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District 7: Michael Patestas

District 7: Michael Patestas

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Age: 55

Lives near: Southwest 56th Street and West Denton Road

Occupation: Chiropractor

Political party: Republican

Education: Bachelor of Science in business management, St. John's University in New York; associate degree in math/science, Cayuga Community College in New York; Doctor of Chiropractic, Life Chiropractic College, Georgia.

Website: Facebook.com/DrPatestasforLincoln

The pandemic has caused an unprecedented disruption to education, affecting students in many ways including academic losses and mental health issues. How should the district address those issues going forward?

To examine information, put forth by scientific experts, that allows our students/parents/teachers to return to school safely. Surveying our constituents to find out how we can make their experience better at LPS. COVID-19 has not discriminated, it affected everyone's family. We need to return to our normal daily lifestyle. Then, to assess the survey results to determine the academic and mental health needs. Provide an educated solution to meet the needs.

LPS’ state aid allocation decreased significantly last year and is expected to do so again this year. What do you see as the biggest budget priorities and where should the district make cuts if necessary?

The biggest budget priority should be taking care of LPS' frontline workers, the teachers. Remember, COVID-19 affected teachers, too. Meeting their needs will only improve the educational process and experience for students at LPS. Making budget cuts is never easy. But, regarding cuts, maybe we should look toward some administrators in upper management that make salaries in the top 1% of the state.

The district has embarked on efforts to better address equity issues, a focus that began before the Black Lives Matter protests but has intensified since then. What are the best ways for the district to further that work and ensure educational equity for all students?

LPS should form a partnership with students and their parents. Every student should be treated equally and have the same opportunities to be successful at LPS. As teachers come prepared to teach, students should come prepared to learn. But that doesn't always happen. Therefore, allowing school choice in Nebraska will let parents choose either a private or public school option that would best fit their students needs.

The district recently reallocated money to continue the expanded school resource officer program, despite concerns from some that it will increase the school-to-prison pipeline. Do you support the program? Why or why not?

I agree with my constituents from District 7. School safety is a priority. These highly trained, competent, fine school police officers of Lincoln are needed to provide positive leadership, respect and a strong friendly bond between themselves, the students, the parents and the teachers. This will lead to a reduction of the-school-to-prison-pipeline theory, as community policing has demonstrated throughout neighborhoods across America.

What, if anything, should the district have done differently to address the pandemic?

Complete online learning was frustrating for students and teachers. This pandemic was new territory. LPS and local cable providers were unprepared to handle the internet volume. From not being able to log into Zoom or all the calls that I received from LPS about my daughter being absent because of a log-on glitch, students suffered academically and socially. As scientific experts revealed evidence-based studies regarding school-aged children being less affected, LPS should have reopened full time.

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