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McDuffie BOE, District 6 Runoff - Dec. 2

Dexter Lovins

Please define your qualities/experience that you feel make you most eligible to be a school board member.

I served my country during the Vietnam Era and attended college on the G.I. Bill while working full time and raising a family. This gave me a better appreciation of the value of an education.

I retired from Civil Service as a management supervisor assisting in managing a multimillion dollar budget. I am experienced in tackling budget restraints, prioritizing items to control spending. I have attended numerous management seminars related to budgets, reduction of resources and other issues. I received the Department of the Army Meritorious Achievement medal for my accomplishments and I feel my experience and common sense fully qualifies me for the position.

The school system has already been informed by state officials that another one percent cut in revenue will take place next year. How do you propose dealing with additional cuts in the budget?

There should be competitive bidding on all school system purchases and services in excess of $500. I realize that most services are bid out, but some are not, according to some vendors that have contacted me. I would be sure that the lowest eligible bidder receives the job. This would eliminate any signs of favoritism on the board's part.

During this time of economic crisis, it is imperative that we hold spending to a minimum without hindering the educational process. Every change that is made, the question should be asked - does it enhance education and does it benefit our students, teachers and paraprofessionals?

How would you balance spending money for repairing/upgrading/providing necessities for school buildings with spending money on improving athletic facilities?

There is no question that academics must come first and always be the top priority. The building of classrooms for educational purposes must always come before building or upgrading athletic facilities. In a lot of situations, funds for improving athletic facilities has come from private donations and volunteer help. This might be something to explore.

I firmly believe that we could upgrade the Norris Elementary School to current building codes and instructional space requirements rather than construct a complete new Norris Elementary School. There is a great need for improvement of the Thomson High School stadium, but this should in no way ever be prioritized ahead of educational facilities. If funds are available, there is a need to build new restrooms on both sides of the field. This should be one of the first things considered when improvements are to be made at the stadium.

List two changes you would like to see the school system make.

I would change the morning board meeting to a Tuesday night and the voting session to Thursday night. This would allow the board members to process the information provided to them in the planning session and make a more informed decision at the voting session.

I would look at the three-year contracts that some school administrators have. I do not know why this is necessary. I would propose implementing an evaluation process where the teachers could evaluate the principals, superintendent and other supervisory personnel on an annual basis. This would be an unsigned evaluation form. This would be a valuable tool for the board to use in their review of the central office and other supervisory personnel. I would install a communication process where the teachers could make their ideas known without fear of reprisal or intimidation.

Your last pitch - anything else you'd like to tell the voters.

I would like to thank the many people who have encouraged me, supported me, contributed to and worked for my election. I ask all voters who supported the other candidates to please vote for me in the runoff. Together we can make a difference.

If elected, I will be an advocate for you. I will strive for quality education and will support a tax break for senior citizens. A vote for me will be a vote for progress. I want to make our school system "the best" and will do what's possible to do so. I will represent each of you with honesty, dignity, respect and will pray about each decision that I make. Thank you, and may God bless you.

Steve Strouble

Please define your qualities/experience that you feel make you most eligible to be a school board member.

My training as a classroom teacher and as an administrator always came with the understanding of the role and responsibilities of a school board member. Over 29 years I have worked with many school boards and superintendents to help improve education. My years of experience have prepared me to serve as a board member.

The school system has already been informed by state officials that another one percent cut in revenue will take place next year. How do you propose dealing with additional cuts in the budget?

It is essential that programs be prioritized to make sure that we maintain programs that are essential to maintaining student progress. After essential programs are identified we can make necessary adjustments by scaling back some programs and eliminating where we can. The key is to work with school level personnel to determine where we cane find savings.

How would you balance spending money for repairing/upgrading/providing necessities for school buildings with spending money on improving athletic facilities?

The job of schools is to educate students so that they can become successful citizens in our society. Athletics is a tool that is employed to assist in the development of life skills. The first priority must always be to maintain an appropriate learning environment. This means constantly updating and maintaining facilities so that learning can take place. Athletic facilities must also be maintained to provide for the safety of students and patrons. To continue appropriate maintenance of athletic facilities we may need to look at more commercial advertising, ie. Coca Cola Stadium, Georgia Power gym. We will need to think outside of the box.

List two changes you would like to see the school system make.

It is important to understand that the school board is only a policy making body. No individual board member can dictate the daily operation of any school or any school activity. As a board member, I would work to help this community make education a priority for every individual in the county. This area is poised to move forward rapidly when the economy picks up. The only way that McDuffie County will participate is if we show that we have a well-educated work force that is ready for any challenge. I see no reason that our community should not have the top scores in the state. All we have to do is show our young people that we have the same expectations academically as we have athletically. I believe that we can do it as a community.

When I came to McDuffie County 19 years ago, I was impressed with the level of goodwill that existed in the community for the school system as a whole. The staff openly shard feelings and concerns, and progress was made through honest discussion, research and debate. Somehow we seem to have lost our way. I have heard staff say that they are afraid to discuss ideas or express concerns because they do not feel that their opinions are valued. We cannot make the progress we want to make if we are not involving the eyes and ears of the people who work closest with the students. We must bring a degree of integrity back to the school board.

Your last pitch - anything else you'd like to tell the voters.

If elected, I will continue to work for children. I will continue to think outside of the box to develop policies that insure the success of our students. I have played a vital role in the development of programs like the Boys and Girls Club, the 21Century program and Partners for Success. I still believe that I have much to offer. With your vote, I will continue to work for this community.



Web posted on Thursday, November 27, 2008













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