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Fraire seeks seat on school board PDF Print E-mail
Saturday, 16 September 2017 10:07

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ELLY GRIMM
• Leader & Times



Current USD 480 school board candidate Elsa Fraire has always been interested in politics and always wanted to run for a local office, but for her, it was a tough choice deciding which office to run for. 

“It’s one of those where I’ve always wanted to run for office, but what office that would be, I wasn’t sure,” Fraire admitted. “As I delved more into whether I wanted to run for the city commission or the school board, it turned out the school board would be a better fit for me, so that was the main reason for wanting to run. I wanted to serve in some way and now is as good a time as any. The other really strong reason for me is there aren’t any women on the school board and I feel we need more women at the table and I want the board to be more representative of what the district actually is not only gender-wise but also ethnicity-wise. With me running, I hope that would be more representative of the community.”

After her youngest daughter graduated from high school in May, Fraire said the decision to run was made easier. 

“That was one of the biggest pushes behind my wanting to run because I would have the time to commit to it,” Fraire said. “In a sense, I thought perhaps not having a child in the district would help me not focus on just what my children would think or what they would want. So when the opportunity came up and she graduated, I took it and thought I may as well do it now.”

Overall, Fraire said, USD 480 has a great group of people working in the district and she praised the work that has been done. 

“We already have a fantastic group of people already there, and I don’t intend to try and reinvent the wheel or do anything out of the norm. If anything, what I would hope to do is be someone who would serve the community,” Fraire said. “I’m not sure if it’s just me or something that’s noticeable to the rest of the community, but sometimes in the district, it’s the same group of folks who get involved in the different activities or committees like After Prom or one the Site Councils – it just seems to be the same group of people. In that same token, I know there are some on the school board who have served in the past and have been there quite some time. They’re all great people, I don’t have anything negative to say about any of them, so I would mostly want to just bring fresh ideas to the board.” 

Fraire said one of her goals should she be elected in November would be to simply bring some fresh ideas to the table.

“One of the things I’ve learned especially working as a lawyer is certain people seem to think going with the status quo is good and had the attitude of ‘This is how we’ve always done it, that’s how we’re going to continue to do it,’” Fraire said. “And I don’t think that’s a bad thing to a degree, but at the same time, if you have people who are fresh and willing to look at things from a different perspective, maybe that would be good for not only the board but the district as a whole. I would also maybe want to make it a point to have the school board be more interactive at the actual schools, that would be what I would want to do.”

It is also important, Fraire continued, for the board to be a bridge between the community and the school district, even for those people who don’t have children in the district. 

“Fore example, if there were instances where parents weren’t completely comfortable reaching out because of a language barrier, hopefully by knowing someone on the board speaks their language would help them do that,” Fraire said. “Or, if we couldn’t help them ourselves, maybe we would know someone who would be able to help them.”

Fraire, who has been through the school district herself, said that is another reason she would be a good fit for the school board. 

“I care deeply about the community, I was raised here, went to elementary school at McDermott Elementary School, went to middle school at South Middle School and graduated from Liberal High School in 1998,” Fraire said. “There are various teachers still in the district who actually taught me when I was in school and later ended up teaching my children. I just have this sense of wanting to make sure I give back to my community. I don’t want the school board to micromanage anything, that’s why the district hires superintendents, principals, all those people, so they should be the ones in charge of the day-to-day matters in the buildings and ultimately the board should be in charge of the bigger picture matters. That’s my goal, to help as much as possible wherever I can.”

Fraire said she is also excited about the rest of the campaign trail and meeting the rest of the candidates, and also offered encouragement for the community to get out and vote in the elections in November.

“What I’m looking forward to is getting to meet the other candidates, we have a really good bunch and while I don’t know all of them, I do know a few of them and I’ve read their profiles,” Fraire said. “Regardless of who actually ends up being elected to the board, I think any one of us would do great and the fact that there are so many of us running, that’s great. I also look forward to just seeing if I end up being elected or not. Either way, no matter how it all turns out, I know any of the candidates would do a great job. And I like how there are so many of us because it could have been a situation where only a few people ran and there wouldn’t have even been the need for an election. It’s great there are that many who were willing to give their time and focus, and who wanted to do this for the community.”

 

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The High Plains Daily Leader and Southwest Daily Times are published Sunday through Friday and reaches homes throughout the Liberal, Kansas retail trade zone. The Leader & Times is the official newspaper of Seward County, USD No. 480, USD No. 483 and the cities of Liberal and Kismet.  The Leader & Times is a member of the Liberal Chamber of Commerce, the Kansas Press Association and the Associated Press.

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