Eight candidates are seeking three available seats on the Center Grove Community School Corp. school board.
All seats in this race are at-large, so all school district voters will be able to select three of the eight candidates on the ballot to serve on the Center Grove School Board.
Due to the volume of candidates, coverage of this school board race will be split into four parts, each featuring two candidates. The remaining parts will be released in the coming days before the first day of early voting on October 12.
Incumbents Scott Alexander and Jack Russell, who have served on the school board since 2010, are up for re-election. They are also challenged by Doug Bohall, Bill Collins, Bruce Guiliani, Gary Robinson, Derek Payne and Nicholas Smither.
Current school board member Joe Hubbard’s seat is also up for grabs, but he is not running for re-election as he plans to run for mayor of Greenwood next year.
The five-member school board is responsible for setting the school district’s annual budget, approving teacher contracts, hiring and reviewing the superintendent, establishing policies and procedures, and making decisions about construction projects and any school redistricting that may be necessary.
The Daily Journal emailed questions to each candidate asking about their experience and goals, if elected. The first part presents the answers of Alexander and Bohall. With some edits for grammar and length, here’s what they said:
What prompted you to apply for this position?
alexander: To continue serving the community as a school counselor. Coming out of the pandemic, we can focus on issues of funding, academic success, and preparing the school corporation for continued growth.
Bohall: I have local school board experience (Greenwood Schools) and am prepared to serve during this time of political and social division. I hope to add a stabilizing voice when there are so many distractions that divert resources and energy from the educational mission of the institution.
What qualifications do you have to serve on a school board?
alexander: My extensive business background and previous school board experience positions me well to continue our growth while keeping the tax rate stable. I understand the funding challenges faced by a growing school district like Center Grove.
Bohall: 42 years of working with people who often have different points of view on how to accomplish the mission of the organization. I have acted as a mediator and facilitator in establishing the vision and direction of groups, boards and committees…Knowing the difference between student-centered governance and micromanagement is a particularly strong asset to bring to the post.
What are the most pressing issues facing your school district, if any?
alexander: State funding and continued growth are the most pressing issues facing the school district today.
Bohall: Center Grove is an excellent school district offering exceptional educational and extracurricular opportunities for students in the district. Over time, opportunities and challenges arise, and each school district must continue to pursue relevance to meet changing demands for excellence for student success. I particularly think it is of paramount importance to ensure that our schools are safe and healthy places to work and learn.
What are your three main objectives, if elected?
alexander: Continued dialogue with state legislators on funding formula. Center Grove is the 29th largest school district in the state, and we are funded 25th out of 191 districts. Our funding does not match our size or our academic achievement; Continue to prepare for growth proactively rather than reactively; To continue to enable teachers and staff to provide the highest quality education to all Center Grove students.
Bohall: Create an environment that encourages all students to engage meaningfully in the educational process. Education is the key that will unlock the doors to their future that will allow them to reach their highest potential in life; Create a top-notch workplace for teachers, staff and administration to fulfill their professional vocation.
How would you define social-emotional learning? Do you think it has its place in schools?
alexander: SEL is the process by which children and adults acquire and effectively apply the knowledge, attitudes and skills necessary to understand and manage emotions, set and achieve positive goals, establish and maintain positive relationships, feel and show empathy for others and making responsible decisions.
Bohall: Learning to work collaboratively with others and supervisors is critically important. Simply knowing the technical side of a job is usually not enough for long-term success. Problem solving is a skill that brings flexibility to the toolbox of data and facts learned during the school years. Learning goal-setting techniques brings a reality-based context to tasks at work and in personal life. There are times to celebrate the achievement of our goals, and it helps to learn to re-evaluate our goals when we fall short of them.
While researching social and emotional learning, I understand that these are the main areas of focus for SEL. These can be taught at home by family members, but teaching at school is another opportunity to practice developing and mastering these important skills for student success.
How would you define critical race theory? Do you think CRT is taught in this school district?
alexander: CRT is a social and political lens used to focus on the concept of race and racism. CRT should not be taught in the classroom and is not part of the Center Grove curriculum.
Bohall: Racial awareness and sensitivity is a very difficult subject for our society, and has been for decades. When we commit to the concept that all men are created equal, we are faced with a challenge with countless perspectives. Unfortunately, many of the social struggles of the past decades…have ended up on the battlefield of educational institutions to confront their differences. Using schools as a battleground can become a major distraction from the educational mission.
CRT is an advanced academic discipline that peels the onion of racism, examining its more subtle causes and dynamics. Unfortunately, when racial awareness is discussed, it is sometimes misidentified as CRT. There is an overlap of CRT and racial consciousness at the intersection of racial consideration. I have no evidence that CRT is taught in this system. Hopefully racial awareness and sensitivity is and will continue to be addressed.
What else would you like to say to voters?
alexander: If re-elected, I will continue to be fiscally responsible as we continue to grow our community. We are rapidly approaching 10,000 students and must prepare for continued growth.
Bohall: School board leadership is about governance, not micromanagement. Boards are responsible for making decisions that result in an optimal learning environment. This includes budgetary, policy, programming, staffing, facilities, and extracurricular decisions. I take all of this very seriously as it will have a direct impact on the success of our students. I believe that hiring the best administrators, educators and support staff is of paramount importance. Then we have to let these trained professionals do their job.
The alexander Case
Last name: Scott alexander
Family: Married; of them children
Occupation: Chief Operating Officer for Timeless Software
Educative context: Center Grove High School; Purdue University
Policy live: Center Grove School Plank member since 2010
The Bohall File
Last name: Doug Bohall
Family: Spouse; five children
Occupation: Pastor at Honey Creek Church
Schooling: Greenwood Community High School; IUPUI; Bible College (Cincinnati); Anderson University School of Theology; Olivet University
Political experience: Greenwood Community School Board, 1994-97; Central Nine Career Center Board of Trustees, 1995-97
Memberships: United Way of Johnson County; Board of Trustees and Chairman of the Board of Greenwood Rotary, 1993-2000; Johnson County Branch, 1995