Special to The Sun
Deer Creek —
Before Deer Creek School District voters decide on a $5 million bond issue proposal in May, they will go to the polls Tuesday to select a new school board member.
Jerrod Roberts and Keri Shipley emerged as the top two vote-getters in the February school board election for the open Ward 3 seat, but neither earned more than 50 percent of the vote leading to a runoff election.
According to the Oklahoma County Election Board, out of the 640 votes cast in February, Roberts received 260 votes or 40.6 percent. Shipley received 232 votes or 36.3 percent, and the third candidate Tim Laubach received 148 votes or 23.1 percent.
Polls will be open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesday across the Deer Creek School District.
In October 2009, the voters approved a $142.1 million bond package designed to accommodate the increasing student population and address the age/unsuitability of various facilities throughout the district. Coupled with $10.5 million from a 2006 bond package designated for the construction of a second middle school, a total of $152.6 million was earmarked to be spent on 17 separate projects and items. Voters are asked to go to the polls May 14 to vote on a $5 million bond issue scheduled to help finish up the projects voted on in 2009.
Roberts agrees with board’s decisions
“As you know, Deer Creek has experienced a significant growth in students over recent years that created a challenge in providing the space needed to house and educate our students,” Jerrod Roberts said. “I am very confident all the school board’s decisions were made after much thought, consideration, debate and foresight utilizing the information available while also recognizing our current needs. I am fully confident the board (members) were, and are, good stewards with the bond money. I believe Deer Creek School District’s board and administration have created a campus that is the most beneficial for developing our students academically, athletically and socially.
“With the experience I’ve had developing a growing and thriving business, handling budgets along with building a new commercial building to house our pharmacy, I know I can be an asset to our district by being on the board and sharing these experiences.”
Roberts is the owner of Flourish Integrative Pharmacy in Oklahoma City.
Roberts said with two decades of business development and ownership, he is able to provide insight into making the tough decisions and analyzing the data associated.
“I founded a growing a business that now employs nearly 30 people and am currently in the process of building a new facility to house this business,” Roberts said.
“I have fund-raised, coached, supported and volunteered, but I have also balanced a budget, managed people and successfully navigated tough issues that demanded tough and fair decisions.
He said in his business operations he has faced tough issues that demanded tough and fair decisions. Roberts added all of the decisions he has made have equipped him with the experience to do what is in his heart to do: Identify and remove any roadblocks that might hinder the school system from realizing its full potential for the young people it serves, and provide educators, parents and administrators the tools to help every child succeed.
“One of the inherent challenges of the Deer Creek School District is managing the growth of its student population during the past several years,” Roberts said. “Deer Creek has been progressive at expanding its facilities to meet the demands of this growth while maintaining excellence in academics and athletics.”
He and his family have been residents in the Deer Creek community since 2003. He and his wife, Drenda, have three children, one of whom has graduated, and they have been active in many areas of the Deer Creek school system.
“That is the fun part of being a part of Deer Creek,” Roberts said. “We have had a great experience and opportunity to see our district grow at an incredible pace. It is obvious one of our inherent challenges is continuing to hold Deer Creek to the highest academic, fine arts and athletic standards while balancing the growth with available budgets.”
Roberts said he believes the school district could best benefit from his experience in running businesses for the past 15 years.
Shipley focuses on student achievement
Shipley said she was curious as to why the request for a bond was being made.
“However, I know I need to hear the information from the board since they are the ones who have the answers and base my decision on that information,” Shipley said. “To my knowledge it (the bond) was well researched and thought out. I believe this is hard to answer since I was not on the board during the planning process and not a part of any decision making.”
Shipley said since she was not a board member during the past three years she thinks the question of whether she would have suggested something be done prior to or during the past three years of construction was unfair to ask.
“Not knowing or having the information first-hand and how these decisions were made I cannot tell you what decisions and/or suggestions I would have made,” Shipley said. “I can tell you that I like having sound information before making decisions and/or suggestions.”
A stay-at-home mom, Shipley said she attends a number of board meetings each year.
She has been the PTO president at DCES and the PTO president at Deer Creek Middle School and served for two years as the Executive PTO president and for three years as the Creek Classic event coordinator.
“I have also volunteered as Home Room mom working in the classroom to help teachers, helped coordinate the Walk-A-Thon and auction, and with spirit wear design and sales. I also served on the re-districting committee in 2008 and have seen first-hand the growth in Deer Creek.
“I believe in the administrators, teachers, parents and students of Deer Creek, and I am very proud to be apart of the community,” Shipley said, “and I am also excited to see the growth and believe our students deserve the best education in Oklahoma.”
“One thing I have found to be true, is that you have to have all the information to determine the best answer. When looking at how our district has funded the projects/areas of our education system, I am confident with the current board that they have made the best decisions with the information and experience they have. Being a good steward of the money the residents of our district entrust us with will have to be a constant focus.”
Keri and her husband Kurt Shipley have two daughters who are currently attending Deer Creek schools, and she says she has a vested interest in making decisions that will benefit student growth, development and academic achievement.