Candidate Q&A: Sara Faltys
EDITOR’S NOTE: This is part two of a five-part question-and-answer series on the Marshalltown School Board candidates.
Part two is dedicated to candidate Sara Faltys, 44, who is an administrator of laboratory services and medical records at the McFarland Clinic and is an active member of the Assistance League of Marshalltown.
Originally from Woolstock, she graduated from the University of Iowa with a bachelor’s degree in clinical laboratory science and received a masters in healthcare administration from Ohio University.
Faltys’s husband, Shane, is a nurse anesthetist at UnityPoint Health-Marshalltown. Her daughter, Sydney, is a sophomore at Marshalltown High School and her son, Tyler, is a seventh-grade student at Miller Middle School.
The other candidates running for four seats on the school board are incumbent Nicholas “Niko” Aguirre, incumbent Sean Heitmann, Jan McGinnis and Bob Untiedt.
The election will be held Nov. 5.
Q: The Marshalltown Community School District currently has more than 550 students that have chosen to open-enroll out of the district and attend area schools. What do you think are the main reasons for students leaving the district? What do you propose to change that trend?
Sara Faltys: Academic opportunities, school quality, class size and safety are typically among the top reasons for changing open enrolling. Highlighting and marketing the fact that Marshalltown offers a dual-language program, advanced placement opportunities and more options for extracurricular activities is a great way to keep students in our school system. Personally I am proud to have my children attend school in Marshalltown and feel they are getting a high quality education.
Q: Besides open-enrollment, what do you consider to be the top three goals you would like to see the school district accomplish?
Faltys: I view the district’s increased technology use and college and career readiness initiatives as strengths and would like to see us continue along those paths. Retention and recruiting of highly engaged teachers is vital to student achievement. Those that live and work in our community and are dedicated to the success of our children are important to me. Providing each school with the staffing resources it needs to thrive is important as well. Student safety while on school grounds is also something that we need to keep as a top area of concern.
Q: How will you exercise fiduciary responsibility and oversight?
Sara Faltys: The board has the duty to fully investigate all possible decisions and how they impact the district. Ensuring that I never allow any outside interests or personal affiliations or allegiances to interfere with my responsibility. Taking time to fully explore all of the options for a particular decision on the table and making the one that I believe best serves the interests of the students, the schools and our community.
Q: Since the school budget is millions of dollars, what is your background in financial concerns or how will you gain understanding of this major component?
Faltys: I complete annual budgets for my departments at McFarland Clinic and am held accountable to staying within them. I ensure we stay within our budgetary limits and follow specific processes. The annual Iowa Association of School Board meeting is in November. I will attend those sessions to ensure I am up to speed on the financial operations.
Q: Have you visited any school facilities? Explain.
Faltys: I have visited Fisher, Lenin, Miller and MHS on a frequent basis over the last four years as my children were students in these buildings. I have also visited Rogers during my time in the Iowa Valley Leadership program.
Q: What course of action should the school district take to install air conditioning in to the high school? How soon should that process begin?
Faltys: Comfortable, safe facilities enhance schools’ ability to deliver high-quality education. I feel it would be wise to research grant and bond options. I feel very strongly about not increasing taxpayer burden if at all possible. Additionally, looking in to energy efficient options when considering a large project is essential as well. I think not only addressing the high school air conditioning concern but also taking into consideration the lack of air conditioning in areas of Miller is just as important. This is a large project that will take time to orchestrate so I feel it should be looked at sooner rather than later.