The public got its first opportunity to meet the At-Large Candidates for the Clay Community School Board of Trustees at City Hall Saturday.
All six candidates fielded questions regarding state funding, the elementary building renovation project, graduation rates and the future of the bus garage, administrative personnel and the future of Clay Community Schools.
With the current state of the economy, patrons were concerned with the amount of money the corporation is spending.
"The funding for education is changing," candidate Ron Scherb said. "With the recent cuts at the state, I would recommend a freeze on the construction at the elementary schools."
Candidate Leo Southworth expressed his own shock about the announcement at a recent school board meeting.
"When the cuts were announced at the meeting, (the administration) said they planned for the cuts," he said. "Other corporations are cutting teachers because they were putting all their general fund into teaching, but not here."
A concerned member of the community commented on how members of the administration are not from the county and the taxpayer money used to pay them is going out of the community.
"I am a firm believer in keeping money in the community," candidate Amy Burke Adams said. "There is an advantage to hiring qualified individuals from within the community."
Two current board members -- Forrest Buell, who represents District 4, and At-Large representative Brian Atkinson, who is not running for re-election -- were in the audience.
"I applaud all of you for deciding to serve the community in this capacity," Atkinson said. "It will be trying at times. Some meetings no one will be there, but when there is an item on the agenda that people care about, you will receive nothing but phone calls until the meeting and there will be standing room only at that meeting."
While topics continued, candidates answered questions regarding the current board and working with them as well as the community.
"The board has a responsibility to the taxpayers," candidate Barbara Nicoson said.
"Everyone will always have personal differences," Adams added. "But they will have to be put aside to get the job done."
One of the current situations facing new members would be the bus garage.
"I believe we should keep the barn where it is," candidate Philip Greenwell said. "Do nothing different right now, and when the economy picks up, do something."
"I believe that we should look at school corporations like ours," candidate Robert Miller added. "For the bus garage, I think the simpler, the better."
Though all members have different views and opinions on topics discussed, all agreed they wanted to do what was best for the children as well as making it through the difficult times facing the economy.
"I would like to commend you for running for the positions on the school board." Northview High School Principal Tim Rayle said. "I would encourage all of you to talk with teachers, administrators and the community."
There will be another public meeting for the candidates at 1 p.m., Sunday, March 14, at First Financial Bank in Clay City.
The six candidates -- Adams, Greenwell, Miller, Nicoson, Scherb and Southworth -- will be on the Primary Election ballot vying for the three open positions on the school board. The 2010 Primary Election will take place May 4.