Cheney Free Press -

 
 

By DREW PETERSON
Staff Intern 

Browne wants to return to CSD board

 


Residents of the Cheney area might be asking what can Browne do for you?

Taking over the Cheney School Board District 3 position in January after previous incumbent Kerry O’Connor resigned, Henry Browne is looking to pick up right where he left off.

“I think that there are a lot of good things going on right now and I would like to see us continue the good work we are already doing,” Browne said.

Among the things Browne would like to accomplish as a school board in the next four years is becoming more fiscally responsible while also working to get more involvement from the local communities outside of the Cheney area.

“The school district represents a pretty big geographical area,” Browne said. “And one of the concerns that has been made known is the lack of geographical balance as far as the distribution of the schools within the district.”

To tackle the issue of geographical balance, Browne supports the idea of beginning to look at the options regarding building a new school in Airway Heights or north of I-90.

“I think it is something that we definitely need to look at and start planning now so when the time comes where we have to construct another school, that should definitely not only be an option, but more of a priority I think.”

While that issue may be down the road, one challenge that Browne currently sees facing the school district is a lack of resources to accomplish the tasks that they are given.

“A lot of the mandates are regulatory changes and a lot of them involve additional resources,” Browne said. “Unfortunately a lot of those mandates are unfunded and so we are in this constant battle of trying to play catch up. Robbing Peter to pay Paul, so to speak.”

This lack of adequate funding, Browne said, was addressed in January 2012 when the Washington State Supreme Court ruled that the state was failing to live up to its ‘paramount duty’ of providing ample funding toward the education of all K-12 students and ordered the Legislature to “make steady, real and measurable progress each year and to fully fund K-12 public education by 2018.”

And while Browne sees this McCleary decision as a step in the right direction, it hasn’t necessarily been a solution to this point.

“We haven’t seen anything delivered yet,” Browne said. “Again, even if they paid everything that they’ve had in the budget it still wouldn’t bring us whole. But it would be a step in the right direction. I think they’re moving in the right direction, but we are not there yet.”

While resources may not be where Browne would like them to be, he believes that his passion for education and his love of learning makes him the perfect candidate for the position.

“I believe in lifelong learning,” Browne said. “And I think as a parent with children in the school district currently, I have a vested interest in making our school district the best in the state and doing the best we can to ensure our children get a fair chance of succeeding in their lives by the foundation we can give them in our schools.”

 

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