STEPS 2007 School Board Candidate Survey

Dear Neighbors,

Since 2001, I have published the responses of Beavercreek school board candidates to questions designed to ascertain their commitment to cost-effectiveness and ability to uphold their oath of office.

In 2005 I canceled the candidate survey due to the challengers' lack of cooperation. This year, the survey returns with one broad question concerning cost-effectiveness and two technical questions regarding board policy.

1) Please speak to your concerns regarding the cost-effectiveness of the district, student enrollment, and district facilities.
Karl Maron

The Beavercreek School District is significantly more cost effective than in years past. Student enrollment will continue to grow as families perceive excellent economic and educational opportunities in and around the District. District facilities must be replaced as the maintenance costs exceed cost of replacement. This requires tracking costs and anticipating the time to act while taking into account student enrollment data.

Al Nels

The district will constantly face the conflicting objectives of educational expense and educational quality. The board must continue to establish the standards of quality education first and then carefully examine alternatives to determine the most cost effective means of achieving and maintaining the established standards. While our low cost per pupil makes property owners in neighboring districts envious, we are also faced with significant overcrowding that is projected to get worse with forecasted increases in student enrollment. As a public school is lawfully required to accept all students in the district’s boundaries, this will necessitate the need for additional facilities.

Our community was invited to develop plans to relieve the overcrowding and their submittals were accepted by the Board of Education. The result is a no frills plan for school expansion and construction that will reduce the short and long term costs to our taxpayers, compared to the suggestions proposed by the State of Ohio. The citizens who developed the community plan were conscious of the need for additional facilities while ensuring the plan did not violate the property owner’s expectations that the school district be a frugal steward of the taxpayers trust.

Of concern is the limited number of attendees to the various public forums. While it is incumbent upon the district to understand the expectations of the taxpayer, it is the joint responsibility of the district and taxpayer to become well informed regarding the issues and alternatives. One can hope the information mailed to the taxpayers, shared in forums, on the internet, and covered in the press has informed the voting taxpayer. The informed voter will well serve their community.

Michael Verlingo

Beavercreek schools are excellent, efficient, and effective. We consistently spend approximately $1,000 per student under state average which translates into more than $7M per year in savings for our taxpayers. We refinanced debt, lowering taxes by $2.8M in present value dollars. And we employ fewer administrators at lower costs than most districts in Ohio. We spend less; yet achieve more. That is something to be celebrated.


2)

A future election may include an amendment to Ohio's Constitution regarding school funding. Some local districts have passed resolutions supporting that amendment. Before considering such a resolution will you ensure the entire board is fully informed in a manner that leverages Ohio's Social Studies Academic Content Standards and sets an example for the district's students?
Karl Maron

Before a Board adopts any resolution with regard to school funding, it must carefully study the proposal as to how funding would be provided. I would work to ensure the Board has the necessary information to make an informed decision.

Al Nels

It is clearly the responsibility of the individual board member, as well as the collective group, to be well informed of the issues that come before the board. Prior to making any resolution I would encourage all members to be informed and share sources of credible information. The students of our district should expect our board to lead as an informed board of governance. The board is accountable to providing a quality balanced education that insures our students will become productive contributing citizens of our community and country.

Michael Verlingo

Yes. Amendments to change school funding must address the academic issues, as well as the financial issues and impact to our state. It would be negligent to focus on one aspect without considering the other.


3)

An important role of board members is adopting school district policy. NEOLA, a legal association, provides policy recommendations intended to ensure that local policies follow changes to state and federal law. Recently, the district's legal review showed those recommendations diverged from applicable laws. Do you support efforts to ensure board policy tracks the State Board of Education and community desires rather than advancing the goals of political coalitions of special interest groups at work in Columbus and Washington, D.C.?
Karl Maron

The School District is legally required to be in compliance with all applicable State and Federal laws and implementing regulations. The School Board may choose to implement policy that exceeds the minimum required. I believe the Board should work to track the laws and community input rather than that of external influence groups.

Al Nels

The order should be the community’s expectations followed by the State Board of Education, with balance and perspective provided by other sources. While this should not be construed as rationale to ignore the law, the Beavercreek Board of Education is elected by the community and should be held accountable to the expectations of our community. While one may find various groups of divergent opinions in our community, state or nation, it is the responsibility of the board to do what is right for the student and our community, not one specific group.

Michael Verlingo

Absolutely. As a board member I am concerned that special interest politics and groups are usurping the desires of the majority with respect to policy. I specifically raised several questions and objections to language in proposed policies which contradict federal guidelines or requirements. I will continue to do so. We must maintain reasonableness, fairness and common sense in the policies that our district adopts.