My name is Christa Sorensen and I am running for the Sparta Township School Board of Education.  I have been a resident of Sparta since 2006, and I have had the pleasure of meeting many of you over the last 14 years.  I have three children, a Junior and two Kindergarteners. I received my degree in Business Administration and Marketing from Iona College which led me to a career in consumer marketing.  My business background includes strategic planning, managing multi-million-dollar marketing budgets and building and maintaining collaborative relationships with internal and external partners. 

For the last three years, I have attended board of education meetings to stay informed about issues affecting our district.  I want to ensure that our board of education works as a cohesive unit with each other and with our administrators, with the common goal of making the Sparta School District a district of distinction.  I believe that a school board must be responsive and receptive to parents, staff, students and the community as a whole, encouraging open dialog. It is important to take input from all groups and examine all the facts before making decisions. A board member serves as a trustee of the community that elects him or her. That Trustee must be accessible and willing to collaborate with all members of the district staff and the community.  As a member of our board, I will encourage public understanding, support and participation. I want to be a voice for our teachers, our students and all residents of our community.  There should be mechanisms in place for communication and community involvement.

There are so many issues facing our district.  One challenge I have identified is staying within the 2% budget cap while continuously improving our district for optimal student achievement. Sparta has a robust budget, and our school district and board owe it to our community to be crystal clear and honest about where our tax dollars are being spent. I will NOT vote in favor of a district budget that lacks detail. I would support a line-item budget, where we will be able to see areas of redundancy and waste that can be addressed. I will support using our current budget to improve existing academic programs and opportunities.  A clear and fiscally responsible budget provides accountability that our taxpayer dollars are being spent wisely and that we are looking out for the best interests of our students and teachers.  If elected I will make sure that we have oversight and accountability. 

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Career path readiness is important to me.  Some of our students will not go to college and may want to pursue a different passion. I want to ensure all students are ready for what life brings after high school, whether it is college, the military, heading straight into the workforce or a career in the trades.

Student achievement is an area where I have personally experienced the challenges and frustration of course placement for our high school students into either Academic Prep or College Prep classes.  Our students need to be placed in a class where they are challenged, not just placed in a class where they can get an A.  What is valued more? Rigor OR grades? I want to ensure success and the love of learning for students at all levels.

Another current agenda item facing our board of education is hiring Sparta’s next Superintendent.  Less than eight months after our Superintendent's new contract was approved, which offered a 13% increase in salary and happened prior to the new board members assuming their roles, the board of ed voted to part ways. He has been on leave since May 26th, 2020.  Our district should have a healthy timeline to choose our next candidate.  The public should be informed and involved in process and timeline for filling this position.  Information sessions with the public would be beneficial for the selection process.  We need our next Superintendent to be a leader who will be vested in Sparta’s growth and development and who has characteristics that match our district.  Someone who wants to make a difference in our district.  Not someone just looking to do a two-year stint.  The negative effects of our Superintendent turnover could be felt for years which hurts our long-range vision, staff morale, student performance and infrastructure. 

Our elementary school facilities are in disrepair.  I want to collaborate with the administration to build a long-term plan to address the elementary facilities and finally get our kindergarteners out of temporary trailers.

TRUST, COLLABORATION, COMMUNITY.  I chose these words because they encompass what I bring to the table.  I am an independent thinker; I am open-minded and I am always willing to listen. I am running independently and will not be influenced by outside agenda.