Barbara Bannar: Incumbent wants to keep district headed in right direction
Barbara Bannar, who now serves as president of the Lake Tahoe Unified School District board, is running for another term. Since she was elected four years ago, Bannar said the district has turned a corner and is heading in the right direction.
Bannar has lived in the area with her husband, Steve, for the past 11 years. They have two children: Brandon, 13, and Allison, 12.
A concern for Bannar in this election is improving test scores. She said she wants to remove the district’s label of being in Program Improvement status — a designation that is part of the federal No Child Left Behind Act — and the only way to do that is to increase test scores.
For vocational education, she said the high school should train students with skills they could use to get a job after school, she said. When less than 25 percent of graduates are moving on to universities and colleges, young adults need more options, she said.
To increase or stabilize enrollment, more magnet schools are a solution, she said. The Environmental Science Magnet School was warmly received and Bijou could turn into a language magnet school, Bannar said. When schools have an emphasis, it makes it easier to apply for grants, she said.
Problems with attendance can be due to many different reasons, she said. One of the main reasons is sick days. Keeping kids healthy all year long is a goal the district has, she said.
Students can’t learn if they’re not in school, she said. “That’s your job as a child,” Bannar said, “to come to school.”
At the high school, the 4-by-4 program got off to a rocky start last year for a couple of reasons, such as labor negotiations and because it was a new program, she said. This is a new schedule that started this academic year, consisting of eight classes in the year, with four blocks every day. After this school year is up, the board can then see if those other variables worked themselves out of the equation, Bannar said.
The community is responsive to the needs of the district, Bannar said. Whenever help is needed for any programs, such as school sports, the community steps up and makes those things happen. “When we need help, the parents are there,” Bannar said.