Gravette School Board can­di­dates re­spond to ques­tion­naire

Westside Eagle-Observer - - NEWS - Staff Re­ports

GRAVETTE — Where do the can­di­dates stand on the is­sues? In an at­tempt to help read­ers bet­ter know the views of the Gravette School Board can­di­dates in con­tested races prior to the Septem­ber 19 school board elec­tion, we asked them all a se­ries of six ques­tions and have in­cluded their unedited an­swers be­low.

Ty Rus­sell, the in­cum­bent in Gravette Po­si­tion 4, is run­ning un­op­posed. Gen­try and De­catur have no con­tested races.

Po­si­tion 1, Five Years Jay Oliphant (in­cum­bent)

1. Why are you run­ning for a seat on the school board?

To con­tinue serv­ing the stu­dents in our com­mu­nity for an­other 5 years. 2. What do you hope to ac­com­plish if elected?

To con­tinue progress in col­lab­o­ra­tion with Ben­tonville, De­catur and Gen­try School Dis­tricts on ex­pand­ing vo­ca­tional op­por­tu­ni­ties for Gravette stu­dents and to con­tinue ef­fec­tive financial ste­ward­ship of the District.

3. What ex­pe­ri­ence or ex­per­tise do you bring to the po­si­tion if elected?

Five years of ex­pe­ri­ence on the board, strong net­work with other school board mem­bers and ad­min­is­tra­tors, a pas­sion for ed­u­ca­tion and chil­dren, and 35 years as a CPA with ex­per­tise in financial mat­ters. 4.What is your stake in the school district? Two grand­chil­dren cur­rently at­tend­ing Gravette Schools, plus 15 years in our com­mu­nity.

5. What do you see as the great­est pos­i­tive as­set of the school district?

Tal­ented, ex­pe­ri­enced and hard­work­ing fac­ulty, ad­min­is­tra­tors and staff, fol­lowed closely by a very sup­port­ive com­mu­nity.

6. What do you see as the great­est need for im­prove­ment in the district? Con­tin­ued progress in ex­pand­ing vo­ca­tional op­por­tu­ni­ties for stu­dents not plan­ning to at­tend col­lege or who are un­sure about fu­ture plans af­ter high school.

Po­si­tion 1, Five Years James H. Brown, Jr.

1. Why are you run­ning for a seat on the school board?

I be­lieve ev­ery­one has a re­spon­si­bil­ity, es­pe­cially in a small town like Gravette, to do some­thing to help bet­ter their com­mu­nity. These stu­dents are our fu­ture, and I want to do what I can to make sure they all have ev­ery op­por­tu­nity to suc­ceed. 2. What do you hope to ac­com­plish if elected?

One of my pri­or­i­ties will be ex­pan­sion of vo­ca­tional and tech­ni­cal train­ing, and pre­par­ing our stu­dents for life af­ter high school, whether it be col­lege or the work force. Also, I’d like to ex­plore op­por­tu­ni­ties for our stu­dents to be­come more in­volved in our com­mu­nity.

3. What ex­pe­ri­ence or ex­per­tise do you bring to the po­si­tion if elected? Hav­ing owned my own busi­ness for over 15 years, I’ve learned how to work with peo­ple con­struc­tively. I don’t come in think­ing I have all the an­swers. As a board, we should make changes when change is needed, but al­ways be looking to im­prove. 4. What is your stake in the school district?

I cur­rently have 3 chil­dren at­tend­ing Gravette schools. Jil­lian is a se­nior, Caleb is a sopho­more and Sea­mus is in eighth grade. I spent sev­eral years as a vol­un­teer coach for youth sports, so I’ve built re­la­tion­ships with many of our cur­rent stu­dents and parents.

5. What do you see as the great­est pos­i­tive as­set of the school district?

Smaller pop­u­la­tion. In a smaller com­mu­nity it’s eas­ier to com­mu­ni­cate be­tween stu­dents, parents, fac­ulty and ad­min­is­tra­tion.

6. What do you see as the great­est need for im­prove­ment in the district? Re­sources and parental in­volve­ment. We as parents owe it to our chil­dren to en­cour­age, sup­port, and as­sist them in their ed­u­ca­tion. An in­crease of par­tic­i­pa­tion by parents will elim­i­nate many prob­lems be­fore they arise.

Po­si­tion 2, Five Years Rae­gena Davis

1. Why are you run­ning for a seat on the school board?

The rea­son I am run­ning for a seat on the Gravette school board is to help keep Gravette School District headed in the pos­i­tive di­rec­tion that it cur­rently is. 2. What do you hope to ac­com­plish if elected? I would like to see the district con­tinue with its growth of the West­ern Ben­ton County Ca­reer Cen­ter. I be­lieve this is great as­set to our area. I do not have spe­cific goal in mind other than to work with cur­rent mem­bers in mak­ing the best de­ci­sions that ben­e­fit our stu­dents, teach­ers and ad­min­is­tra­tors.

3. What ex­pe­ri­ence or ex­per­tise do you bring to the po­si­tion if elected?

I have pre­vi­ously been a mem­ber of a City Coun­cil and I have worked in the financial field for over 20 years my ex­pe­ri­ences have made me ac­cus­tomed to a pro­fes­sional en­vi­ron­ment and pub­lic meet­ings. 4. What is your stake in the school district?

I have a son that is a cur­rent stu­dent at Gravette and my daugh­ter grad­u­ated from Gravette.

5. What do you see as the great­est pos­i­tive as­set of the school district?

I feel that the great­est pos­i­tive as­set to the school district is its aca­demics due to the cour­ses and op­por­tu­ni­ties that are avail­able to the stu­dents. My fam­ily and I were trans­fers orig­i­nally and we moved our first child due to the op­por­tu­ni­ties that Gravette of­fered and we then even­tu­ally moved into the district so our youngest child would have the same ed­u­ca­tional op­por­tu­ni­ties.

6. What do you see as the great­est need for im­prove­ment in the district? I would like to get my feet wet and re­ally be­come fa­mil­iar with the is­sues at hand and un­til then I feel like I am un­able to re­ally com­ment on cur­rent im­prove­ments needed.

Po­si­tion 2, Five Years Jodi Moore

1. Why are you run­ning for a seat on the school board?

Work­ing with chil­dren is one of my great­est pas­sions in life along with my fam­ily and my com­mu­nity. To be able to be an ad­vo­cate for our chil­dren along with in­cor­po­rat­ing the com­mu­nity’s val­ues and in­put is an amaz­ing op­por­tu­nity that I look for­ward to fill­ing. 2. What do you hope to ac­com­plish if elected? Whether stu­dents chose a tra­di­tional col­lege de­gree or set their sights on a spe­cialty trade or vo­ca­tional cer­ti­fi­ca­tion, giv­ing ev­ery child the re­sources nec­es­sary to be­come a pro­duc­tive mem­ber of so­ci­ety is my top pri­or­ity.

3. What ex­pe­ri­ence or ex­per­tise do you bring to the po­si­tion if elected? Per­haps the great­est gift that comes from work­ing with chil­dren is be­ing able to see the world from their per­spec­tive. Over the years I have come to learn that each child has a very unique view and they range from one ex­treme to the next. As a small busi­ness owner with a strong mo­ti­va­tion to evolve with fu­ture op­por­tu­nity/de­mand, I have an un­der­stand­ing of bud­get­ing with both long and short term goals in mind. Be­ing able to face each task with the best in­ter­ests of the tax pay­ers and district staff in mind while also con­sid­er­ing im­pact on the chil­dren will be an ex­treme ben­e­fit to this job. 4. What is your stake in the school district?

Along with hav­ing two chil­dren in the Gravette School District, I have been a home­owner in the area for four years. As a cur­rent lo­cal busi­ness owner I have been for­tu­nate enough to get to know many of the com­mu­nity mem­bers and work with their chil­dren.

5. What do you see as the great­est pos­i­tive as­set of the school district?

The com­pas­sion and sup­port whether it be emo­tional or mone­tary from the com­mu­nity and busi­ness own­ers are Gravette’s great­est as­set to the school district. To see the needs of our chil­dren be­ing met with a smile time af­ter time with­out hes­i­ta­tion has been a hum­bling ex­pe­ri­ence.

6. What do you see as the great­est need for im­prove­ment in the district?

Fa­cil­ity up­grades and main­te­nance are an on­go­ing is­sue while an­tic­i­pat­ing space for fu­ture growth. With the growth pro­jec­tions cur­rently be­ing fore­cast for Gravette, ad­dress­ing these is­sues with long term plans and so­lu­tions is a ne­ces­sity.

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