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Meet the candidate: Chauntyll Allen

School Board candidate 

What are your three biggest priorities if you are elected? 

  • Boost K-3 literacy by advocating for additional funding, educator training, staffing, and culturally relevant curriculum.
  • Fund technical education and trades to provide a broad set of options for students to pursue success.
  • Support additional pay for all educators through funding and formula changes.

The School Board recently passed a $1 billion budget for St. Paul Public Schools for the 2024 fiscal year, the first budget of that size for any district in the state, with a plan to increase the number of teachers and support staff in the district. The increased budget includes an increase in state funding, a substantial portion of general reserve funds and federal COVID relief funds that will sunset at the end of next year. Do you approve of the plan for this budget? How will you prioritize budget items in future years as funding sources reduce, sunset or become otherwise unavailable?

I recently took a class through Georgetown University’s Edunomics program that prepared me for the upcoming fiscal cliff. I am closely monitoring our ESSER and ARP funds, and am proud that our superintendent is being transparent about the process. We set up a financial committee to oversee that process. I, and several colleagues, urged the district to do community engagement around this subject and sessions began last week; our community’s priorities will help determine what programs will sunset.  

The Edunomics program stressed the importance of prioritizing strategies that yield positive outcomes, specifically in areas where outcomes were previously low. Now is the time to sunset strategies that may have been status quo before the pandemic and implement programs that have proven success.  

As we emerge from the COVID pandemic, test scores are continuing to show students tracking behind pre-pandemic levels. While test scores aren’t the only measure of academic success, what are your thoughts on the district’s response to the learning loss experienced by students during the pandemic? 

SPPS has done a really good job at bringing forth strategies that will provide students with many options for success.  From beefing up our credit recovery program to implementing trades into high schools, students have several ways to catch up and many positive pathways toward success.  

Student’s need to feel safe to learn their best, yet St. Paul Public Schools has had a number of high profile violent incidents in recent years. In fact, a recent survey by SPPS found that about a quarter of families reported one or more of their children being involved in a violent incident. What is your position on how the district is addressing violence in St. Paul’s schools and ensuring student safety?

I believe in a holistic approach to safety and mental health that starts with creating trauma-informed spaces supported by trained, caring professionals and community members.

I will continue to advance programs and policies that ensure approaches that affirm and heal rather than stigmatize and punish students. Restorative Justice has been proven to create positive student and school outcomes in other districts and I support its full implementation in SPPS from Pre-K to High School.

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