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Crawford County School Board


Primary election



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April 09, 2008
The top three vote-getters will be elected to the Crawford County Community School Corp. Board of Trustees. While voters may vote for three candidates, they can only select one from each of the four districts. One-term incumbent Debbie Kaiser is the only District 1 candidate, while newcomers Tim Newton and Billy Joe Walker are the District 2 candidates. Lee Holzbog is the sole candidate from District 3, and one-term incumbent Tim Jellison and Lloyd B. Arnold Jr. are the District 4 candidates. (*) Denotes incumbent.

Lloyd B Arnold Jr.

Address: 2462 E. Turkey Fork Road, Leavenworth

Spouse: Jody L. Arnold

Children: Tristan, 11; Taten, 7; Trenton, 7; Tanner, 3 — All boys attend Leavenworth Elementary, and Tanner will in two years.

Occupation: Privately employed as the owner of Servpro of Dubois, Warrick and Spencer counties. I am also employed by the Crawford County Sheriff's Department as a reserve deputy sheriff.

Also, a member of Hillview Christian Church. I have coached Crawford County youth football and baseball for the past two years.

School and year graduated: Attended Leavenworth Elementary; graduated in 1992 from Perry Central, where my father retired after 20 years as an elementary teacher.

Additional education: I then attended Vincennes University in their two-year law enforcement program. From there, attended Oakland City University for Business Management.

Previous political experience: (Did not answer.)

Duties of position sought: In the past, school boards were formed to hire teachers. Now, their role is much more important. Board members serve on committees for budgeting and financing the school year. They negotiate contracts for personnel and play a major role for construction and new technology for our teachers and students.

Why are you seeking the office?: I am seeking this position because I care about our children's future. I believe I have a vested stake in what our school system offers for my kids and yours. My children will be a part of this program for the next 15 years, and this gives me personal concern without personal gain.

I believe the most qualified and passionate educators are what we need for our children's future It is just as important to have quality board members who obtain the skills and desire needed to make our school system one of the best in the state.

What qualifies you for the office?: I worked for Toyota Motor Manufacturing for 10 years in management, hiring personnel, developing business plans, setting budgets and cutting costs that would be the most effective for everyone in the corporation. I have also spent 12 years in the Indiana Army National Guard as an officer, maximizing leadership skills the Army helps develop. A year of that time was spent deployed as the Executive Officer in a Rifle Company in Iraq. The main role in this position is to ensure that 130 soldiers get the tools needed to make their jobs effective and keep their moral high.

Currently, I am self-employed and deal with all major roles to keep a business running effectively. A board member's role is just the same as an executive of a large corporation. They need to be able to make the system run smooth for it to be effective for our children and our teachers.

What do you consider top issues in the campaign?: Although a partial contract was signed by our teachers, I believe it is still a major concern in our school system. We need to keep our good teachers with solid pay and benefits so they don't find employment elsewhere. We need to find ways to fund projects and other needs of our corporation. This can only be accomplished by our board working together with our teachers.

Do you favor facility upgrades to Crawford County Junior-Senior High School? If so how should they be funded?: Absolutely. The building we currently have is well over 30 years old with very little upgrades that have been done. I know none of us want to pay higher taxes, and I would hope that does not have to happen. To me, that is one of the major roles of the board. There are federal grants, state grants and even private enterprises where the money could be obtained. As a board member, these avenues should be explored and other resources found.

The corporation just settled a two-year contract with the teachers union, for 2007-2008 and 2008-2009. Should the corporation consider negotiating a longer contract next time?: Yes. The UAW has thousands of employees and retired personnel, and contracts are usually settled within weeks or days. I believe contracts should be for at least four years and could be accomplished if more were done to come together as a team.

We know our teachers don't want to break the school's budget. However, we do know they want to be treated fairly, and compensated accordingly. If a contract is not settled, then all parties must work diligently weekly, daily, until it is reached so our teachers don't have to work on a broken contract.

What can the corporation do to battle the soaring health insurance costs?: This is not only a problem for our school system, this is a problem nationwide with all employers. There are many options out there that should be explored and negotiated with our teachers .

Many corporations have HSA's or Flexible Spending Accounts to help with soaring medical costs. For years our teachers have gone with very little raises to have a great benefit package. If we start cutting their benefits, then compromises need to be made in other places. I do believe that this is something very important that our corporation needs to get a handle on quickly before the cost puts too much of a strain on our entire budget.

Some accelerated classroom students were placed back into the traditional classrooms because of lack of funding for an additional teacher. What can be done to ensure those students have the same opportunities as students in the corporations other elementary schools?: It seems to me that we need to realign some of our current staff so these types of problems don't arise. Each child in our system should not have any less of an opportunity to excel than any other child. This is where our board and administrators need to develop staffing changes to keep this from happening.

Are there any educational or extracurricular programs that you would like to see the school begin? How would you fund them?: (Did not answer.)

Contact information for voters: I can be contacted day or night at my home business or by cell. Home 739-2357, cell 1-812-267-9357, work 1-812-367-1300

Lee Holzbog

Address: 3024 W. Jericho Road, Taswell

Spouse: Naomi Holzbog

Children: Connie, Monica and Kimberly

Occupation: Crawford County highway superintendent

School and year graduated: Birdseye 1959

Previous political experience: Crawford County School Board (1980-88)

Duties of position sought: School board member

Why are you seeking office?: To serve as a board member to help make sure the children of Crawford County get the best education possible.

What qualifies you for the office?: Experience, working with some of the best past school officials, many years experience working with budgeting and fiscal constraints as a reclamation superintendent.

What do you consider the top issues in the campaign?: Education, financing and working with less. Better quality of education for all students. I will concentrate on all students, giving equal attention and opportunity to special needs, advanced curriculum and the average student. Financial responsibility and better use of our resources.

Do you favor upgrades to Crawford County Junior-Senior High School? If so, how should they be funded?: Yes, by using our monies correctly, we could hire new teachers to fill gaps currently open in our system, as well as upgrading our facility, which needs both basic renovations and extensive remodeling. However, more financial strain cannot be shouldered by the taxpayer. These renovation costs must be made possible through the proper allocation of current funding available.

The corporation just settled a two-year contract with the teachers union, for 2007-2008 and 2008-2009. Should the corporation consider negotiating a longer contract next time?: (Did not answer.)

What can the corporation do to battle soaring health insurance costs?: This problem has to be worked on very closely with the administration and with the insurance companies without taking away benefits. This is a problem that is affecting the entire country, not just Crawford County schools. It must be looked at carefully and with realistic expectations by all parties.

Some accelerated classroom students were placed back into the traditional classrooms because of a lack of funding for an additional teacher. What can be done to ensure those students have the same opportunities as students in the corporation's other elementary schools?: Accelerated classes should never be cut. We should not penalize the best students. We should find a way to finance these programs. All children deserve the best education possible. We are currently neglecting the education of our brightest students. In addition, we cannot offer programs to one school and not others. All schools need the same opportunities.

Are there any educational or extracurricular programs that you would like to see the school begin? How would you fund them?: Not until we find a way to fund the accelerated classes. While I think that there are many new educational and extracurricular programs that would benefit our students, until basic gaps in our educational system are filled (i.e. accelerated programming), we cannot turn our attention to new prospects. We must focus on our present problems before moving on to new venues. Once these problems are taken care of, we can then turn our attentions elsewhere.

Contact information for voters: 338-2533

*Debbie Kaiser

Address: 624 S. Whiskey Run Ranch Road, Milltown

Spouse: John R. Kaiser Jr.

Children: John, Dustin, Klint and Kattie; grandsons: Tristan and Koleton

Occupation: Real estate agent for Schuler Bauer Real Estate Services

School and year graduated: Fairdale High School 1970

Previous political experience: None other than school board

Duties of position sought: It is the responsibility of each board member to act in the best interest of our students, staff and taxpayers. It is also each member's responsibility to be well-informed and to make sound, educated decisions. Those decisions should be accurate and unbiased.

What qualifies you for the office?: My integrity, honesty and fairness, as well as my four years serving on the board, including as president.

What do you consider top issues in the campaign?: I can't say that I feel at this time the corporation has any major issues. We still and will for a long time to come have to face the painful yet never-ending national health insurance issues while trying not to effect our taxes. Blue Ribbon, Four Star Elementary along with four other outstanding elementaries and our high school looking toward new leadership, continuing student achievement.

Do you favor facility upgrades to Crawford County Junior-Senior High School? If so, how should they be funded?: Yes, in due time. It is greatly needed when financially feasible.

The corporation just settled a two-year contract with the teachers' union, for 2007-08 and 2008-09. Should the corporation consider negotiating a longer contract next time?: Not during these times when the corporation doesn't know what amount of new money each year holds.

What can the corporation do to battle soaring health insurance costs?: I'm not sure there is anything more that can be done to keep down the soaring cost of insurance. The lowest cost with best coverage is always sought out by CTA and superintendent. The battle is in the contract, although the past few years the CTA has taken steps in a new direction. The corporation will continue to explore all health insurance options.

Some accelerated classroom students were placed back into the traditional classrooms because of a lack of funding for an additional teacher. What can be done to ensure those students have the same opportunities as students in the corporation's other elementary schools?: I, of course, don't feel a child should be held back, but I also feel each child should be given the same opportunities. At times I felt the Gifted and Talented were treated "special." I have to be honest in saying I don't ever care for the title 'Gifted and Talented." It is our duty to challenge each and every talented student.

Are there any educational or extracurricular programs that you would like to see the school begin? How would you fund them?: More college classes funded through business partnerships, some of which we already have with Jasper Engines and Community First Bank.

Contact information for voters: Cell 1-502-930-5484.

*Tim Jellison

Address: 1308 W. Union Chapel Road, English

Spouse: Tammy Jellison

Children: Ashley Jellison, Matthew Elam, Cody Jellison, Chelsea Jellison

Occupation: Community involvement coordinator at Branchville Correctional Facility

School and year graduated: Crawford County Junior-Senior High School 1981

Additional education: Two years at Oakland City College

Previous political experience: N/A

Duties of position sought: A commitment to be part of a decision-making body that listens, instructs and seeks out the quality education for the children of Crawford County.

Why are you seeking the office?: For the desire to see the children of Crawford County, receive the maximum education and extracurricular activities afforded them within the constraints of the tax-paying citizens of Crawford County.

What qualifies you for the office?: I have been a resident of Crawford County my entire life and have two children that currently attend CCHS. I have two years of college education and a vast amount of experience dealing with the public.

What do you consider top issues in the campaign?: Health insurance costs, property taxes, teacher contracts, school renovation and, most importantly, the education of our children.

Do you favor facility upgrades to Crawford County Junior-Senior High School? If so, how should they be funded?: Yes, but we have to be creative to find funding without risking a tax increase on the residents of Crawford County.

The corporation just settled a two-year contract with the teachers' union, for 2007-08 and 2008-09. Should the corporation consider negotiating a longer contract next time?: This would be contingent upon an agreement between our administration and the CTA to negotiate a longer contract. Currently, I would not consider it a realistic goal.

What can the corporation do to battle soaring health insurance costs?: This is not just a local dilemma, but a national trend. Although, I do feel we need to negotiate with as many health carriers as possible, enabling us to source the most competitive cost for our corporation.

Some accelerated classroom students were placed back into the traditional classrooms because of a lack of funding for an additional teacher. What can be done to ensure those students have the same opportunities as students in the corporation's other elementary schools?: No student should be deprived of being challenged in any particular class. Whether in a traditional classroom or an accelerated classroom. All students should be challenged to reach their full potential.

Are there any educational or extracurricular programs that you would like to see the school begin? How would you fund them?: Soccer, contingent upon the interest of both students and parents. The funding, as with all sports, would be driven by fundraisers through the athletic department.

Contact information for voters: Cell phone number 1-812-613-0310

Tim Newton

Address: 103 S. S.R. 66, Marengo

Spouse: Sherry Newton

Children: Vanessa Newton-Gaines, 26; Adam Newton, 22; Alivia Newton, 14

Occupation: Self-employed home construction

School and year graduated: English High School 1975

Additional education: Ivy Tech Community College

Previous political experience: None

Duties of position sought: Decision-making as a board member is to ensure educational needs are met for all Crawford County students. Making sound financial decisions and to fill any open positions with the best possible candidate.

Why are you seeking the office?: To help current board members make decisions that will reflect and promote the best interest of Crawford County School Corp.

What qualifies you for the office?: 25 years of owning my own business has allowed me to work with the public and make financial decisions. Of equal importance, I feel my construction knowledge will benefit the corporation in the future. I will also serve the people and students of Crawford County with integrity, honesty and fairness.

What do you consider top issues in the campaign?: Raising ISTEP scores, cost of health insurance, future teacher contract, possible renovation of CCHS.

Do you favor facility upgrades to Crawford County Junior-Senior High School? If so, how should they be funded?: If the upgrades were needed, I would be in favor of low-interest bonds and low-interest loans in ways to fund this project; however, I would want to explore all options concerning this issue.

The corporation just settled a two-year contract with the teachers' union, for 2007-08 and 2008-09. Should the corporation consider negotiating a longer contract next time?: I feel longer contracts will save corporation money and negotiation time. Less time the teachers have to spend negotiating their contracts, the more time they have to focus on student education.

What can the corporation do to battle soaring health insurance costs?: The best possible coverage for the best price available should be the board's goal. As teachers retire or leave, I would like to see that all new hires pay a larger portion of their insurance and, eventually, this will help ease the cost to the corporation.

Some accelerated classroom students were placed back in the traditional classrooms because of lack of funding for an additional teacher. What can be done to ensure those students have the same opportunities as students in the corporation's other elementary schools?: Each school should have equal opportunities. I understand there is limited funding, but since we have five elementaries, the accelerated program should be in each and every one of them.

Are there any educational or extracurricular programs that you would like to see the school begin? How would you fund them?: I would be open to any new ideas on educational programs or any extracurricular activities, but I think we need to work to better the ones we have in place now.

Contact information for voters: 365-9208 or newtontim75@yahoo.com

Billy Joe WalkerAddress: 3190 N. Walker Lane, Marengo

Spouse: Alice M. Walker

Children: Kathy Jo Griffith, Tony Griffith; grandsons: Tyler and Ryan Griffith

Occupation: Retired school teacher, farmer, bus driver and college educator

School and year graduated: Marengo High School 1963

Additional education: B.S. Indiana University Bloomington 1973, post M.S. studies 1984 to present

Previous political experience: Served on Crawford County School Board 1980-84; South Central Area Vocational School Board 1980-84; past chairman and present member of Crawford County Soil and Water Conservation District Board of Supervisors (seven years); past member and current chairman of Crawford County Park Board (eight years)

I have voted every opportunity in the spring and fall elections. A big joy was hosting mock elections for my students and convincing others to exercise their special right to vote.

Duties of position sought: To promote, maintain and enhance all opportunities for students to improve their educational experiences in academics, band, FFA, athletics and many other school functions and activities. Responsible spending of tax dollars, developing sound school policies and accountability of all school personnel are important duties.

Why are you seeking the office?: My farming business experiences, educational background and a lifetime of caring about kids would be very valuable. I wish to continue positive improvements in our school systems so our students can successfully compete for local, state, national and international jobs in the future.

What qualifies you for the office?: Past school board member, educational background, community leader in 4-H, sports, CARES and other children's programs, life-long resident and taxpayer in Crawford County. No conflicts, hostilities, nor problems exist with present school personnel, and genuine desire to improve practical education in our schools.

What do you consider top issues in the campaign?: State vs. local school funding is the top issue. Planning and determining the need for a building upgrade at the junior-senior high school level. Schools must have a "reality check" in accordance with available county funds. Pursue increasing the enrollment at Prosser and offering other vocational training without cutting back traditional classes. Many parents and students do not have a "voice."

Do you favor facility upgrades to Crawford County Junior-Senior High School? If so, how should they be funded?: We cannot do anything without knowing the state's role in future school funding. Planning should continue with an eye towards the future if funding becomes available. Bonds, common school funds and banks which offer depressed area schools very low-interest loans in turn for government tax breaks, are possible sources. (Superintendent) Dr. Eastridge and (Corporation Business Manager) Mr. Stroud would be the authorities seeking the best possible funds available.

The corporation just settled a two-year contract with the teachers' union, for 2007-08 and 2008-09. Should the corporation consider negotiating a longer contract next time?: We cannot negotiate a long term contract without knowing if operational costs are going to be shifted to the state of Indiana. Usually, negotiations cause negative feelings and would occur less often with a longer contract. Local property taxpayers need to know how such extended contracts can be paid without causing harm to other important school programs.

What can the corporation do to battle soaring health insurance costs?: We need to encourage the state of Indiana to become more involved with the cost of school insurance programs. A larger pool of regional or national clients would create a better cost saving. Continue to discuss with local teachers and ask or trade for cost reductions. Soaring insurance cost is a national problem which touches the lives of every American. Each person must do his part!

Some accelerated classroom students were placed back into the traditional classrooms because of a lack of funding for an additional teacher. What can be done to ensure those students have the same opportunities at students in the corporation's other elementary schools?: Every classroom teacher has been trained to challenge all students at different academic levels. If a teacher feels uncomfortable dealing with academic differences, then additional training needs to be provided for the teacher. ACC should be made available at all schools depending on community needs and desires. Meeting the needs of special students varies with each elementary. However, every child should have the same opportunities.

Are there any educational or extracurricular programs that you would like to see the school begin? How would you fund them?: Coaches/administrators — part of their duty. Adults and students — volunteers with special thanks.

Other: Without opening a bag of worms, I believe an athletic council could be created. The council might consist of three off-season coaches, three community athletic involved adults, three student off-season athletes and chaired by an administrator. Membership could be rotated every three to four months depending on which sport is in season. This committee could relate needs or concerns to the athletic director thus creating better communication in our athletic school community. Meet once a month!

Contact information for voters: 365-2658, fax 365-9596, e-mail W.C.fang45@aol.com

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