- Five of six candidates for the three open seats on the Brentwood Board of Education took part in a League of Women Voters forum Thursday night at the school district conference center. They answered 16 questions from the audience, read by a LWV moderator, in about one hour and 45 minutes.
About 25 attended the forum, including the mayor and a couple aldermen. The election is April 4.
The candidates sat on the stage in ballot order:
- Keith Rabenberg (incumbent)
- Dannielle Joy Davis
- Daniel Brouille (incumbent, served one year)
- Lindsay M. Spencer
- Cindy Watson — (not at the forum, a seat there for her)
- Lois Truman
There was often agreement on questions, with variations.
Rabenberg said the board’s prime responsibilities are setting priorities, approving the budget and hiring a superintendent; Davis added meeting the needs of all children regardless of background; Brouille, challenging the school district to improve; Spencer, communication with all families; Truman, also communication with families, adding the whole community.
The biggest challenge for the school district: Davis, better after-school enrichment for elementary schools; Brouille, how to get the district to the next level without breaking the great things already there; Spencer, updating facilities; Truman, update facilities and after-school enrichment; Rabenberg, maintaining the “tiny gem” of a school district with the tax base – there’s lost of moving parts.
They were asked about what should be done, if and when vouchers are imposed on the school district. Brentwood’s strong tax base and a concern for accountability of the funds if it should happen were mentioned. Several said it’s not the right way to go, and data has pointed this out.
They were asked about how to take care of transgender students, if law regarding bathrooms is imposed. Rabenberg said the federal government has no business in the school’s bathrooms. He and others said there are transgender students at Brentwood and they’re being taken care of; Davis, all students should be welcome and safe; Brouille said he had no specific opinion, and if it gets to the board they will address it; Spencer, all students should be safe and comfortable, and the issues should be known before any action is taken; Truman, there are transgender students at Brentwood, and have been accommodated.
They agreed that sex education should be in the school. Rabenberg said it’s been in the curriculum since he’s been on the board. Davis said so much of the media is “hyper-sexed,” and she’s not happy with it.
They were asked their thoughts on teaching creationism vs. evolution. Truman said teach both – the more the students know the better. Rabenberg agreed, said it’s not the school’s job be doctrinaire. Davis, both should be shared – critical thinking skills are important to teach; Brouille said both sides should be taught; Spencer said teaching should be science-based — “teach evolution,” she said.
The candidates’ closing statements, in reverse ballot order: (Watch the full forum on Lois Truman for Brentwood School Board Facebook)
The candidates, in ballot order (Cindy Watson didn’t attend):