Q & A

These are questions the were asked of Mitch Lingo by various groups. Redundant or similar questions were removed if asked by multiple groups.

League of Women Voters

What motivates you to seek election now to the school board?

Upon moving to Iowa City in 2014, I was surprised by the Board of Directors (BoD) turnover and the various issues between the administration, BoD, and the community. It was not until sometime between 2018 and 2020 that I began to feel comfortable that there was a balance of respect between the three groups. The current BoD has not done anything terribly wrong over the past four to six years. Yes, I may have differences between some nuanced policy decisions, but I do not have an axe to grind or a bone to break. That is not the candidate I am. 

I began tuning into the BoD after the Governor was reelected and swept the House with her candidates. At that point, we all knew vouchers were coming, yet we did not realize how bad they would be. I expected the BoD to begin to discuss how the policies they enact or discuss relate to how parents do or do not enroll their children in ICCSD. Even after HF68 was passed, there was scarcely a mention of the new competition the district has to and must engage in to bring in new and keep continuing families in the District. Now, I will get back to this. 

I am a former teacher. I taught six years at a racially/ethnically diverse middle school in Omaha, Nebraska, that was 60% to 75% FRPL in any given year. I taught social studies my first three years but switched to mathematics when I was told that a social studies colleague would experience RIF during the Great Recession if I did not switch my content area. Over the next three years, I burnt out. Still, during that time, I became active in the Omaha Education Association (member of the NEA and NSEA) to advocate for change to protect teachers in a similar situation to what I went through. Lastly, my time in Omaha would cultivate an understanding of how private schools eat away at public education's foundation by creating a school system for the affluent and privileged and only educating those students they deem economically, academically, sexually, and socially worthy. 

My way out of teaching was graduate school; graduate school is how I ended up in Iowa City. I pursued and completed a Ph.D. in educational policy and leadership studies that focused on the sociology of education. Though my published research does not show this, my early work was the building out of literature reviews on school choice and vouchers. One of the main points I received from this is that public schools in a liberal Democratic Party-leaning community can not expect liberal Democratic parents to default to public schools. Typically, when “choice” is implemented, parents with children with high “academic aptitudes” or parents that are socioeconomically advantaged are the first to leave public schools. This act creates a cascading next rung of parents with children with slightly less “high academic aptitudes” and slightly less socioeconomically advantaged parents. The process continues down the ladder.

The fear of “missing out” on a seat at a private school or having one’s child “left behind” is a significant motivator for using a voucher. These are also reasons pre-K parents approached me this summer about why they used a voucher or considered using it next fall. Two weeks ago, I received a targeted advertisement on Facebook from Scattergoods. When looking at why I was targeted, the ad indicated that Scattergoods targeted adults 30 to 55 with a “doctorate.” When the progressive-liberal private school within the Iowa City area works to wedge out socioeconomically advantaged families, it rings an alarm bell for me. 

My worry in all of this is one of equity. I have twin adult aunts who, in adulthood, operate at the cognitive level of a second grader. I understand that funding the education of students like my aunts requires the District to take monies allocated through the headcount “lower cost to educate” students to help support the education of students similar to my aunts. The exact process extends to other students on various types of 504 plans/IEPs, English language learners, students from marginalized backgrounds, etc. If the District were to get into a cycle of what I mentioned in the previous paragraph, it would lose its ability to come close to funding the students that need the most resources. 

This brings me back to the end of the second paragraph about why I am running. When I started watching BoD minutes, I noticed little discussion on the new reality of ICCSD’s need to compete with the current private schools and any future charter schools in the area. For example, when discussing the creation of a formula for supplemental bussing, there was no discussion of whether distance to a private school should have a part to play in the program. For example, Faith Academy’s location overlaps three elementary schools. Many may consider these public schools an un-walkable distance for a Kindergartner if their home was next to Faith. Similar arguments could be made for the families of the two elementary school zones next to Regina. In both situations, losing a student at Kindergarten means that we may have lost them for seven to thirteen years and any younger siblings. Whether it is something seemingly as trivial as bussing or critical as mathematics curriculum, how policy change may bring students in or push them out of the District needs to be happening. If the District were to lose 50 Kindergartners this year, that number becomes 100 next year as those Kindergartners go into first grade, and another 50 would replace them. Thirteen years from now, the district has lost 650 students or $4.4M (in current dollars). 

The District provides the best education in the state with the best teachers. But, the District needs to be vocal about this and begin to compete in the new education marketplace of Iowa. Even if they do not explicitly state this in their messages, private and charter schools are now in the game of closing public school buildings and districts. They may say they “believe” in options but are happy to close a few buildings in our District if they meet enrollment goals. I am not running for this position to be on the defensive when it comes to this. I am running to put them on the defensive. 

What experiences and skills prepare you to serve on the school board?

I taught for six years (three years of social studies and three years of mathematics) at a Title 1 middle school in Omaha, Nebraska. I have multiple degrees in education, including a BA in elementary/middle-level education from the University of Northern Iowa, a MA in secondary education with an emphasis in urban schools from the University of Nebraska-Omaha, and a Ph.D. in Educational Policy and Leadership Studies with an emphasis in the Sociology of Education from the University of Iowa. My current work uses quantitative data and methods to examine the high school-to-college pipeline in Iowa and Iowa’s grants and scholarships. I have two nephews and a niece currently at Lincoln Elementary, and my friends all chose to invest in the community by using ICCSD to educate their children. I have friends who teach and work within the district. I have two daughters (four years and twenty-two months old) and another one on the way in December. Having children at this age gives me a unique insight into how parents decide to invest in ICCSD’s public education or one of its competitors. In kindergarten, vouchers wedge their way into and lay to waste public school districts. If the district does not understand the mindset and fears of parents/guardians of four to five-year-olds, they will not be able to compete where they are most vulnerable.

What are the top three challenges facing the school district and how will you address them?

1-Current and future state government overreach into the local public schools. 

We experienced this during the last legislative session in the targeting of LGBTQIA+ students (SF 482/496) and diversity, equity, and inclusion (H802). Reading the tea leaves on issues near and dear to conservative think tanks, I can imagine that this year we will see potential laws surrounding “the science of reading” paired with the retention of 3rd-grade students and the reporting of students to the county attorney for truancy (as low as 2% retained in Indiana to 20% retained in Florida). Because the laws that just occurred attack families and students, to say the current overreach is “tough” to deal with does not even touch on the situation's levity. 

My view on the current laws is that as a District, we need to find humanizing ways to help the students and families of the LGBTQIA+ and BIPOC communities feel loved and appreciated by the District. Meanwhile, My first question for the administrators and lawyers will always be on laws involving LGBTQIA+: "Is this the option that will hurt students the least under the law?” Keeping in mind the State will come for the licenses of our administrators and teachers, potentially leaving our offices and classrooms empty of adults, we must find ways to protect our teachers and students actively. Regarding future overreach, the Board must keep an ear to the ground regarding policies put forth and passed by groups like the Heritage Foundation and right-leaning states to plan the policies and procedures so we do not get caught on our heels.

2-State increases to the State Supplemental Aid formula that are below the annual rates of inflation.

With the passing of vouchers (HF 68) creating a duplicative system of public education finance in the state and the State’s efforts to cut public services for tax cuts, further budget crises will likely arise. It is terrible, but it’s a design feature by our state government. Public education in Iowa is no longer just “getting lean.” We are now losing muscle because of underfunding. If we, as a community, believe in our local elementary schools, we need parents/guardians to utilize our local buildings. 

When it comes to the budget, cuts to the classroom need to remain one of the last options. But, we need to examine where we have extremely small class sizes at both the primary and secondary levels. This may mean looking at attendance boundaries at the primary level and how often specific courses are offered at the secondary level. Neither is ideal, but we must be ready for some issues. 

3-Keeping the Iowa City Community School District the number one district in the state.

This past year, ICCSD’s high schools placed in the top 4% of high schools in the state and 12% nationally. Additionally, the District had 20 students qualify as National Merit Scholars. We excel in the classrooms, on the stages, and on the fields/courts. This is a testament to the students, their parents, the community, and the District’s teachers, staff, and administrators. There is always room for improvement, especially when we look at students' test scores from the District’s marginalized communities. To keep the District strong, it requires looking at policies that minimize classroom distractions and curriculum that provides the rigor and relevance for all learning levels parents have come to expect from their schools. One upcoming area is using input from building administrators, teachers, and parents to develop district-wide cell phone use policies to minimize disruption in the classroom and hallways. As the District continues to look at its mathematics program at the secondary level, I want to make sure that we are providing a classroom standard that meets students at their level and brings them to their full potential. As a former mathematics teacher, I understand the difficulty of teaching the course to a classroom of students well below and well above grade-level standards. As an education researcher, I understand the detrimental and often racialized effects of tracking students throughout the school day.

Cedar Rapids Gazette

How and who should determine the curriculum?

The determination of curriculum should be a community and data-driven process. The community should have a Board member providing oversight and several administrators, teachers, parents, and possibly an outside content specialist. These groups should review various developed curricula, all thoroughly vetted as rigorous and relevant for the content area. As a larger district, ICCSD is at an advantage in that it can test several curriculums across the district to see which best meets the needs of our learners. After testing several curriculums, qualitative and quantitative data should be collected from students, teachers, and parents. After collecting and evaluating the data, the committee should choose the best curriculum, present it to the Board, and justify their choice. The Board, after consulting with various stakeholders such as parents and teachers, should then choose to pass or not pass the committee’s recommendation.

What are your three top priorities for the school district? What will you do to address them?

What do you see as strengths and weaknesses of the school district?

The strength of the community begins in its widespread support of public education and ICCSD. Unlike many Districts in the CRANDIC, ICCSD has a nearly 0% net open enrollment. Many great school districts surround ICCSD, but the community still invests in ICCSD. Another great strength of the district is how it tries to improve equity by balancing the percentage of students on free and reduced-price lunch (FRPL). Most school districts would be afraid of ever trying this policy, but it is a policy that the community believes in. Another policy that makes the district great is the building out of the state-provided half-day pre-kindergarten program with competitively priced childcare during the second half of the day. With only four elementary schools with the program, the program is in its adolescent stage. But, I see a real opportunity in the program for all families regardless of socioeconomic status and language abilities. There are a lot of parents, myself included, who have grimaced at the lack of a full-day childcare option. Even if we do not get city buy-in, being able to have the majority of elementary schools with full-day childcare would make us the envy of many throughout the CRANDIC and Iowa.


As with most schools, academic achievement for students of traditionally marginalized backgrounds (racial/ethnic, low socioeconomic status, sexual minority, neurodivergent, etc.) is an ongoing issue throughout the District’s buildings. I will continue to explore how the District’s Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Plan can enhance all our learning experiences (like the ICCSD says, “diversity drives innovation”) and ways in which local non-profits could help us meet the needs of these students and their families. Another looming issue or weakness for the District is finding an agreeable, practical, and achievable cell phone policy. Whether it is classroom attentiveness or psychological distress throughout the school day, reasonable people will attest to the detriment of cell phones on our children, adolescents, and classrooms throughout the District.

Why do you want to serve on the school board? What relevant experience do you have?

I want to serve on the ICCSD School Board because I believe in the underdog. New state laws and policies regarding how the voucher (ESA) game is played take the gloves off of the private/charter schools while public schools are left with their gloves on. I have degrees in BA and elementary/middle-level education, an MA in secondary education with an emphasis in urban schools, and a Ph.D. in educational policy and leadership studies. Before my current role evaluating Iowa’s scholarships, grants, and the high school-to-college pipeline with statistical techniques, I spent six years teaching in a Title I middle school in north Omaha and five years educating teacher candidates at the University of Iowa. Given the pernicious nature of vouchers, my primary drive to serve on the Board is to keep ICCSD as competitive as possible while maintaining equity throughout the district.

Are there any curriculum concerns you have with the district? Why? How should the school board address these issues?

One of the more significant concerns I have heard surrounds the rigor of our junior high school mathematics curriculum and the curriculum’s preparation for high school mathematics. The concern was the basis of a recent Education Committee meeting within the district. According to the Math Curriculum Coordinator, the curriculum is not rigorous enough for the current middle school students. If I hear this as an issue from parents, teachers, and the Coordinator, it is fair to say that the District should be looking for a curriculum with greater rigor for the district. I know the District is in the curriculum review process for mathematics. The next Board finalizes any choice for mathematics. If the piloted program indicates that it is meeting the needs of students at the top, we should consider it as long as it meets the needs of students at the bottom. If not, the District should look into other curricula. 

If you were required to cut the district's budget, what areas would you look to for savings and why?

The ICCSD has rightly, in my opinion, provided a list of potential places to cut the District’s budget when it had to cut the budget because of State underfunding. Though it is difficult to state where I would make these cuts without a list such as this, one avenue of saving money that may merit a look is “right-sizing” extremely small class sizes at the elementary and secondary levels. Within the elementary level, this may mean taking a look at and making minor tweaks to the catchment zones of the schools. At the high school level, it may mean looking at an elective offered every year with 12 to 15 students and offering it every other year. Neither scenario is ideal, but 82% to 86% of districts’ costs in the United States is personnel. At this point, we have gone past “getting lean,” and we are starting to lose muscle. 

What level of control do you think school boards should have?

A School Board is no different than any other Board of Directors. As with any non-profit to a Fortune 500 Company, a School Board exists to oversee and guide the entity and the person in charge. In this case, the entity is the school district, and the superintendent is in charge. The only difference is that School Board members are picked by the electors in the community and not picked by large shareholders of a company or benefactors of a non-profit. We are not there to micromanage the school buildings or the classrooms but to provide overarching policy guidance and a vision for the district as a whole. 

If the school district had additional funds available, what should they be allocated to? Why?

A combination of increasing the pay of paraeducators and reducing class sizes by increasing the number of teachers within the District. Paraeducators are fundamental to reducing the achievement gap in all Districts. However, paraeducator pay remains too low and not competitive enough to achieve full staffing throughout the District. This is not an issue endemic to ICCSD but across the state. Families and teachers attest to the benefits of smaller class sizes for students. When parents and teachers agree on a topic, there is a good chance that they are right. 

What will you do to be responsive to parents, teachers and district staff? What types of communication should the public expect from you?

I am always open and willing to talk to anyone within the community. I am already at the point where I field questions at the playgrounds, splash pads, and pools throughout ICCSD with my children. If people want a personal meeting with me, they can let me know, and I will do my best to work it into my schedule. Otherwise, I will answer emails promptly or take a phone call after 4:30 PM. Finally, I plan to set up a Farmer’s Market stand once a month throughout the late spring to mid-fall for any questions, thoughts, or opinions from community members. 

Anti-Racism and Social Justice North Liberty 

What have you done personally or professionally to address racism and inequity in our community? How will this inform the way you lead the school district?

I have advocated personally for ICCSD and high school administrators to find alternative ways to address student behavior issues instead of getting local police involved or the use of school resource officers. I am particularly aware of how racial bias can affect those decisions. Professionally, as a researcher in educational policy, I work extensively to collect and report data that informs policy decisions about racism and inequity in primary and secondary education. These personal and professional commitments will shape how I approach those issues as a board member. 

As a school board member, what do you plan to do to cultivate a culture in the school district that is inclusive, inviting, welcoming, and safe for all students, families, and district staff?

I support the ICCSD’s DEI policy and will work to support it. I’ve been impressed with and will continue to support Laura Gray’s work for the district. This work is vital in an increasingly hostile state, especially to LGBTQIA+ faculty/staff/students and BIPOC faculty/staff/students. 

What is your plan for engaging with and listening to BIPOC and other marginalized students, parents, and families in North Liberty to ensure their perspectives and interests are being heard and addressed?

I’ve regularly made myself available in various forums for ICCSD students, parents, faculty, staff, and families to express their concerns, whether attending Farmer’s Markets, community events, or other organizations of interest related to ICCSD schools. I will keep those avenues open and would love to hear, especially about the needs of the BIPOC community in North Liberty. Please let me know if the ARSJN has any events/sessions they would like me to attend. With five communities and no newspaper to unite them with ICCSD, it has become even more critical for Board members to make themselves available to the community within reason. I also would encourage those interested in joining or working with the ICCSD equity committee, which helps inform the ICCSD Board of Directors about needs facing BIPOC and other marginalized faculty/staff/families/students in our district.

How do you plan to ensure that our schools are safe and inclusive environments for LGBTQIA+ students, staff, and families?

The first step is clear, consistent, and humanizing communication to the LGBTQIA+ community about how the District handles any policy forced upon it from the State. I will push the District to find ways to support students harmed by new state laws while, at the same time, protecting teachers, staff, and administrators from potential punitive state measures. My first question for the administrators and lawyers will always be, “Is this the option that will hurt students the least under the law?” 

Given the significant chilling effect on the support that teachers and administrators can offer LGBTQIA+ students who are not out to their parents, I believe there is a place for nonprofits to fill the void throughout the District. Otherwise, I will continue to support anti-bullying and bullying prevention efforts throughout the District. As research shows, bullying based on gender/sexuality transcends all backgrounds negatively throughout the classrooms and within the buildings.

How would you address concerns about the achievement gap and disparities in educational outcomes within our district? (ICCSD 2021-22 Annual Progress Report)

The racial disparities seen in achievement data result from systemic problems and, thus, are opportunity gaps created by an unjust educational and social system. Although the ICCSD cannot fully address every systemic harm in our educational system, we can not make the situation worse by adding to educational barriers for BIPOC and other marginalized members of our community. One way is to continue to work through and improve our socioeconomic balance throughout the district’s elementary areas. As tenants and homeowners move and children age out of the District, minor changes may be needed to keep buildings equitable. This is not only a policy advocated by the District in the past but is supported in research for achieving better academic and social outcomes among all students. Second, there are areas where we can make improvements. One area is the weighted resource allocation model (WRAM), which has flattened recently. As ESSERS funding from the pandemic dries up after this year, the District will need to revisit it to ensure that we are equitably distributing resources throughout the district.

How would you work to ensure that hiring processes are equitable and inclusive, reducing biases and barriers that may hinder diverse candidates from joining our school district?

For a while now, the ICCSD has aimed to increase recruitment and retention of BIPOC faculty and staff significantly. I know that historically, BIPOC administrators have faced barriers in our district. I also know that Laura Gray has worked to reverse those trends, and recruitment and retention have improved over the last several years. As the “Grow Your Own” program continues to produce graduates, we should have a better indication of how the program has increased the number of teachers from traditionally marginalized backgrounds in the District. There is still substantial room for improvement. I can imagine putting in place programs to identify top student teachers who come into the buildings early on for recruitment into the teaching force.

Additionally, I can see a scenario in which administrators and teachers were to keep an eye out for student teachers from traditionally marginalized backgrounds. As we know, a more significant issue is that our postsecondary institutions in Iowa are predominantly White. When teaching Human Relations for the Classroom Teacher at the University of Iowa, I was lucky if I had more than two students who were non-White. The demographic trends in Iowa higher education mean that the District may need to look outside Iowa for teachers. We then hit a roadblock of teacher-friendly state policies in Illinois, Wisconsin, and Minnesota. Still, sending staff to recruitment events at colleges and universities without a predominantly White student base is worth a shot.

How will you prioritize equity within district budget decisions, including allocating funds for programs and initiatives that address disparities in education and learning?

Whether it is a choice in curriculum or resource placement throughout the District, the impact on marginalized students will always be a significant consideration of any budget decision for me. Understanding that public education statewide will be “lucky” to receive a 3% increase from the state supplemental aid formula, addressing these disparities will be a chief concern with decreases in funding relative to inflation.

Iowa City Education Association

Please list and briefly explain your top priorities if elected.

Over the past two years, what do you think the Board's biggest success has been and what do you think its biggest failure has been?

Though I do not like to quantify things as the biggest in either direction, the buildout of the Pre-K with afternoon childcare is one of the larger successes over the past two years. Though it is in its adolescent stages, I see a real opportunity in the program for all families regardless of socioeconomic status and language abilities. There are a lot of parents, myself included, who have grimaced at the lack of a full-day childcare option. Even if we do not get city buy-in, being able to have the majority of elementary schools with full-day childcare would make us the envy of many communities.

A larger failure that the Board and the District share is not developing a wide-scale communications strategy to get out into the community. We no longer have a community newspaper, the Daily Iowan picks up some slack for seven or eight months, and The Gazette is pulled everywhere throughout the CRANDIC. Many great things are happening in ICCSD and triumphs, but we have no media to transmit this information. If we do not develop an effective strategy, others control the narrative of what happens in our District. I have been learning this the hard way on my Saturdays in explaining how the Board has been handling various issues, from the ESSERS cuts to book bannings. 

At its August 22, 2023 meeting the ICCSD Board of Directors unanimously voted to approve a Board resolution on recent legislation.  The resolution can be viewed HERE.  If you had been on the Board at that time how would you have voted and why?

I would vote for the resolution. First, I am a human that cares for others. Second, my brother and his husband are a part of the LGBTQIA+ community. I could not look him in the eye if I did not do so. Finally, the laws enacted last spring are bad for students and do little to prepare students for a pluralistic society.

In your view, what is the appropriate role for the Iowa City Education Association (ICEA)--the teachers’ union--to play in the District’s decision-making process?

The ICEA should have a seat at the table. As a former teacher, I understand that a teacher’s actual classroom experience may not always reflect that of the administrators. After all, teachers and staff are the ones who live the process of policies and procedures passed by the BoD. Additionally, I have enough lived experience as a teacher to understand that the policies will fail if significant policy changes or transitions do not have the buy-in of teachers and staff.

Over the past decade, inadequate funding from the State of Iowa has hurt the ability of the Iowa City Community School District to maintain its rich and diverse educational programming, keep class sizes manageable, maintain adequate preparation time for teachers, and meet the academic and social-emotional needs of our students.  If elected, what are your budget priorities?

The funding situation continues to frustrate me as I watch from the outside. My largest budget priority will be to keep class sizes manageable for teachers and parents. Most research on school class size is inconclusive, and there is no published research on secondary education class sizes. In any case, parents and teachers alike do not like large class sizes. Suppose the district wants to keep parents from looking toward private and other public schools with smaller classes or teachers looking to other districts/careers. In that case, we need to better find ways to lower the classroom size, especially at the secondary level. Though it is not a cure for meeting all students’ academic and socio-emotional needs and lowering teachers’ stress and work-life balance, getting class sizes under control could go a long way in helping these other issues.

We would like to know where you stand on several legislative issues of concern to educators that have been passed in the past several years related to schools in Iowa.  For each, please indicate what your position is on each issue--do you support or oppose the actions of the Iowa legislature. 

Opposed to HF68 (School Vouchers), SF482 (Bathroom Use by Birth), SF496 (Transparency and Parents' Rights), and HF802 (Divisive Concepts and DEI Training).

There is a shortage of teachers at the state and national levels.  The continued attacks on public education and the stress of teaching during the COVID pandemic are worsening this problem.  Within this climate, how can the Iowa City Schools attract and retain a diverse group of the best and brightest teachers and staff members?  If elected to the Board, how will you contribute to that effort?

First and foremost is to make sure that each building has administrators who support and have the respect of their staff. After all, a meta-analysis indicates that lower administrator support for teachers and overall effectiveness are two of the strongest determinants of teacher attrition. If the administrators are not strong, they should be brought up to speed, or someone else should be brought in to take their place.

Second, I can imagine putting in place programs to identify top student teachers who come into the buildings early on for recruitment into the teaching force. Additionally, I can see a scenario in which administrators and teachers were to keep an eye out for student teachers from traditionally marginalized backgrounds. As we know, a larger issue is that our postsecondary institutions in Iowa are predominantly White. When teaching Human Relations for the Classroom Teacher at Iowa, I was lucky if I had more than two students who were non-White. The demographic trends in Iowa higher education mean that the District may need to look outside Iowa for teachers. We then hit a roadblock of teacher-friendly state policies in Illinois, Wisconsin, and Minnesota. Still, it is worth a shot to send staff to recruitment events at colleges and universities without a predominantly White student base.

Please list one “under the radar” issue that has not received adequate attention that deserves more focus and explain why.

Two large issues are arising from “conservative” think tanks that will likely come to Iowa during the next session: mandatory 3rd-grade retention based upon a passing reading score (see the Mississippi “Miracle”) and compulsory truancy reporting to the county attorney. Given the limited classroom space and small staffing numbers in some of the District’s buildings, the first option could pose many challenges for the District. 

The second issue we already saw at the September 13th BoD meeting was the county attorney’s presentation. I would venture to guess that her visit is the early headwind of this kind of policy being handed down by the state. When I taught in Nebraska, they implemented a law like this. If a student missed 15 or 20 days (at least 10 years ago, so I no longer remember), the parents were reported to the county attorney, and the county attorney had to meet with the student’s parents. The law was quickly scrapped when a combination of affluent parents discovered they could no longer take their children out of school for various family vacations, and parents with children experiencing long-term illnesses spoke out. 

What do you see as strengths and weaknesses of the school district?