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Barbour Board of Education candidates respond to questionnaires

May 10, 2010
The Inter-Mountain

Editor's note: The Inter-Mountain posed the following question to Heather Hart, Susie Cvechko, Bob Wilkins, Patrick Jones, Brian Kisamore, Stanley "Stan" Swick, Doward Matlick, Joanne McConnell, Traci Weese Furby and Bradford "Jr" Robinson, all candidates for the Barbour County Board of Education: Are you in favor of keeping all schools in Barbour County open? If so, where would you get the funding?

Robinson and Matlick did not respond. Trish Slamick, also a candidate, could not be contacted to respond to the questionnaire.

Name: Heather Hart

Address: Rural Route 3, Belington

Office: Barbour County Board of Education, South District

Employment: Full-time student at West Virginia University.

Family: Single; daughter of Phil and Lisa Hart of Belington.

Statement of Campaign Platform: "I feel all children in Barbour County deserve a quality education and I want to dedicate my time, to help make this possible. Having attended Barbour County Schools throughout my childhood and as a 2008 graduate, I feel I have seen firsthand problems that students and teachers face. If elected, I want to provide the students of Barbour County with the best education possible, provide a supportive and positive environment for teachers and staff, and use common sense when enacting new policies."

Are you in favor of keeping all schools in Barbour County open? If so, where would you get the funding?

"I am in favor of keeping Volga-Century Elementary and Mount Vernon Elementary open. I think in order to fund these small schools, the BOE needs to take a look at the budget. Look at the specifics of spending and try to cut spending that doesn't directly benefit the students. That money could then be redistributed to help keep the small schools open."

Name: Joanne McConnell

Address: 346 Dogwood St., Philippi

Office: Barbour County Board of Education, West District

Employment: Registered dental hygienist at Stephen Jeran DDS in Buckhannon

Family: Married to Jude; three sons and two grandchildren

Statement of campaign platform: "When my campaign started, my platform was to raise public awareness of what has happened to our small elementary schools. Because the school attendance area policy was revised, parents from the Philippi area have been reluctant to enroll their children in the Volga-Century or Mount Vernon elementary schools. There is the fear their children would be transferred back to Philippi in mid-year. This has caused a drop in enrollment in the two small schools and had led to a reduction in staff, combined classes and a reduction in services. I wanted the public to be aware this could lead to school closings. My platform has been greatly expanded since I began talking with teachers and parents from all around the county. It is clear there is great dissatisfaction and unrest regarding the current administration."

Are you in favor of keeping all schools in Barbour County open? If so, where would you get the funding?

"It is obvious I am in favor of keeping all schools open in the county. Our outlying communities need their elementary schools and I believe the same services should be provided to all of our elementary schools. Funding these schools should not be much of a problem since they are already established schools. The challenge will be to rebuild enrollment. The smaller the teacher/student ratio is, the more costly education is. But sometimes the benefits outweigh the costs and we must invest wisely in our children's future."

Name: Bob Wilkins

Address: Philippi

Office: Barbour County Board of Education, West District

Family: Married; four children.

Statement of campaign platform: He believes strongly in the value of education and equal opportunities for all students. As part of the Board of Education, Wilkins says he understands that developing a working relationship with the other elected members is important. However, he also states that he will not give in on issues that demand a voice even if it is a solitary one. Three areas that are important to him are positioning the board so that it is a unifying entity in the county concerning issues of education, restoring pride in the workplace among all employees through professional and courteous interaction and challenging the process when attaining goals becomes more important than the integrity of the methods.

If elected, Wilkins concludes that he will encourage students' educational goals, listen to resident's concerns, work with parent organizations, research issues and support full disclosure as allowed by law.

Are you in favor of keeping all schools in Barbour County open? If so, where would you get the funding?

"Schools in Barbour County are strategically located and are vital to the local communities. I voted for these buildings, my children went to these schools and my wife taught in them. They should be kept open as long as possible and, in fact, this should be the priority. Letting them go into disrepair, limiting the student body and closing down kitchens is outright irresponsible and not a business tactic I approve of. As for funding, it is interesting that the buildings are open now and functioning well. Keeping all schools in the budget should be the normal plan of action, not gearing a budget to shut them down."

Name: Traci Weese Furby

Address: Belington

Office: Barbour County Board of Education, South District

Employment: Dr. Matthew Cupp and Panhandle Support Services

Family: Married to Gerald; four children.

Statement of campaign platform: "A quality education in a safe environment is essential for each and every child. We need to not only give the students of Barbour County the basic knowledge to live life and have productive careers, but also the personal attributes to be lifelong learners, responsible citizens and productive adults. Knowledge of the school system and school issues, previous experience and being fair and impartial, acting in the best interests of the students and staff are the reasons why voters should vote for me. Great curriculum and instruction can occur if you untie the hands of the educators and just let them do their jobs they are trained for. I believe I can be a voice for the kids, staff and community."

Are you in favor of keeping all schools in Barbour County open? If so, where would you get the funding?

"I believe smaller classroom sizes benefit everyone - students and teachers. More time spent one on one with any student is much better than oversized classrooms. These small schools not only provide the educational environment for these kids, but are also the heart and soul of each of these communities. Now how to keep the schools open? Give the parents the opportunity to bus their children to the smaller schools. I believe that is currently being done on a small spectrum. Make it available to all students in the bigger schools. Really look at where the money is and where it could more wisely be used to support all of the schools."

Name: Susie Cvechko

Address: 3 Fifth St., Henderson Drive, Philippi

Office: Barbour County Board of Education, North District

Employment: Director of inpatient services at Broaddus Hospital

Family: Married to John; three sons and two grandchildren.

Statement of campaign platform: "Having served 18 years on the Barbour County Board of Education, I am very aware of the challenges that face school systems. Morale is at an all-time low; staff needs to be provided support and encouragement. Communication, leadership and accountability are essential for a progressive school system. All schools, including Volga-Century and Mount Vernon, are integral to our communities. They serve our students first, are sites for emergency shelters, community events and after school activities. I am committed to a successful school system, one that teachers are valued. If elected, I will serve with determination, energy and resourcefulness for success."

Are you in favor of keeping all schools in Barbour County open? If so, where would you get the funding?"Yes, I am in favor of keeping all Barbour County schools open - specifically Volga-Century and Mount Vernon. I feel those two schools are being targeted for eventual closing at this time. Our schools, and especially the more rural schools, become the hub of those communities. The budget dollars for the Barbour County school system comes from local and state dollars, and we must operate a school system with those available dollars - always looking for additional resources to supplement the budget, such as grants."

Name: Stanley "Stan" Swick

Address: Route 1 Box 209-K, Belington

Office: Barbour County Board of Education, South District

Employment: Union Carpenter Local 476, working for March & Westin Co.

Family: Married to Kimberly; three children and two stepchildren.

Statement of campaign platform: "Main and first concern is quality education of our children. Teachers have this role, they provide training and educate our children. Our superintendent's policies and work ethics have broken morale of our educators. This must be restored to assure a quality and productive educational system. This is obtained by displaying good and correct behavior toward someone. Working together with respect. Have open communication, take suggestions and concerns of others into consideration. What better asset than teachers do we have to inform us what is working? Need to restore integrity to our board of education. Teachers make all other professionals possible."

Are you in favor of keeping all schools in Barbour County open? If so, where would you get the funding?

"I am in favor of keeping all Barbour County schools open. They are presently open with funding coming from our present budget. So why can't they remain open? I know that the educational system is also a business. Over the years I also know that volunteer groups have helped with expenses at Mt. Vernon - painting, tiling of floors, etc. There are also funds available through grants. Small classroom sizes must remain in our elementary schools for good, quality education, for we know, the more younger kids gather together in one area, the more chaos, the harder to teach!"

Name: Brian L. Kisamore

Address: Route 3 Box 28-B, PhilippiOffice: Barbour County Board of Education, West District

Employment: U.S. Postal Service, Postmaster, Galloway

Family: Married to Lorelle; two children.

Statement of campaign platform: "For 3 1/2 years I have taken it upon myself to be the voice for the children. The hardest part for me as a board member is to see all of the needs of our children and know that each year as funding is cut and jobs are lost, that those needs will increase. Tough decisions will have to be made. I stand by the votes that I have cast in the past 3 1/2 years. If re-elected, I will continue to be a voice for all the children and will continue to serve the citizens of Barbour County."

Are you in favor of keeping all schools in Barbour County open? If so, where would you get the funding?

"The staff at every school and the board office has worked very hard to cut costs and keep all Barbour County schools open. If I were to vote with my heart, all schools would continue to remain open. Unfortunately, I must be realistic and also financially responsible to all children of Barbour County. The population of our county is decreasing. Our limited resources must be used to improve and upkeep the schools. Closing any school is not good, but we cannot keep funding schools which have a diminishing population."

Name: Patrick Jones

Address: Rural?Route 1 Box 240, Philippi

Office: Barbour County Board of Education, North District

Employment: Plant manager for Delta Cooling Towers Inc. located in the Philippi Industrial Park.

Family: Married to Susan; two children.

Statement of campaign platform: "Four years ago, I said three things: 1) Provide an opportunity for students to learn, but students and parents must take advantage of that opportunity; 2) treat employees as professionals, but hold them accountable according to that standard; and 3) not ignore issues. Our school system has seen significant progress in four years in all areas: academic performance, employee benefits and facilities. It's sad when people's vision of this is clouded by simple things like cheese pizza."

Are you in favor of keeping all schools in Barbour County open? If so, where would you get the funding?"I'd like to see all schools remain open in Barbour County. The simplest answer is more students to fill all classrooms. A responsible board must look at all options regarding funding. Education must be effective, efficient and affordable. Other candidates making arbitrary promises is irresponsible."

 
 

 

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