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  • Writer's pictureBill Raines

NLCS School Board Candidates Give Voters Choices of Who They Will Vote for Thursday Night at Forum

BEDFORD - SEPTEMBER 29, 2022 - The voters for the North Lawrence Community School Board got a look at the 12 candidates running for school board seats.

Tonight's forum was sponsored by the North Lawrence Education Association. Logan Felts moderating this evening's forum.

Incumbents Kristen Collier and Dr. Kamal Girgis are both seeking their seats back for another term. Collier serving nine years on the NLCS and Dr. Kamal Girgis seeking a second term.

Nine-year NLCS School Board Kristen Collier introduces herself during the candidate forum Thursday night

" I did not vote for the consolidation because I did not think it was correct in how it was being done. I also did not vote for the closure of the Oolitic Middle School twice," said Collier.

  • Dr. Kamal Girgis tells the crowd " I voted with my heart, on the hard decisions that had to be made over the last four years,"

" I voted with my heart, on making the difficult decisions that had to be made," said Dr. Girgis.

There were twelve questions answered by each candidate, with each candidate given the opportunity to one question first.

There were just over 40 people in attendance at the forum, with the forum live streamed by the North Lawrence Community School students.

  • Autumn Ray who has previously served on the North Lawrence Community School board speaks about an issue raised during the forum

The twelve questions asked during the forum included the following:

  1. What is your Vision for NLCS? Give one concrete thing you would like to see accomplished and how you're being on the board would help us get us there?

  2. Several candidates have expressed the desire to remove the current superintendent. If you were going to accomplish this, what then? What will be your plan?

  3. What would be your top three priorities for the North Lawrence Community School budget?

  4. As a board member what do you see your role of the board in relation to the superintendent?

  5. Until NLCS pays their teachers and staff a competitive wage, employees will continue to leave in droves. What plans do you have for increasing the pay?

  6. Beyond increasing the pay, what steps would you like to see taken to increase employee morale?

  7. What accountability measures would you like to see implemented to increase transparency and communication between the community and the board, district office, and school personnel?

  8. With the current enrollment of Oolitic Middle School what do you see as the future plans for the building?

  9. What do you feel are the current strengths of the school corporation?

  10. As a board member, what do you see your role regarding the selection of curriculum, and materials used in the classrooms ?

  11. What do you believe should be the relationship between NLCS and the charter schools?

  12. What area of NLCS have you researched to be a school board member serve the students and the community?

Throughout the evening the candidates spoke of both similar and differing opinions on how they would serve to the needs and demands of being a school board member.

Candidates have varying backgrounds of being a professional, schoolteacher, management ability, military experience, day care owner, and knowledge of budget and managerial responsibilities. Many of the candidates themselves being students at the North Lawrence Community Schools.

Tye Hooten shares his vision for the NLCS system says he is the best candidate out of his district

  • Ty Hooten District candidate says his vision is to increase the organizational culture from within the organization by addressing the problems and in order to do that is baseline the organization.

  • Craig Godsey asks does the public expect the new school board members know how to replace the Superintendent right when they get into office? We will need a little time to make that happen.

  • Adam Parsley that the next step will be after removing Dr. Ty Mungle a interim Superintendent will need to be installed. The announcement made to select the next Superintendent from a competitive group of potential candidates.

  • Michael Patton says his three main priorities will be better teacher pay, review wasteful spending, and maintenance of the school buildings throughout the corporation.

  • Tony "Rock" Fleetwood the support staff and the aides is the current strength of the NLCS

  • Rob Payne says as being a teacher, for me outside of being compensated, to increase morale is to reduce class sizes.

  • Barbra Miller says the PTOs and parents are very supportive of our teachers, and staff if we need help, they show up. Miller added that great teachers make us great.

  • Scott King has attended many school board meetings prior to the consolidation, during consolidation and post consolidation asking the hard questions from Superintendent Dr. Ty Mungle.

Several issues the group agreed upon which was better compensation for teachers. Other issues that seemed to be of a huge difference of opinion included whether Oolitic Middle School could be re-opened.

Throughout the evening many of the candidates felt that it is time for the community to heal.

Transparency was another area where most candidates agree was needed to build back confidence in the community that the corporation has lost.

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