Reporter Bailey Loosemore interviewed candidates for Edinburgh school board on a wide range of issues. Use these pages as a guide to help you make your voting decision.
ABOUT THE CANDIDATE
Name: Alice Taulman
Family: Husband, Larry; son, Scott
Employment: Admissions counselor for Indiana University-Purdue University Columbus
Education: Graduate of Prospect High School; bachelor’s degree from Franklin College; master’s and educational specialist degrees from Indiana University
Political experience: Edinburgh school board member since 2005
ABOUT THE OFFICE
Edinburgh school board
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: The two available seats are at-large seats and represent the entire school district.
Total board members: Six
Who votes: All voters in the school district.
Pay: $2,000 per year, plus $50 for each special meeting outside the regular schedule of one meeting each month.
What are the three biggest issues facing your school district? How will you address them?
If the schools run into funding problems, the district would have to have a referendum. Teacher evaluations are going to be a big thing with the changes statewide. Schools have to start constantly reviewing the teachers, which they aren't used to. Finding a superintendent is a big issue. The board hopes to keep the interim superintendent we have, but with such a small school, it's hard to get a good administrator.
What is the most important thing you can do as a school board member to improve student achievement?
Doesn't want to micromanage. Would encourage teachers to work together as a team. Thinks the schools need to have professional development for the teachers, to keep them on the same page.
Do you favor adding any academic, sports or extracurricular programs? Why or why not? What curriculum changes would you suggest?
Thinks early college work is very important to students. Wants to add more early college classes. Sports are doing fine. The schools have a pretty good extracurricular program, but need to encourage more student involvement. Thinks there needs to be more rigor in the curriculum. The schools need to prepare students for college or a career. The students need community service. Would add senior projects to the curriculum to get students doing community service.
If funding became so tight that programs would need to be cut, how would you decide? What would be a priority?
Would do an online survey and try to get the community to make the decision. Thinks those decisions should involve the community and students. Would not want to cut academics. The schools already cut business classes. Would not want to cut any of the vocational programs because they are very important if students don't go to college.
Administrators across the county say that the number of students dropping out of schools is an issue that must be addressed. What methods would you propose to keep students in school or bring back students who have dropped out?
Started a program with another school district where high school students talked to second-graders about the importance of education, because in third grade you can predict students who are going to drop out, if they're behind in reading. Would like to see a program like that in Edinburgh. Also thinks the alternative school helps students.
Do you favor selling naming rights to parts of schools, classrooms, scoreboards or buildings? What, if any, policies should be in place to accept advertising dollars? Who should be involved in approving the contracts?
Doesn't think there should be any advertisements by cigarettes or alcohol companies, but feels advertisements are a good way to pay for athletic teams. Schools can link athletics to student achievement because the students can't play if they don't do well in school.
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?
That's what the businesses say the money should go toward. The board doesn't have an option. If they say it should go toward academics, the board would put it toward that. They specify the money should be for athletics and we can't go against their wishes.
What facility improvements, such as turf, outdoor labs, remodeling, expansions or new buildings does your school district need?
Thinks the superintendent has taken good care of that and the facilities look really nice. He's done a lot of work on the outside of the buildings and made sure the heating facility is running.
Schools want to recruit students in order to collect the most money from the state. Should schools recruit students? If so, how should this be accomplished? Should money be spent on advertisements, public relation employees or consultants or websites?
Doesn't think it's right for schools to recruit. For athletics, it's illegal to recruit. Thinks schools do recruit students without knowing they are. They don't do it consciously.
Property tax caps are making it difficult for districts to replace buses, upgrade buildings and technology and, in some cases, pay down their debt. What is the biggest problem your school district faces because of property tax caps, and what ideas do you have to solve them?
Has not been made aware of any problems that the schools have had because of property tax caps. Doesn't think the schools have financial problems. Would do a referendum if the district needs more money.
You are hiring/in charge of evaluating the district's superintendent. What qualities are you looking for in your school's leader/what does your superintendent need to show to earn a positive evaluation?
The superintendent needs to care about teachers, needs to provide professional development for teachers and make sure people do their jobs. Needs to have people skills and make sure the schools have enough money to maintain their programs.
School districts are spending more money and time developing online courses, and many of them mimic courses that have already been developed elsewhere. Should your school district continue to develop more online courses? Why or why not?
The board has not developed any online courses. Doesn't feel online courses would be a good thing because she thinks students need face-to-face contact.
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/help they need to be able to succeed?
Would make sure the students are aware of the guidelines of free and reduced-lunch programs and make sure they have breakfast before tests. Wants to let the students and parents know that they're not the only ones in this situation, that there are others and they should not be ashamed to receive free or reduced-price lunch.
The school district will soon be looking for a new leader. When will this process begin? When would you like to have a new superintendent in place?
Wants to keep interim superintendent Bill Glentzer as long as possible. So many teachers and workers have said he's the best superintendent since Brian Smith was there 20 years ago. He cares about people and cares about the facilities and gets along well with people.
What qualities are most important to you in a candidate for a new superintendent?
Being honest, getting along well with people, being aware of what's going on in education in Indiana, providing professional development for teachers, being a team player, getting around in the community as well as in the school. Glentzer is doing all those things.