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Ironton School Board candidates present platforms

Four out of five candidates for Ironton School Board spelled out their campaign platforms and took questions Thursday night from area residents attending the Ironton Co-Operative Club’s Meet the Candidate night.

Friday, November 02, 2001

Four out of five candidates for Ironton School Board spelled out their campaign platforms and took questions Thursday night from area residents attending the Ironton Co-Operative Club’s Meet the Candidate night.

Shawn Osborne, who works at King’s Daughters Medical Center, could not attend due to a work schedule conflict.

The others – Jeff Handley, B.J. Hannon, Steve Harvey and Teresa Parker – each received a few minutes to explain their campaigns for school board. They then addressed written questions posed by audience members.

Harvey promised to fill the term he is running for, answering a question about leaving his school board post several years ago.

"I left because of situations that were unethical I feel humbled to be asked by a cross-section of people to run again," he said.

Answering a question about what happened when the district was not able to meet payroll once last summer, incumbent Hannon said the situation involved revenue that had not come into the district.

Financial matters fall under the leadership of the superintendent and treasury, and the board does not take part, he said.

Candidate Parker also answered the question, saying she has reviewed copies of financial statements, which are public record, and said she would make copies that people can understand available at each meeting.

Asked about what policies would be changed if elected, each candidate stressed they examine policies and review them under the criteria of what’s best for the district.

At least three audience questions dealt directly with athletics, such as, if certain candidates are elected will they fire coach Barnes, what influence does Mike Burcham have on each candidate, and will the practice/track field be sold to OU?

Handley said firing the coach is not on his agenda. Hannon said he though highly of the coach and vowed to support him. Harvey called such rumors a "stinking shame" because all contracts are reviewed and firing a coach is not in his campaign. Parker said contracts are "theirs to keep," and any changes come after proper evaluations.

Handley said he wants to focus on the quality of both curricular and extracurricular activities so students are well-rounded, adding everybody needs to be on the same bus.

Hannon said Burcham was doing an outstanding job, and the subject is not needed in the election. "The best education for our kids is our focus," he said.

Harvey called Burcham his friend, and agreed that it shouldn’t be an election issue. "I thought we were all in this together, in all areas," he said.

"I’m married to the athletic department," Parker said, adding that she supports the AD, band, drama, and believes in extracurricular activities as well as the classroom.

Handley said selling the practice field is not on his agenda, adding that athletics can go hand-in-hand with education. Duke University has a reputation of that, which should be all schools’ goal, he said.

Harvey said there should not be a distinction, adding that the schools are here for the total picture and he’s against selling the track field. If you take the success athletics here have had and incorporate that, it would be better, he said. Harvey also mentioned his many years as chaplain of the athletic department.

Parker said she was not willing to sell any more school property, and mentioned her thankfulness that the athletic department provides $80,000 to $90,000 a year to the district.

All candidates said they consider safe school environments, including a need for renovations and new schools, a priority.

A levy, usually required for state support of new schools, was mentioned. But, all said that would take community-wide planning, and seeking creative ways to reduce the burden on citizens.