Candidate profile: Susan Richardson
Family: Husband, Gary; daughter, 19, son, 17
Education: Bachelor’s degree biology/microbiology from Montana State University; medical technician certificate
Occupation: Stay-at-home mother
Susan Richardson believes she would be an effective communicator on the District 833 School Board.
Right now, she doesn’t believe there’s enough of that happening on the board that she says is more interested in monologues than dialogues.
“Somebody has to be on the School Board that is going to be the voice of the community,” Richardson said. “People deserve a respectful discourse when they come into the School Board meetings.”
The former advanced placement biology teacher said she believes her background in schools, which includes a stint as a Valley Crossing Community School volunteer – a position that later led to an aide job there – helped prepare her as a candidate.
Richardson has launched extensive research into the district’s budgeting process, upon which she casts a critical eye. She is especially concerned about the district’s $739,000 travel budget – as well as a summer training trip for teachers that tallied a $152,505 bill, according to district records she requested.
“Why can’t our teachers do this training online?” Richardson said.
Overall, Richardson said she worries the School Board has been a “rubber stamp” for administration’s wish list.
“Someone needs to get in there and see what’s going on,” she said.
Richardson said the district’s budget matrix made parsing the referendum’s first question too challenging to be able to support it on the ballot and that Question 2 doesn’t have her backing because of concerns surrounding anti-bullying technology.
Uncertainties in the local real estate market make Question 3 too shaky to support, she added.
Of expanded use of iPad technology, Richardson said the roll-out at Park High School is revealing “more problems than they thought.” She worries that too many students will use the tablets for gaming or social media than school work, and that teachers won’t be able to tell the difference in large classes.