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Blair Oaks School Board candidates interviewed

Blair Oaks School Board candidates interviewed

June 13th, 2018 by Jeff Haldiman in Local News

Blair Oaks High School in Wardsville

Potential candidates to fill two spots on the Blair Oaks School Board were interviewed during a special board meeting Tuesday evening prior to the regularly scheduled board meeting.

Six people expressed interest in filling the spots left open by the resignations last month of Dr. Bill Duke and Kevin Ward.

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Incumbents Duke and Ward were unopposed in the April election so by state statute no election was required, Superintendent Jim Jones said.

"Neither man was aware at the time of the election of the opportunities that would be presented to them and neither could pass them up," Jones said.

Since neither member would reside in the school district after their re-location, both had to resign their positions.

According to district policy, the board solicited applications for potential members to replace Duke and Ward.

The question asked Tuesday evening of each of the six candidates was, "What do you hope to change or accomplish if selected to serve on the board?"

Mark Brandt said he had served on the school board at St. Stanislaus School so he believed that experience would help him. He also said having two daughters attending the Blair Oaks schools helps him understand district issues.

"I know it's not all rainbows and you have challenges," Brandt said.

Bret Brooks said along with his law enforcement and military experience, he has also been involved in education having taught at the former Wentworth Military Academy in Lexington and developing curriculums on criminal justice.

"Having three children in the district, I think, allows me to know the pulse of how things are going in the district," Brooks said. "We do so many things well here, but that's not to say we shouldn't try to improve on items such as teacher pay."

Tim Luebbering just bought a house in the district and said he wants to be a part of the continued growth the district is seeing.

"Blair Oaks is a huge asset to the Wardsville community," Luebbering said. "I think we need to stay on the course we're on."

Jason Paulsmeyer has lived in the district for 10 years with two children in school. He also believed the main thing he would do if chosen was to try and keep the district moving in a positive direction.

"The biggest reason we came here was because of the school district," Paulsmeyer said.

Pam Thomas has had three sons graduate from Blair Oaks and one who will be a senior this coming school year. She said if she was chosen she hoped to continue the openness she experienced when she came to the district.

"My experience 10 years ago allowed us to have a smooth transition into the schools," Thomas said. "There were many little things that were done to make sure we got off on the right foot and I want others to have that same experience we had."

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When asked if he knew how much time would be involved in serving on the board, Calvin Wilbers said he believed he could devote ample time to the board.

"The board is doing a great job and I want to be a sponge and soak up all the knowledge and experience you have," Wilbers said.

All six candidates talked about supporting or learning more about a potential new high school for the district. The school board is looking at floating a bond issue in April 2019 to pay for the school.

The vote to fill the vacancies will occur in an open session meeting of the board, but board members said Tuesday night they weren't sure how soon they would reach a decision.

"We'd like to have those persons in place by our July 10 board meeting," Jones said.

Those appointments will fill the vacancies in the interim until the next election, which is April 2. At that time, there will be four openings on the board — Duke and Ward's seats with two-year terms and two seats with full three-year regular terms. Those spots are currently held by John Weber and Greg Russell.