Mandy Fox is running for the Hays USD 489 Board of Education for her children and because of the role schools play in economic development.

The Hays native graduated from Hays High School. She has a bachelor's degree from Kansas State University and a master's degree from Texas A&M. She operates her own consulting business.

She has four children ages 9, 7, 4 and 2.

While having children in the district is a priority, it isn't her only reason to want to be a member of the board.

"I feel the schools are such an important part of economic development for our community," Fox said. "If we want to continue to attract business professionals, and business and growth, we want to be able to say we have great schools."

Closing and consolidating schools to maximize resources doesn't have to take away students' and parents' choices.

For the district to offer "the best technology, the best resources and the best teachers, we need to consolidate and make sure those resources are allocated across those schools. By consolidation, we can make that successful," the candidate said.

Because of finances, further cuts might be necessary, and the district needs to "do more with less. I don't know where specifically those cuts need to be made."

Fox said she hasn't formed an opinion on charging for classes and programs such as music and art or extracurricular activities such as sports to add to the district budget, or cutting any of them to trim costs.

"There's a different type of education offered in music and the arts than what there is in sports, but it also is a specific interest field," she said.

She is an advocate of long-range planning for five years or more, rather than just waiting to react. Planning would help the district be better prepared, she said.

"We need to be able to plan for it, especially in any major purchases -- technology, transportation, building updates -- we've got to have a plan," Fox said.

Fox said she's been talking to principals, and keeping technology upgraded is important to them.

The technology budget doesn't need to be larger, but the district has to figure out the best option for the dollars allocated.

Recently, discussion has centered on iPads, and Fox thinks they have their place in the classroom, "but they aren't the only option."

Fox would support a bond issue, but it might take more than one try.

"No one likes to pay more on taxes and bond issues, but that's one of the mechanisms that we have that can help us continue to move forward," she said.

Current curriculum focus is on Kansas college and career-ready standards, also called Common Core standards by some, are different from the standards Fox learned, but she doesn't advocate scrapping the new ones just yet.

"I would hate to see something that we've invested so much time and money and training on be taken away," she said. "It needs to be given more time."

Her own children "seem to be doing well with it."

As a board candidate, Fox has discovered there's a lot to learn, and the public doesn't know all of the information the board has.

If elected, she will work on communication and getting the whole picture out there -- "conveying messages, timeline, goals."