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Candidate Q & A
School Board

We sent a list of questions to all of the candidates for City Council and  Lake Pend Oreille School Board asking their position on a number of human rights related issues.

Here are the responses we have received so far.  Please check back frequently -- we'll post additional replies as we receive them.

From Gary Suppinger, candidate for LPOSD Zone 2 Trustee


1. My Top priority is always to support and ensure the academic success of every student. To that
end, my main priorities are and will continue to be:

      A. Safety and Security especially during the pandemic. Safety is a prerequisite to the mission of education. We must maintain our safety protocols including social distancing, daily disinfecting, deep cleaning, clean air, clean water, cohort groupings.

      B. Academic achievement- Make sure every child is engaged and learning. Focus on reading in K-3, teach students to problem solve and be critical thinkers, work independently or with a group, be creative and innovative, always be kind and do your best.

      C. Prepare for next step- Acquire the skills in communications, math, science, and social sciences to compete and succeed at the next step. Always be patient, and understanding to others.

2. I believe in public education. I was educated in public schools, as were my parents, siblings, and
my three children, who attended LPOSD schools from K-12. They received and excellent foundation and excelled in college. Two have earned advanced degrees and they are all now pursing rewarding careers of their own. Education benefits the individuals, families, communities, and our state. Studies establish that educated citizens are healthier, happier, and  more productive. Education builds communities and good citizens. I want to do my part to ensure that current and future students in LPOSD get the education and opportunities that they deserve.

3. Work to make our schools the best they can be. Public education is the foundation of our country. Every young American is entitled to as good of an education as the community can afford. Every child deserves the opportunity to achieve educational success. Education plays an
important role in the success of individuals, families, and communities. It prepares young people for life, work, and family. My goal is to support a strong public education system that prepares our students for the challenges of tomorrow. Whether they go on to college, trade school, the
military or directly into the work force our graduates need the skills to not only survive but to thrive.

4. a) Expand Career Technical Education. We have recently added Introduction to the Trades (Carpentry, Plumbing, Electrical), Aerospace, and Personal Finance to our CTE offerings at Sandpoint High School. Introduction to Trades is over booked. We have twice as many students
requesting Introduction to the Trades as there is space. We need to provide more sections of this popular class and work towards creating a pathway with multiple courses leading to a
certificate in construction trades.
b. LPOSD has a popular after school program at three of our elementary schools. This program
provides exercise, healthy snacks, and academic support after school for elementary students until their parents can pick them up after work. It is at capacity. We need to expand this popular program at our elementary schools.
c. Support our classified employees with higher wages. Classroom aids, food service employees, custodians, and building maintenance all are feeling the pinch of cost of living increases in our community and need higher wages.

5. I am a product of public education as were my parents, siblings, and children. Our experience in public schools shaped us into what we have become. As a parent I was involved in my children’s academics and activities. My wife volunteered in their class rooms. I started supporting children in fifth and sixth grade in Math. I have continued to teach Math at Sagle Elementary school two mornings a week for 16 years. I have also volunteered at the district level on committees for facilities, budgets, parent district communications, and curriculum.


I have 4 years’ experience on the school board. I understand the political and fiscal challenges of a public school district in Idaho. As a school board member, I have attended local, regional, and state wide meetings and trainings. Before I was elected my first term, I volunteered as a elementary math club coach at Sagle Elementary School. I also volunteered on district level committees involved with budgets, curriculum, parents administration coordination, and facilities.

6. I have been married 31 years and have raised three grown children. As a small business man, Ifounded Panhandle Forest Products 36 years ago and continue to own and operate the
business. Panhandle manufactures pole and fencing products. It has 25 employees. I love working with children and have volunteered as a soccer coach, boy scout leader, baseball coach, and basketball coach. I serve in my church and participate in several trade and professional organizations.

7. There is no place for racism, bigotry, or discrimination in any form in our schools or in our society. Diversity, equity, and inclusion are in our school curriculum. Nondiscrimination, equal opportunity in education, employment, housing, economics are guaranteed by our state and
federal constitutions and are taught and practiced in our schools.


I do not support critical race theory. There is no place for racism or discrimination either innate or acquired anywhere in our society. CTR is not in the curriculum at LPOSD, never has been, and never will be as long as I serve the board.

From Jalon Peters, Candidate for Lake Pend Oreille School Board

Jalon Peters questionnaire for BCHRTF

1. What do you see as the school board’s roles and responsibilities?
To facilitate children’s education. To give students opportunities to grow in knowledge, experiences,
and work ethic that will set them up for success as a citizen, family member, and taxpayer. To oversee
the budgets, curriculums, theories, policies, and facilities that would be used to accomplish those

2. What motivates you to become (continue) to be a school board member?
I have a long history of working with students and their parents, as well as working with budgets and
projects. I want to use my skills to bring balance, perspective, and accountability to the board. I want
to represent the taxpayers of Bonner County with transparency, and I welcome perspective from
whoever is willing to give it.

3. What is your vision of education for Bonner County?
I’d love to see a greater focus on trades and trade schools as another opportunity for students, in
addition to college. Roughly 90% of jobs available in America today don’t require a college degree. I’d
also love to see our test scores improve (as compared to national averages.)

4. What are your priorities for the school district in the coming year?
More parental involvement and partnering with parental accountability, district-wide. A greater fiscal
responsibility with taxpayers’ money. An investigation into Social Emotional Learning (SEL) and how it
may be being used as a catalyst for Critical Race Theory. Invest in and improve the Trade programs (or
CTE as the district has right now.) Look at creating a long-term plan that would improve facilities for
the needs at present, while also setting up financial plans that may be needed for the future.

5. What is your own experience with public education? How will your own experience influence your
work as a board member?
I attended public school as a kid/teenager. I was involved heavily in public schools and students
through the ministry I was involved in for over 10 years. I have been involved with campus clubs,
motivational speakers, school assemblies, and crisis counseling. I feel this will help me a great deal in
how I see/approach students and their parents/guardians. I have seen many times the pain and
struggles that families go through and feel as though I can help bring the family first model to the
forefront of how we operate in LPOSD.

6. What other attributes (beyond experience with public education) do you bring to the board and
how would those attributes successfully support the school district if you were to join the board?
I have overseen and presented budgets for many outreaches and mission trips both foreign and local.
Medical, building, and general outreaches. I have worked as a construction superintendent and
project manager, working with major budgets, scheduling etc. I also own my own business and have
had to work at being productive and practical throughout. I am a father of three boys, I am a taxpayer,
and I am an American.
All this experience has given me ample understanding of budgeting and working with people and at
the same time being highly administrative.

7. How do you create and support an inclusive environment where diverse students are able to safely
bring their full selves to school in order to become their best and to do their best work?

All children are welcome, all children deserve a good education. The educational system should be a
safe environment for all students. It’s important that everyone’s hearts strive to demonstrate
goodwill toward all. As a board member, I would encourage students to come as they are, and to
strive to do their best. As a board, it is our job to ensure students are set up with every opportunity for success.

Jalon Peters also answered questions for the Freedom Foundation and those can be found here.

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