Dear Editor,

I contacted you because As a former teacher, I know the importance of doing homework. It's not just a student skill; it's a life skill. On October 26th, the Center Point Urbana School Board held a Legislative Roundtable and invited all candidates in the area to attend.

One candidate for Iowa House District 95 (Christian Andrews) and all the candidates for Iowa House District 75 attended.

While all four of the candidates have expressed an interest in supporting education, it was clear that only one of the candidates for HD 75 had done her homework.

Paula Denison has spent time with school administrators and teachers.

Tom Gerhold, on the other hand, appeared to have no understanding of how public schools work or are funded. Repeatedly, he responded to questions with, “I’ll learn when I get to Des Moines in January.” When asked about the disparity in transportation costs, and its impact on school budgets, he was not aware that Benton Community School District had significantly higher transportation costs per student than Vinton-Shellsburg, Center Point Urbana, or Iowa Valley, nor did he understand that those higher transportation costs do not equate to higher funding for that district.

When asked about how vouchers would impact public school funding, Mr. Gerhold's response was roughly, “I went to a private/parochial school. I'll learn when I get there.”

Learning on the job is critical, but with the complicated issues facing Iowa's educational system – issues highly impacted by Iowa's unique agricultural and rural make-up – a candidate asking to represent us must go into the job with a working knowledge base.

A voucher system that would either starve public schools or drive taxes up (trying to support a dual system) is not in Iowa's best interest. Iowa has a strong balanced school choice program in place.

Candidates need to understand that, as well as the complicated funding, before they become representatives, not learn on the job. At the very least, candidates need to have a plan to learn from those they represent.

Mr. Gerhold's plan suggests he will have electronic means of communicating with our district.

Paula plans to actually attend forums such as the legislative round tables.

Paula will hold public meetings in District 75 as she believes in open communication with concerned citizens.

There is a real divide in preparedness to respond to and represent all of the citizens of Iowa's House District 75.

Paula did her homework and wants to continue to learn from the citizens of District 75, something we must demand of all of our representation. She is ready to serve our district.

I have worked with Paula on her campaign, and I am proud to continue to do so through Election Day, November 6, and as long as she serves as our representative. .

Deborah Ann Vaughan

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