Alice Nancy Taulman
What are the three biggest issues facing your school district? How will you address them?
Salaries, test scores and graduation rates are the areas of concern. In order for teachers to get salary increases, their students must get certain grades on standard tests scores, which haven’t always been good. The setup is hard for the teachers. The way to improve the test scores is to have a greater focus on reviewing information through the school year so students are prepared. Teacher turnover can be addressed by fixing the testing problems and helping them get the raises they need. To improve graduation rates, the school needs to focus on showing students the importance of a high school degree and education beyond that, whether college or technical.
What is the most important thing you can do as a school board member to improve student achievement?
Set standards high and listen to what people in the different fields are talking about.
Do you favor adding any academic, sports or extracurricular programs, facilities or facility upgrades? Why or why not? What curriculum changes would you suggest?
The superintendent does a good job with the facilities. With the small number of students at the high school, there isn’t a need for more programs. No curriculum changes are needed. Students have sufficient academic and vocational options.
If funding became so tight that programs would need to be cut, how would you decide? What would be a priority?
Wouldn’t want to cut anything. Schools are at a bare minimum. Sports bring a lot of students in so cutting them wouldn’t make sense. The district doesn’t have many frills.
Do you favor selling naming rights to parts of schools, classrooms, scoreboards or buildings?
Is in favor of it. The district needs money, and this is a way to get some.
What, if any, policies should be in place to accept advertising dollars? Who should be involved in approving the contracts?
Advertising shouldn’t involve tobacco, alcohol or other things students shouldn’t be involved in. The board and superintendent would be involved in approving the contracts.
If area businesses are willing to give schools thousands of dollars, why is the money being spent on athletics? Why is that the top priority? Couldn’t the advertisements still be displayed on a sports facility with the money going to academic or other programs?
Corporations and sponsors are normally asked where they want the money to go, and it is almost always toward athletics. Would be nice to be able to spend those funds on academics, but maybe the money wouldn’t be given then.
What facility improvements, such as turf, outdoor labs, remodeling, expansions or new buildings does your school district need? How will they be paid for?
The district doesn’t need new buildings. Turf was just put down.
You are in charge of evaluating the district’s superintendent. What does your superintendent need to show to earn a positive evaluation?
The superintendent needs to get along with people. Needs to work well with administration to improve test scores.
The number of students on free and reduced-price lunch from low-income families has been rising. What can your district do to ensure all students receive the kind of resources and help they need to be able to succeed?
Because it is a small community, everyone knows everyone. It isn’t a secret what students come from families that are low-income. The district has a clothing fund to help parents with getting clothing for their kids. The school will direct families to local food pantries as well.
The number of National Merit Scholars has been viewed as a measure of a school district’s achievement. Do you agree? What do you think the school district can do to get more students into this program?
During her 35 years working at the school, only had a runner up once. Doesn’t believe it is a good measure of student success. The SAT is a better measure of whether a student is prepared for college.
How well is your school district preparing students for college? What more would you like to see offered, or what should be changed?
The students have the right resources as long as they are willing to do the work. School only has two Advanced Placement courses, but students are allowed to go to Franklin College, Indiana University-Purdue University Columbus or Ivy Tech Community College to take college courses. School covers cost of classes but not transportation.
How well do you believe your school district is preparing students for technical careers, including manufacturing, computer programing and nursing, which has been identified as a priority? What do you believe could be done better?
About half of the students attend C4 Columbus Area Career Connection to take technical classes in their junior and senior years. Students have the opportunity to get good preparation for those types of careers.
Most schools across the county give students devices, such as laptops and tablets, to use. Do you believe these devices are needed in the classroom? Why or why not? And how should schools measure the effectiveness of these devices to see how they are helping students learn?
Yes, those devices are needed. Everyone in the high school has a laptop and most other students do. That is the way the world is going. They have to know technology. How students grades are doing can be a way to measure whether the devices are helpful.
School security has become more of a focus in recent years. Do you believe schools are safe enough? What else should be done to make them secure?
Edinburgh schools are safe enough. There is a police officer who comes through the building once or twice a week. The doors are locked and visitors have to request entrance through a speakerphone. Doesn’t see what else could be added, unless it would be to hire a full-time security guard or police officer, but that isn’t something the district could afford without taking away from education.
Local public schools have been losing more students to private schools through the state’s voucher program. How can public schools remain competitive to retain and attract students?
Edinburgh doesn’t have a problem with losing students to the state voucher program. To keep students, the school district should have variety in the curriculum and have more college prep classes.
What have you done to prepare for the job of a school board member? Have you attended school board meetings, requested documentation or met with any officials, educators or parents? What specific steps have you taken?
Belongs to the Indiana School Boards Association and attends meetings and training sessions through it, which helps her stay on top of education trends in Indiana.
While parents play a huge role in a child’s physical wellness, children spend a large part of their day at school. What is your school district doing, or should it be doing, to ensure that children and employees have opportunities to get part of the recommended amount of physical activity during the school day? Do the current policies and nutrition offerings support healthy choices, even when it comes to concession stands, fundraising items and vending machines?
Elementary students have opportunities for physical education, and high school students have an open gym period during lunch where they can play basketball or do other activities. Food is healthy during the school day. Students also have health classes where they can learn about the right eating habits.