Reporters Bailey Loosemore and Joseph S. Pete interviewed candidates for NHJ school board on a wide range of issues. Use these pages as a guide in your voting decision.
ABOUT THE CANDIDATE
Who: Sam Hoagland Sr.
Employment: Retired Nineveh-Hensley-Jackson teacher
Education: Graduate of Morgantown High School; received social studies bachelor’s degree from Campbellsville College and education and administration master’s degrees from Indiana University
Political experience: None
Seat pursued: Nineveh Township
ABOUT THE OFFICE
NHJ 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: Two candidates are seeking the Nineveh Township seat. Candidates running for that seat have to live within the township. The other three candidates are running for two at-large seats, which represent the entire district. No more than one at-large member can be from the same township however, so Nineveh Township resident Greg Waltz will automatically take office no matter how many votes he gets since the other two at-large candidates are both from Jackson Township.
Total board members: Five
Who votes: All voters in the school district vote for the at-large seats, but only Nineveh Township residents can vote for the Nineveh Township seat.
Pay: $2,000 per year
What are the three biggest issues facing your school district? How will you address them?
As a retired teacher, assumes that money is always going to be a problem. A shortfall two years ago caused the district to cut and consolidate some positions, especially in the administration. Would hope that the school system can operate on the money they are allowed to collect. Isn't sure what will happen with teacher evaluations. Some teachers think there's going to be a wholesale massacre of tenured, experienced teachers. It came out in a public meeting that Indian Creek is still considering building a new elementary school. Is open-minded about it, but right now, as a property owner and a taxpayer, is not in favor of that.
What is the most important thing you can do as a school board member to improve student achievement?
The school board hires, and the school board fires. Wants to make sure Indian Creek hires the best teachers and is also able to retain good teachers.
Do you favor adding any academic, sports or extracurricular programs? Why or why not? What curriculum changes would you suggest?
Can't think of any sports Indian Creek doesn't offer that are in demand by the community. The school district is a member of Central Nine Career Center to offer vocational education. Wants administrators to keep an open mind with scheduling, because 90-minute classes could strain students' ability to stay focused. Is in favor of a year-round schedule. Indian Creek High School lost its long-term agriculture instructor, and that is the only extracurricular he can think of to improve.
If funding became so tight that programs would need to be cut, how would you decide? What would be a priority?
Basic education comes first. There is no substitute for reading, and there is no substitute for math. The board might have to make a choice between certain programs, but if it comes down to choosing between algebra and music, algebra is going to take precedence.
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?
Should give them the opportunity for an alternative school, but the school district already does that. Doesn't know that he has any suggestions. Is willing to listen to the superintendent and administrators, but agrees it is a problem.
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?
If it's done, a school board should do it. Is not in favor of it. The school district already does that, including the baseball field and the football field. Advertising does save tax dollars. Wants to keep an open mind and look at proposals on an individual basis.
If area businesses are willing to give schools thousands of dollars, why is the money being spend 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 the businesses want the money spent on athletics. That's where they're going to have the parents. The parents aren't going to see the advertisements in a government classroom.
What facility improvements, such as turf, outdoor labs, remodeling, expansions or new buildings does your school district need?
The school district has an outdoor lab and good sports facilities. The buildings he has been in have been okay. Hasn't been in the elementary school for several years. People are asking for a new elementary school.
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 Web sites?
Indian Creek has an open enrollment item on its website. The high school had to turn down 20 applications last year because it didn't have room for the students. Thinks if Indian Creek has the space, it should accept the students. The school district hasn't had to recruit.
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?
Knows school boards have used search committees in the past. The board would deal with that issue when necessary, but the district has a good superintendent now.
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?
No, the schools already have enough online programs. They're available, and have been there for years. Doesn't like online courses because they are sometimes used to bypass more strenuous classroom subjects.
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?
Indian Creek is very lucky and has a low percentage of students who receive free or reduced-price lunches. But the number is in the double digits. If a student needs something, the principal would make sure that student has what they need. Has never heard of a student being denied something because the school can't afford it.
Did you support the plan to spend $26 million on a new 500-student elementary school and renovations and expansions to the high school and intermediate school? Will this plan come back to voters again? Why or why not?
Did not vote for the referendum. Thinks the issue will come back because the building was built in 1957. Favors the referendum process.