The Edmond Sun

Local News

January 20, 2014

Bills running to keep school board seat

EDMOND — EDITOR’S NOTE: This is the second of two profile stories featuring the two candidates for the Edmond Public School District 4 board seat. Cynthia Benson’s story appeared Jan. 14. Look in the Jan. 25 Weekender edition of The Sun to read how the candidates handle questions from the public at a Thursday night forum. The forum will be from 7-8 p.m. Thursday at Summit Middle School’s cafeteria, 1701 N.W. 150th St.

Stephanie Bills is running for the Edmond School District 4 board seat. Edmond residents will go to the polls in District 4 on Feb. 11 to decide who will fill the board seat for the next five years.

The District 4 spot is currently filled by Bills, 49, who was appointed by the seated board members when George Cohlmia stepped down early in 2013 so his daughter might fill a district teaching position. Bills is running against Cynthia Benson for the seat.

Elected board members serve a five-year term with one member’s term expiring each year. The board has oversight concerning the district’s budget, policies, construction projects, purchases, contracts and reviews personnel matters such as hiring and firing.

“I believe the role of a board member is one of servant leadership,” Bills said. “I believe it was my duty to apply for the position in order to use my knowledge and mindset.”

Bills received a bachelor’s degree in education at the University of Central Oklahoma, a master’s degree in educational administration at the University of Oklahoma and is currently working on a doctorate in district leadership at Southwestern College in Oklahoma City.

She is a certified teacher and principal and is completing her superintendent’s certification. Bills taught in both Moore and Edmond for many years as well as served as a coach and currently serves as the executive officer in Human Resources at Metro Technology Center.

Bills has worked at Metro Tech for 13 years and said her job is all about training.

“I believe in providing skill sets to empowers students,” Bills said. “Most of my work is in the instructional side.”

Bills has worked with a board of education in her position at Metro Technology Center.

Bills said a board member must display open mindedness and be willing to build trust.

“A board member gives oversight and helps set the budget,” Bills said. “We hire administrators to do their job, and state statutes are put in place to protect teachers.”

“I believe a school board has to follow due process, and there is some information a school board member should not know — personnel information specifically,” Bills added.

Bills said this is the first time she has run for an elected office.

“I think it is my duty to run,” Bills said. “… and I value being part of a team.”

Bills said she believes Edmond has a quality system and as a benchmark school district there are numerous award-winning schools.

Bills said there are some areas in which she would like to see improvements including in state funding.

“I think we need to start some collaboration in that area,” Bills said. “I believe there is some dysfunction between the state level and the schools. If districts aren’t going to be funded, then we need to put in a contingency plan.”

She said she sees ahead days of 35 students or more in a classroom and with larger class sizes comes additional problems with classroom management.

“I think we need to have leadership training in place for future problems our teaching staffs may face,” Bills said. “We are seeing a ripple effect as so many teachers are leaving the classroom, taking early retirement or just not going into education.”

Bills added, “It is almost like our hands are tied. We might need to accept the fact that money may not be coming and start thinking more systematically.”

As to district growth, Bills said, “We have done so much with little. We’re going to have to be creative and innovative with expenditures. The first thing we will have to do is cut personnel. When positions become open they won’t be filled. We will have to identify the fat and cut more fat.”

Bills said in education the mindset is always implementing something.

“Common Core in theory is not a bad idea,” Bills said. “We want to exceed standards. Although, none of the mandates have been funded, therefore, we must do more with less.”

Bills added something must be done to get more students to go into education.

“We need to get more teachers,” Bills said. “We have to tout our results. A quality system has to be a marketing piece. I believe people move to Edmond for the schools.

“Parents have the loudest voice of all,” Bills added. “With 10,500 voters in the district (4), 500 voted in the last election.”

Bills said she is aiming at non-registered voters to register and encouraging all voters to get out and vote.

Bills is married to Staff Sgt. Robert Bills. They have three children. One child graduated from Santa Fe High School and one currently attends Santa Fe. They also have a child at Charles Haskell Elementary.

1
Text Only
Local News
  • -1.jpg 5-year-old learns valuable lessons

    It is never too soon to learn about giving and receiving. An Edmond 5-year-old recently learned about both.
    Kendall Kingry will be entering kindergarten at Will Rogers Elementary this fall and she is already looking forward to November.
    “I get to go to Disneyland in November,” Kendall said.

    July 26, 2014 2 Photos

  • Edmond School District’s change orders anticipated

    When building new schools and classrooms there may be additional costs, but when renovating older buildings those costs can more than double, according to a Edmond School District official.
    “When remodeling, you have unknown and hidden costs and you need to include in your budgeted funds for the built-in items you can not see,” said Bret Towne, Edmond’s associate superintendent of general administration.

    July 25, 2014

  • OC welcomes missionary, military families

    For the ninth consecutive year Oklahoma Christian University will host missionary and military families returning to the United States at Global Reunion 2014.
    The July 23-27 camp has doubled in size in the last two years with 150 participants from 43 countries on campus.
    The camp is for children who are known as Third Culture Kids (TCKs) though parents are allowed to attend sessions as well. Directors Kent and Nancy Hartman, missionaries-in-residence at OC, give tools and resources to families that have lived outside the United States and are now seeking to reenter U.S. culture. The Hartmans spent more than 10 years as missionaries in Australia and were surprised by the challenges of reintegrating their family into America.

    July 25, 2014

  • Planning Commission approves rezoning

    The Edmond Planning Commission this week voted 4-0 in favor of rezoning from a single family district.  Peter and Kimberly Roberts made the request to allow a planned unit development on the southeast corner of Jackson and Lincoln Avenue, said Bob Schiermeyer, city planner.
    “They would like to have D-2 family (neighborhood commercial) zoning for duplexes, 14,000 square feet,” Schiermeyer said. “They can put four units on the property.”

    July 25, 2014

  • Out of the stressful wreckage: Scholarships for car crash victims

    After the dust has settled, the injuries have healed and there’s a replacement car in the driveway, victims of automobile accidents often still face an uphill battle trying to move on with their lives. According to psychologists, for some the fear never really goes away. It’s common enough that the National Institutes of Health gives physicians specific recommendations for patients exhibiting acute stress symptoms and PTSD after motor vehicle accidents. With more than 3 million injury accidents a year nationwide, the San Francisco Bay Area personal injury law firm Appel Law Firm LLP, sees their share of the aftermath — only they decided to do something about it.

    July 25, 2014

  • Agencies ask for volunteers to support grandparents who raise grandchildren

    Local law enforcement agencies are helping Sunbeam Family Services provide much-needed school supplies to grandparents who are faced with the challenge of raising their grandchildren. According to a recent census poll, there are nearly three million grandparents raising more than five million grandchildren in the United States.

    July 25, 2014

  • 7-26 YARD OF THE WEEK.jpg Ganns earn Yard of the Week honors

    This week’s “Edmond Yard of the Week” winner has been in existence for 44 years at 105 Barbara Drive, but looks fresh and new thanks to longtime residents Betty and Gordon Gann as they fill their garden spaces to overflowing with colors and textures.

    July 25, 2014 1 Photo

  • IMG_2996.JPG Krazy Daze hits downtown Edmond

    Newly transplanted Edmond residents Hannah Brenning, Cheyenne Middle School 8th grader; Jordan Brenning, Cross Timbers 4th grader; and Sydney Brenning, North High School freshman; check out the items in front of Sterling's in downtown Edmond during the Krazy Daze Sale lasting through Saturday. Businesses will open their doors at 10 a.m. and close at 5:30 p.m.

    July 25, 2014 1 Photo

  • MS_weather graphic 1.jpg Chances for rain to follow triple-digit highs

    Chances for rain on multiple days will follow near triple-digit highs during the weekend.
    A National Weather Service-issued heat advisory is in effect until 7 p.m. Saturday and afternoon temperatures are expected to top out in the upper 90s to lower 100s into the weekend. Maximum heat-index values will range from the upper 90s to 105-110 degrees through Sunday.
    Cooler weather is expected next week as a strong cold front passes over the region.

    July 25, 2014 1 Photo

  • Candidates disagree with White House’s minimum wage

    Gubernatorial candidate Joe Dorman, D-Rush Springs, said the state needs to have serious growth in high-paying living wage jobs that will provide for Oklahomans.
    Dorman cautioned that while Oklahoma’s jobless rate improved in June, the state’s rankings for the well-being of children has dropped from 36th to 39th place, for one of the largest declines in the U.S., according to the Annie E. Casey Foundation’s KIDS COUNT Project.
    The unemployment rate in June dropped to 4.5 percent, down a percentage point from 4.6 percent in May, according to the Oklahoma Employment Security Commission, Gov. Mary Fallin said this week.
    The state’s unemployment rate was more than 7 percent when Fallin was elected during the brink of the Great Depression. Alex Weintz, communications director for Fallin, pointed out that per capita income in Oklahoma was second in the nation from 2011 to 2013.
    The non partisan Congressional Budget office reported in February that raising the minimum wage could kill a half-million jobs in the United States.
    According to The Washington Times, CBO analysts reported, “Once the other changes in income were taken into account, families whose income would be below six times the poverty threshold under current law would see a small increase in income, on net, and families whose income would be higher under current law would see reductions in income, on net.”
    President Barack Obama in February signed an executive order to raise the minimum wage for federal contract workers to $10.10 an hour.
    Weintz said the governor believes tax cuts have enabled families to keep more of their money.
    No one is talking about the under-employment rate of families working minimum wage jobs, Dorman said.
    “It’s all fine and good when you have fast-food jobs that don’t cover the bills and that counts toward your unemployment rate.”
    Oklahoma’s minimum wage reflects the federal minimum wage set at $7.25 an hour, a standard set in 2009.
    Fallin signed legislation this year to prohibit municipalities from raising their local minimum wage above $7.25 an hour.
    “If the minimum wage goes up to $15 in Oklahoma City, all of the sudden you would drive retail, business, service industry locations outside of the city limits and that would be detrimental to the economy, consumers and to businesses,” Weintz said.
    Fallin has said that she opposes raising the minimum wage in Oklahoma because it would stifle job growth for small business and lay off workers. A lot of people earning the $7.25 minimum wage are part-time workers and many of them are students, Weintz said.
    “We believe raising the minimum wage is not a good way to address poverty,” Weintz said. “A lot of people earning the minimum wage are actually people living with their parents or other people who are employed full time, and in many cases they are middle class families. So it’s not a good tool to reduce poverty.”
    Dorman said he does not necessarily support the proposed $10.10 an hour minimum federal minimum wage that is being discussed by Congress.
    “I think we need to have a living wage in Oklahoma that is reflective of our economy,” Dorman said.
    About 102,300 jobs have been added in Oklahoma since Fallin took office in January 2011, according to her office.
    The cost of living in the national economy tends to be higher in some other states, Dorman said.
    So a minimum wage increase should be tied to economic gains so that families can pay their bills and afford to care for their children, Dorman said.
    Independent candidates for governor include Richard Prawdzienski of Edmond, Joe Sills of Oklahoma City and Kimberly Willis of Oklahoma City.

    July 24, 2014

Featured Ads
NDN Video
Big Weekend For Atlanta Braves In Cooperstown - @TheBuzzeronFox Chapter Two: Becoming a first-time director What's Got Jack Black Freaking Out at Comic-Con? Doctors Remove 232 Teeth From Teen's Mouth Bradley Cooper Explains His Voice in 'Guardians of the Galaxy' Deja vu: Another NYPD officer choke-holding a suspect 'Fifty Shades of Grey': Watch the Super Sexy First Trailer Now! Reports: Ravens RB Ray Rice Suspended For 1st 2 Games Of The Season Air Algerie plane with 119 on board missing over Mali Diamond Stone, Malik Newman, Josh Jackson and others showcase talent Free Arturo - The World's Saddest Polar Bear A Look Back at Batman On Film Through The Years LeBron James -- Dropped $2k On Cupcake Apology ... Proceeds To Benefit Charity Snoop Dogg Says He Smoked Weed at the White House Raw: Fight Breaks Out in Ukraine Parliament Chris Pratt Interrupts Interview To French Braid Intern's Hair Shirtless Super Mario Balotelli Dances While Ironing - @TheBuzzeronFOX Whoa! Watch "Housewives" Star Do the Unthinkable LeBron apologizes to neighbors with cupcakes Justin Bieber In Calvin Klein Underwear Shoot
Poll

If the Republican runoff for the 5th District congressional seat were today, which candidate would you vote for?

Patrice Douglas
Steve Russell
Undecided
     View Results