Butler County Times Gazette
  • Students and teachers receive praise from BOE candidates

  • Students in the district have made Hall and McCalla proud.
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  • After the City Council candidates had their turn, the candidates for school board had a chance to introduce themselves to voters.
    Robert McCalla is running unopposed for his seat.
    For District 2, Seat 5, Andy Hall is trying to win re-election against Ray Jones.
    School Board District 2, Seat 5
    In his opening statement, Jones said he and his wife moved back to the city several years ago and they wanted to help make Augusta a better place.
    "She (his wife, Sue) is on the city council and I am running for school board," Jones said.
    Hall said he ran four years ago with no intention of running again. However, his children's teachers convinced him to run again.
    Hall said one thing he was committed to was supporting the teachers in the district.
    He said he wasn't an educator, but he had Superintendent John Black and board members like McCalla to rely on for decisions like that. Hall, who served as an SRO for about 10 years said his expertise was in matters of school security and business matters.
    Hall said school financing was the primary challenge facing the Augusta school district and every school district in Kansas.
    "We have set the bar really high for teachers and students," Hall said. "We need some support from Topeka or we will have to be
    be really creative to meet those standards."
    Jones said the biggest challenge to the district is to make sure students were prepared to go into the workplace if they weren't heading on to college.
    "Some students are also not well enough prepared for college," Jones said. "Students need a well-rounded education."
     When asked what made the candidates proud of the district, Jones mentioned the new buildings. He said he hoped to see the district improve its ranking of 102 to become a top ten school district in the state.
    Hall said what made him proud was the achievement of the students in the district.
    "The stuff some of these kids are doing makes me the most proud," Hall said.
    Jones said he believes the district needs to make sure it is graduating good students.
    "My teachers challenged me and made me perform," Jones said. "Now many teachers just want students to get the gist of it. I don't think that is good enough."
    School Board, Robert McCalla, unopposed
    McCalla did not draw an opponent in his race, but he said it had been years since school board candidates had a chance to discuss issues in a forum of this type so he took advantage of the opportunity.
    Page 2 of 2 - McCalla has ore than 40 years of experience in education from his time as an educator to his tenure as an elementary and middle school administrator in Augusta for more than 27 years and eight years on the school board.
    McCalla agreed with Hall that the decisions being made by legislators in Topeka were of primary importance to the students in Augusta.
    McCalla said it was hard to compete with Augusta residents when it comes to supporting the school district in every way - but especially financially, as evidenced by the $48 million bond issue passed a few years ago.
    He said the students in the district have always made him proud.
    "All you have to do is read the Gazette," McCalla said. "Our students are in there all the time."
    To view the entire candidate forum, go to http://vimeo.com/62755056.

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