Five candidates are running for four open seats on the Churchill County School Board.
The Lahontan Valley News sent the candidates questionnaires about their interest in the position and qualifications.
The candidates will face off tonight at Candidates Night between 6:15-7 p.m. at the Fallon Convention Center. The candidate’s provided answers that appear in alphabetical order. The candidates are incumbents Richard Gent, Clay Hendrix, Nona McFarlane and Carmen Schank and challenger Matt Hyde.
Explain your background and how this qualifies you for the position you are seeking:
Gent: I have had a career as a Naval Intelligence Officer and currently Intelligence Subject Matter expert for Fallon Tactical Training Ranges. Additionally, state director for the rail safety non-profit public education program, Nevada Operation Lifesaver and owner of a railroad security company. As a school board trustee, I rely heavily upon my leadership experience as a naval officer and business knowledge in my profit and non-profit companies. I first seek to fully understand the issues, receive inputs from all sides, and then weigh how the decision will affect our education system.
Hendrix: I bring my legal training and experience, CCSD board of trustees. As a trustee, I have assisted other trustees to understand and analyze legal issues. While sitting on the board, I actively work to identify projects that benefit both the district as an organization and the students.
Hyde: I have lived in Fallon my whole life. I went to school, K-12, here and have seen many changes, some for the good and some not so good. I have four wonderful children: Kayley, Conley, Chase and Trevor, and a beautiful wife of 20 years, Nicole. I have worked at CC Communications for 17 years and have volunteered countless hours in many different clubs and coaching positions throughout these years.
McFarlane: I was employed with the Churchill County School District for 15 years, which I believe gives me knowledge of how the school district operates. I understand how we receive funding, classes that are deemed necessary, contracts, negotiating and the overall organization of the district. I have also been a board of trustee for nearly four years that has provided me with a broader understanding of governing and the importance of following and enforcing Nevada Revised Statues, policies and regulation. Being a board member is a full time job for me. It is not something I do a few hours a week. I spend hours reading policies, regulation NRS and finding as many facts as possible on any issue that comes before me so when I vote I am making the best decision and what is in the best interest of everyone, especially the students.
Schank: First of all, I am a servant of the people and I will be your advocate. I have been a lifetime resident of Fallon and attended and graduated from Churchill County schools, as did our four children. I taught in the local schools here for 20 years: music, art and third-grade. I am currently serving on the Churchill County School Board and have been a trustee for three years. I am a person of courage and integrity. I have had a lifetime passion for education and want all our students to have the very best education possible. We have great teachers and schools in Fallon. Kids are number one.
What are the most important issues that you would address if elected:
Gent: Continue current efforts for safety and security of students and schools, develop plan of action to reduce the loss of students to other forms of education venues and explore how to leverage community knowledge and expertise to our vocational and college bound students.
Hendrix: Technology — we are missing important technology in our schools that can enhance educational opportunities and teaching skills. Budget — the budget is the most difficult item the board reviews and approves. As alternative schools compete with traditional public education; the district is challenged with balancing the budget with a declining enrollment. The balance requires careful cost cutting measures and competitive development that creates competitive modern schools that benefit the community. Evaluations — without a credible evaluation tool used throughout the district at all levels, accountability and quality assurance is missing from education. Student performance — in todays system, this is how progress is measured.
Hyde: Budget, faculty morale, and working to establish a strong parent teacher organization in every school.
McFarlane: Budget/finance, accountability (from the top down and bottom up), curriculum and leadership (from the top down and bottom up).
Schank: Maintaining continuity with staff and district programs in a continuing declining budget, providing quality education for the future success of all our children (academic achievement), transparency and accountability, and parent involvement is crucial. Intelligence is first fostered in the home.
Why should voters choose you over the other candidates:
Gent: I plan to get out and make myself available to the public to hear their concerns and issues. To be an effective and productive school board trustee requires the ability to look at both sides and fully understand the issues. I do just that, educate myself on the situation and look at all sides, and most importantly, listen.
Hendrix: I am able to advance my goals efficiently and successfully without consuming large quantities of time. The old high school/middle school/ administration remodel, new district accounting software, and director or curriculum are all successful and beneficial projects I initially advocated.
Hyde: I decided to run for school board for a few simple reasons. One being it is an opportunity to give back to a community that has given me so much in my life. The next reason is that it gives me the opportunity to be a voice for the voters in matters that affect the students, teachers, and all other faculty. Another reason is the fact that I have children in the district and would like all students who wish to go to college be better prepared to take that step. I feel through the decisions made by the board and district leaders it is an attainable goal for those students who wish to do so. Another reason is that I have coached many years and know a lot of kids and would like to do my part to assure them the best education possible. I feel I am a good fit to be on the school board because I will work diligently with the board and administrators to set and accomplish goals that will benefit students and the school district. I look forward to working with other board members and district leaders to make this possible. I am at a point in my life where I have the time and am willing to put in the effort to make a difference.
McFarlane: I hope the voters can see that in the past four years I have been a hard working, knowledgeable, responsible, visible, honest, dependable and caring board member. Along with the other board members, I have supported the improvement of all our facilities that I feel is just one important step in improving educational environment for our students. I work hard on being informed on issues that are placed on the agenda so when I am asked to vote I feel that I am making the right decision, not only for me and for those I represent but more important the students. I serve on four committees and I take my role on these committees serious, because from these committees comes recommendations for the board as a whole to vote on. Being a Churchill County board of trustee is not an easy job, however, the rewards are worth it. To me it is one of the hardest jobs I have had because the decisions I help make can have a huge effect on a lot of lives, especially the future of our students. I am not afraid to make tuff decisions, stand alone if needed and work as hard and long as I need to, to get facts, opinions and be informed and hold people accountable and hopefully, in the end do what is right for everyone, especially the students. In the past four years I believe that we as a board have made a lot of progress in a positive way that has and will have a positive impact on our student’s education and I hope whoever gets elected will work to continue down that same path always putting the kids first.
Schank: There is a huge learning curve when you get on the school board. I have three years of experience working on the board with budgets and curriculum. I am currently serving on the policy committee and the safety and legislative committees. I constantly strive to stay abreast of current issues to make informed decisions. I am a hard worker. I have courage and operate on ethical principles of integrity. I am fiscally conservative with taxpayer’s dollars. I love this community and the people and students who live in this town. I am passionate about education and I work very hard to make Fallon’s schools some of the best in the nation. Nevada was one of the worst states hit economically from the recession and that has had a huge impact on our schools budgets; for the past seven years, starting in 2008 the districts budgets have been consistently declining and have taken a huge hit. Despite this difficulty our district’s budget is balanced and our schools are strong and thriving. I will continue to work to keep Churchill County schools the very best.