Three candidates vying for two spots on the Nineveh-Hensley-Jackson school board want to make sure students have more opportunities to learn science- and technology-based lessons.

Candidates want to integrate STEM curriculum in more classes, and offer students more options to learn more technical skills that they could use to begin working after high school.

Current board member Greg Waltz, newcomer Amanda Wilkerson and former school board member Ed Harvey are vying for two at-large seats for the school board. Voters in the school district, which includes Nineveh and Hensley Townships in southwest Johnson County and Jackson Township in Morgan County, can pick two candidates. Thomas Burgett is unopposed in his bid for the Nineveh Township school board seat.

Harvey is almost guaranteed to be elected, even if he gets the least amount of votes, Johnson County Clerk Sue Ann Misiniec said. Bylaws from the school district say that at-large seat holders cannot be from the same township. Both Wilkerson and Waltz are from Nineveh Township. Harvey is the only candidate running for an at-large seat from Jackson Township, virtually guaranteeing him one of the two at-large seats, she said.

All three candidates want students in the school district to have access to more STEM education. Harvey and Wilkerson want more of that education to happen in Indian Creek classrooms. Waltz, who is Nineveh-Hensley-Jackson’s representative on the Central Nine Career Center board of directors, wants that education woven more into classes at the career center.

STEM and health care concepts could be integrated into more courses in Indian Creek’s curriculum, without students having to choose Central Nine, Wilkerson said.

Curriculum with a focus on STEM could also be started at lower grades and be integrated slowly into Indian Creek’s curriculum, Harvey said.

“(STEM) is important with job opportunities and are good skills to know for any type of occupation,” he said.

Central Nine Career Center is looking at adding more classes for students, such as a curriculum based in the heating, ventilation and air conditioning field, to make sure students are getting all of the courses they want and to learn more trades that will be valuable, Waltz said.

“Students have a wide range of possibilities to study while in high school,” he said.

Wilkerson also advocates for other learning opportunities outside of the traditional classrooms setting, such as more outdoor labs and experiences outside the classroom, she said.

The next school board members could also be tasked with how to deal with the shuttered elementary school after a new elementary school wing was added to the intermediate school and opened this school year.

Trafalgar’s town council voted to hire a consultant to study the building. If the school district decides to keep the building, they would need to keep it on a list for available charter schools before it could be sold.

School board candidates have ideas to help students if the district decided to hang onto the building.

All candidates believe that the building should have community use, but Waltz and Harvey weren’t exactly sure what that might look like.

Wilkerson suggested turning the building into a STEM innovation center, similar to what Center Grove has, or using the building as an office or work space for Indian Creek students.

“If we keep it, that is the type of thing that should happen inside there,” she said.

At a glance

Three people are running for two at-large seats on the Nineveh-Hensley-Jackson school board. Here’s a breakdown of the positions and their duties:

Term: Four years

Duties: Developing policies, adopting the annual budget, determining salaries for all employees and hiring and evaluating the district’s superintendent.

Area district represents: Both seats represent the whole school district, but no more than one at-large member can be from the same township.

Who votes: All voters in the school district vote for the at-large seats.

Pay: $2,000 per year

Where they stand: Nineveh-Hensley-Jackson school board election Q&A

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Magen Kritsch is an editorial assistant at the Daily Journal. She can be reached at mkritsch@dailyjournal.net or 317-736-2770.