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: Cathy Hamm
Family: Husband, Ron; children, Jill Garris and Chad
Employment: Director of the Edinburgh Wright-Hageman Public Library
Education: Graduate of Edinburgh High School and Indiana University-Purdue University Columbus
Political experience: Member of the Edinburgh school board from 1995 to 1999 and 2001 to present
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?
Wants the board to be as fiscally sound as possible with the dollars they have. Money needs to be spent wisely. Edinburgh's test scores have been improving throughout the years. Wants to continue improving test scores by maintaining the standards the district has set forth. Wants to set high standards with graduation rates and test scores and to see continued improvement in meeting average yearly progress.
What is the most important thing you can do as a school board member to improve student achievement?
Continuity with the administration and staff. Wants to continue to keep everybody working there.
Do you favor adding any academic, sports or extracurricular programs? Why or why not? What curriculum changes would you suggest?
Edinburgh has ample opportunity for all students to participate in sports. Schools always want the most rigorous academics possible. If the schools could offer more Advanced Placement classes, then they should. Supports any extracurricular activities that the schools can work into their schedules that students want. The school district should add Advanced Placement classes and as much rigor to the high school curriculum as they can to prepare students for graduation.
If funding became so tight that programs would need to be cut, how would you decide? What would be a priority?
Has no preference of what expenses need to be cut. Any cuts are decided with input given from the superintendent and the business manager. A board member does not pick and choose what expenses need to be cut or why. Academics are always the highest priority, but the board should take recommendations from the superintendent, business manager and administration.
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?
Schools should work with students on an individual basis, treat all students as individuals and assess the needs of each individual. Some students need the non-traditional student schedule.
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?
Favors anything that could save money. The contracts would ultimately be approved by the board, but the process would vary depending on where the advertisements would go.
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?
Thinks that is not relevant to Edinburgh.
What facility improvements, such as turf, outdoor labs, remodeling, expansions or new buildings does your school district need?
At this point, the buildings and grounds are in good working order. Foresees no plans for a major project in the future.
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?
Feels students should come to a school because that school has something to offer that individual student. Does not believe in recruiting students. Believes in offering the best education possible.
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?
The school district is receiving less in funding because of the tax caps. The board needs to be more fiscally responsible and seek ways to reduce expenses.
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 schools just recently went through the evaluation model that they will be using for choosing a superintendent. A superintendent needs to set goals for himself, follow through with those goals and do what is expected through our evaluation tool. Wants a superintendent who has experience, is community-minded and is a team player.
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?
Would support adding online courses if there is a proven need for them.
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 it known to all parents what resources are available to them. The school needs to be connected with the parent or guardian.
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?
No decision has been made as to when the process will begin.
What qualities are most important to you in a candidate for a new superintendent?
Wants someone who is community-minded, is a team player and has a strong financial background. In a small community, that is important.