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Friday, May 6, 2016

In his own words

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

- Rollings seeks seat on school board

As a lifelong Clay County resident and graduate of Clay City High School, I've watched this school system change and grow dramatically over more than 30 years. Most importantly, I've seen first hand how the quality of our schools directly impacts every young person through the experiences of my own four children-- one who is currently in elementary school in Jackson Township, one in middle school and one entering high school in Brazil, and one as a recent graduate of Northview High School who also went to elementary school in Clay City. Realizing that the education my own children receive now will impact every part of their lives in the future motivated me to run for a position on the school board. If elected, my entire focus will be on ensuring that my children and all young people of this community receive the best that an education can offer. Together with my fellow board members I will work to:

- Manage limited budgets to maximize programs and find new sources of education dollars.

- Help those students who struggle to meet state requirements through testing such as ISTEP to get more of the one-on-one help they need.

- Pay our teachers fairly to keep the best in the classrooms.

As a native of Clay City, a 50-year resident of Clay County, a parent and a former high school teacher, I believe it's never time to stop fighting for the best for our children. To me, that means supporting our parents, children and teachers. I know what it is like to make a teacher's budget stretch to feed a family of six-- and I also know what it's like to go home to your own family late in the evening after chaperoning an event only to have papers still to grade.

For more than 10 years, I've also coached basketball, football and T-ball at various times in Brazil and Clay City. As a coach, I've seen a wide variety of kids come through our schools-- growing in number everyday. What is common among all of them is they all start out excited to learn and if they're fortunate they're backed by parents who hold big hopes for their future. In many ways, our school system does a good job supporting these children. Many of our middle and high schools have some of the best facilities around, especially compared to places like Vigo County. Our automotive and trades programs are strong and most important of all we have many teachers that go way out of their way to help our kids succeed. However, there's still always room for improvement. Clay County has a higher dropout rate than in the past-- in large part because some students cannot meet ISTEP standards. We have a budget that is stretched to its maximum and no teacher contract that leaves us at high risk of losing the most important resource our children need to excel.

SO-- How do we address these challenges and make Clay County an example for other school systems to follow? Step-by-step, we can make big differences in a relatively limited amount of time.

- First, I would like to see us consider following the example of leading school systems in other areas to find new and unique ways of gaining money for, and doing an even better job of managing, our education budgets.

- Second, I would like to work with the teachers to secure a new contract and with more funds increase pay for the best teachers in our system so that they make a career of giving our children an excellent education.

- Third, I would like to explore using more student teachers and interns to assist-- NOT replace-- our currently overworked teachers with remediation programs focused on raising ISTEP scores and helping our young people who struggle to learn achieve their best.

Finally-- and I think most critical for voters-- is that I am truly committed to listening to everyone in this community, working as a team with the other school board members, and considering all options and sides of a challenge before choosing the right solution. All of my children's futures are riding on Clay County schools, so you better believe if elected I'll be spending every day working hard to make sure I don't let them-- or any child in this community-- down. I would appreciate your vote for Kelly Rollings on May 2.

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