Name: Cynthia (Cindy) R. Harner
Family: three children in District 742
Employment: Advertising manager for Minnesota Trails Magazine
1) Please share your background and relevant experience:
First and foremost I am a mother with three children in District 742.
I have served the past four years on the St. Cloud School Board and have been chair for the past two years. Outside of being a mother and board member, I have 20 years of banking and sales experience. I have a bachelor’s degree in business administration with a minor in economics.
2) What is the school district’s biggest issue?
Adequate funding for mandated programs and testing is perhaps our largest challenge. District 742 has a very large population of English language learners, special education and free- and reduced-priced lunch students. All of these categories present challenges to the district. We need to keep fighting for adequate and equal funding for ALL students as mandated by the Minnesota Constitution.
3) If elected, how do you propose to address this issue?
We need to address this issue by continued efforts to communicate with our legislators. I will continue to work with our legislators to advocate for adequate funding for all students.
4) If the school district is forced to make budget cuts, what areas are off limits?
I don’t believe any area is off limits – what we have to look at is what areas can be more cost effective and productive without damaging the programs and educational opportunities that make District 742 a great place to be. I will always work to be sure any budget cuts are as far removed from the students as possible.
5) What areas would you cut?
I’m not a fan of cutting any areas. If there is room upon review that a program or service can be more productive through cost savings without hurting our students, we need to look at those proposals. We have cut wherever we could during the past years and have whittled our district to the bone. I don’t believe we have room for any more cuts without hurting our educational programs and the future of our students. We need to work for adequate funding for all students throughout the state as mandated by the Minnesota Constitution.
6) What are the school district’s strongest assets and weaknesses?
We have so much to brag about as a district. Our AP classes are top notch; we have technology our neighboring districts wish for; and of course our teachers and staff are committed to the success of their students. As a bonus we have rich diversity – our students learn about their world by the students sitting across the table from them.
I don’t believe we have weaknesses – we have challenges. We need to know students come into the district with different needs and different costs and we need to properly fund each child according to his or her unique needs.