Cathy Hamm

What are the three biggest issues facing your school district? How will you address them?

The biggest issues are test scores and graduation rates, having effective administration and teachers on staff and being fiscally responsible with taxpayer dollars. To improve test scores the right academic standards need to be taught in the classrooms. The challenge with teachers is turnover due to pay. Finding qualified teachers isn’t a problem. To be fiscally responsible, the board needs to keep a close eye on how legislative changes affect school budgets.

What is the most important thing you can do as a school board member to improve student achievement?

Hire and maintain quality administrators and staff. See that the curriculum allows students to receive the best education possible.

Do you favor adding any academic, sports or extracurricular programs, facilities or facility upgrades? Why or why not? What curriculum changes would you suggest?

Would be OK adding programs or making changes to the curriculum if there was a proven need to do so.

If funding became so tight that programs would need to be cut, how would you decide? What would be a priority?

Would have to rely on administration and teachers for guidance to make sure the programs that are cut are the ones that would have the least impact on the students’ education.

Do you favor selling naming rights to parts of schools, classrooms, scoreboards or buildings?

That’s a Center Grove question, not an Edinburgh question. Would be in favor if it could offset other costs.

What, if any, policies should be in place to accept advertising dollars? Who should be involved in approving the contracts?

Polices should be in place to indicate how to accept, spend and restrict advertising dollars. Final approval would need to come from the school board after it gets recommendations from the administration and athletic departments.

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?

Funds should be spent on what the company specifies it should be spent for. Would support using those funds for academics so long as that is in the contract guidelines.

What facility improvements, such as turf, outdoor labs, remodeling, expansions or new buildings does your school district need? How will they be paid for?

No, there is not a need at this time.

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 score highly on the guidelines in the district’s evaluation tool. That includes demonstrating leadership, handling the school’s finances responsibly and ensuring students are getting good grades.

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?

The district needs to communicate with parents to let them know about all of the programs and assistance that is available in the community.

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?

Is an accurate measure of student achievement, but is not the only measure. The school should work to make sure students are aware of this program.

How well is your school district preparing students for college? What more would you like to see offered, or what should be changed?

The school district does a good job of not only preparing students for college, but for whatever their career choices might be after graduation. School district needs to make sure students have access to any classes they need to be prepared for college.

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?

Yes, and the schools should continue to make sure students are aware of all the opportunities they have after graduation including technical careers.

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?

The schools are secure. Several changes have been made in recent years including visitors needing to be buzzed in from the office. Safety isn’t an issue that can be taken lightly. Would support changes for student safety if any were needed.

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?

Doesn’t see the issue as competition. The school district should focus on offering quality education with effective staff and administration so that students choosing to come to the schools have the opportunity for academic achievement.

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?

Prepares for meetings by keeping on top of information that will be presented and researching topics she is not familiar with. Keeps up with current trends through continuing education classes.

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?

Is important for students to have physical education classes and periods in which they can get up and move about. School meals meat the Indiana requirements for nutrition standards.

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Jacob Tellers is a reporter at the Daily Journal. He can be reached at or 317-736-2702.