The Brazil Times, Clay County Farm Bureau and Clay County chamber of Commerce are sponsoring a political forum at 6 p.m., April 26 at the Clay County Fairgrounds.
Clay Community Schools board and Democratic candidates for sheriff will be questioned in a public forum by residents.
All candidates present will be introduced and given up to two minutes to address the crowd.
By DWIGHT CLERK
For The Times
For more than 15 years I have been actively involved with the youth of Clay County. I began coaching kids when my son, Trent, Became interested in participating in sports and have continued to do so. I hope I have had a positive influence in their young lives that extends beyond the playing field. Because of the relationships I have developed with our young people over the years, I have decided to run for the position of School Board of Trustees and would appreciate your vote and suggestions so very much. Too often I feel decisions have been made based on personal agendas rather than what is best for our kids and community -- and that has to change.
To illustrate my loyalty to our community, I have lived in Brazil most of my life, attending East Side Elementary from 1961 through 1967. I attended Brazil Junior and Senior High School, graduating in 1973. I was given a scholarship to play football at Indiana Central College in Indianapolis, presently known as the University of Indianapolis. Leaving school after the first year, I began working in Brazil in local factories. In 1980 I began attending night classes at Ivy Tech in Terre Haute, graduating in the summer of 1985. Shortly afterward I began working in the business machine industry. I am presently the Service Manager of CopyCo Office Solutions in Indianapolis and Terre Haute.
During the past 20 years I have worked in Terre Haute and Indianapolis. The nature of my job has taken me to virtually every community in Central Indiana and Illinois. I choose to remain in Clay County because of our small community values, friendliness and security. These things make it a great place to raise our kids.
I have three children that have attended local schools. My son, Trent, played football and graduated from Northview High School in 2001, and is presently attending ISU. Currently, my two daughters attend Northview. My oldest daughter Tara has been active in the Northview Band and Winter Guard during her three years at Northview. Tressa, my youngest daughter, is active in the Northview Choir and Drama Club. She, along with many other talented students are appearing this month in Northview's spring musical "All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten."
Clay Community Schools have students that remain in school for the social activities provided, and they graduate. Not every high school student in Clay County will go to college, I do not believe that makes them any less important. I do believe our schools should provide the motivation to stay in school and get their diploma so their options remain open. In addition, the young people I know from the Clay City area have the same aspirations as the students from Brazil. They want to graduate high school. Some want to go to college, some do not, their options need to remain open though.
Furthermore, I can remember a time when a lot of money and time was wasted trying to get the present high school built. It is time we stop looking at today and have the vision to look toward tomorrow. If any forethought would have been given when Northview High School was built, it would have not been built the way it was. All indications are that the current facilities are not adequate for the needs of our students or teachers. I am told teachers have to move from room to room since there are not enough class rooms. I believe there have been times not every student has had a locker for their belongings. I am not advocating building a new school; but steps have got to be taken NOW to alleviate overcrowding.
Although there are good and bad teachers in every community, this does not change the fact that ours need and deserve some type of contract. The teachers in Clay Community Schools Inc., have not had a pay increase in four years. During this time period I know my fuel, electricity, groceries and insurance costs have all increased. I do not know of any other profession with a college degree that has gone that long without some sort of wage increase. How do we attract young teachers with the motivation and energy to help our kids in their endeavors if we can not offer them a contract or future pay increases? Clay Community Schools, like most corporations, are handicapped by the amount of money the state is allotting. I would be delusional if I thought I had all the answers. I just want to help our schools, our teachers and ultimately our kids. I do not know where we will come up with the resources needed, but we have to. We have to make sure we receive a value for every dollar we spend. The needs of the many are more important that the wants of the few. I would appreciate your vote so I can give something back to the community that I love.
Thank you so much!