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: William Jones
Family: Wife, Deborah; son, Travis
Employment: Distribution foreman for the Edinburgh Water Department
Education: Graduate of Jennings County High School
Political experience: None
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 to make the most out of the budget for the students and faculty. All schools have bullies. Thinks the corporation needs to find better ways to keep the kids productive so they aren't bullying. Also is concerned about money for extracurricular activities and sports. Wants to find ways to raise funds so the parents don't have to pay as much for their kids to join a sport or the band.
What is the most important thing you can do as a school board member to improve student achievement?
Help find the best leaders in administration.
Do you favor adding any academic, sports or extracurricular programs? Why or why not? What curriculum changes would you suggest?
Doesn't foresee adding anything. Favors adding a program if the community wants it. Thinks the change to a balanced calendar is going well.
If funding became so tight that programs would need to be cut, how would you decide? What would be a priority?
A priority is something that the students need. Thinks the school board would need to sit down and talk to administrators and parents about what they wanted to keep and what they would cut.
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?
For students who are struggling, thinks the corporation should find special programs for them or have special homerooms to help mentor or guide them.
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 naming rights, as long as the money is used appropriately. The money should go back into the education of the students. Thinks approving contracts should be done by the administrators and school board. The school district should have a policy for advertising.
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?
Doesn't know why it goes to athletics. Thinks the corporation needs to make a policy where all the money from businesses goes into a general fund that is split between different sports and organizations.
What facility improvements, such as turf, outdoor labs, remodeling, expansions or new buildings does your school district need?
Thinks the corporation is doing a good job with the facilities it has. Wants a softball field for the girls softball team and the outdoor lab at the elementary school could be cleaned up again.
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 Edinburgh recruits. Doesn't think money should be spent on recruiting students.
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?
Doesn't have enough information about property tax caps because has not been on the school board before.
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?
Edinburgh needs someone who will be able to enforce the rules without bending the rules for certain people or picking on certain people. Likes the superintendent they have now. Has heard he is good at what he does and is willing to put forth the effort to improve the school system.
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?
Doesn't think the corporation needs to spend money creating new courses. Thinks the courses need to be a little tougher.
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?
Thinks the corporation should provide the best resources it can for whoever is in need. Would be willing to take suggestions.
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?
The current superintendent was scheduled to stay a year. In order to find a new one, the district needs to start looking now. The board rushed the process the last time. The school board needs to give themselves that year to either get him to stay or find someone who's qualified instead of rushing and making the wrong choices.
What qualities are most important to you in a candidate for a new superintendent?
Wants a superintendent who will be firm, knowledgeable, responsible with the budget, not micromanage and have his own opinions.