the Board’s governance, I would thoroughly assess all matters and would ensure all options are fully explored. Where change is deemed necessary, I would execute such changes in a positive and forward thinking manner. An increase in communications and interactions among parents, teachers, the Board, the Administration, and the community will be a critical success factor.
Assume you win the election. What single thing do you want to accomplish during your three years on the board? On a personal level, I want to accomplish being an active and effective member of the Board, and to make significant contributions to the ongoing success of the Lindbergh School District. From the perspective of the District, (again) the funding requirements will need to be met if we are to successfully address the growth in the student population and continue to attract and retain quality teachers. The District clearly has the ability to meet all future challenges, provided that the funding requirements are met.
Overall, my goals would be to address funding requirements, maintain achievements in academic performance, address the growth in the student population and maintain appropriate class sizes, attract and retain quality teachers, ensure resources and services are available to meet the needs of every student including gifted students and students with learning challenges, advocate advancements in technology usage on a standardized and cost-effective basis, and ensure campus security including drug and alcohol education and enforcement of student conduct standards.