School Board incumbent Scoles faces challenger

"Steve ScolesAge: 49Family: Wife Nancy, sons Jonathan, 16, Brian, 13, Dylan, 8Years on South Whdibey: 10 Experience: Four years on school board, co-chair levy committees for schools and Parks and Recreation, planning committee for Bayview School, founding member South Whidbey Schools FoundationCurrent Status: RetiredIn his role as a member of the South Whidbey School Board, incumbent Steve Scoles says he has learned quite a bit about the issues facing the school district and has ideas about how board members can be more effective. If elected he would like to see board members get more training so that they know what a school board member’s job really is. “I believe strongly that school board members must take advantage of any training made available by the state and the Washington State School Directors Association. This is the only way we as board members can be effective at our job,” he said.He added that he has attended Washington state legislative conferences, and national conferences for school board members. “I am the only one who has attended these conferences. I am committed to training.”Here are Scoles’ views on other issues facing the district.How do your views differ from your opponent’s (Ray E. Gabelein)?I think of myself as someone who represents the entire community. My supporters come from many different segments of the community. I have been very involved in education by participating on a number of boards including the South Whdibey Schools Foundation, Bayview School and Parks and Recreation and as a soccer coach. I haven’t seen my opponent as involved--except in sports--as I have been. I have a lot of experience in public service on South Whdibey. Also, I think I look at policies from the widest possible perspective. I spent three years in Europe traveling with an educational group. I think I bring an international perspective to our district. There have been budget problems in the district the last few years, where can money be saved? Through attrition we’ve eliminated the position of assistant superintendent -- I don’t think our district is large enough to fund an assistant superintendent. We did not intend to deficit spend the last couple of years. We created a balanced budget, but we missed on our enrollment figures. However, we will put a significant amount back into the reserve fund next year because our enrollment is up. We are keeping more students in the district. Students are returning to the district from Running Start, private schools and home schools. For example, we had 60 students in Running Start last year and 30 this year. What is the school board’s role? I think some people misinterpret the role of the school board, which is very specific. Board policy and state law outline the role of all of the state’s school board members. It is a popular misconception that we are supposed to run the schools. It’s not our job to get involved in everything that comes along. We are not volunteer administrators. We are a governing body.Do you think Dr. Bjork is the right person to lead the district?I think Dr. Bjork has done a fine job especially in the area of curriculum and leadership. She is a very collaborative leader who includes the entire community. She works at trying to find a consensus. What do you think is the district’s priority?The board hasn’t worked on goals for two years. We have been preoccupied with personnel and other issues. It’s time for us to set a good example of how the school board and the administration should work together. Most important is we in the district have to continue bringing our students to a higher level achievement."

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