Edmond Board of Education candidates for Seat No. 2 met in a candidate forum sponsored by West Field Elementary’s Parent Teacher Organization Thursday evening.
Incumbent Kathleen Duncan and opponent Steve Roy fielded questions from area residents as Wendell Edwards, a reporter with KOCO-TV, served as moderator.
The board election will take place Feb. 14. Polls will be open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Winning the toss of the coin, Duncan went first in the forum.
Duncan said she believes her role as board member is to review board policy, prepare for the monthly board meetings by familiarizing herself with agenda items ahead of time in order to be able to make decisions that will affect the district, stay up with research, approve the budget and have oversight to make sure every dollar is spent wisely.
“Board members are also responsible for setting and reviewing board policy,” Duncan said.
She added board members are responsible for hiring the superintendent, who in turn answers to the board.
Duncan said she encourages her constituents to call her with their concerns so she can direct them where to go to get their questions answered.
Steve Roy said parents play an important role and positive, active parenting must take place in education.
He said he became aware of the importance of limitations of school board members to protect themselves and others including parents and teachers.
Roy added as with any corporation the CEO makes decisions for others to follow, and the one person the board is solely responsible for is the superintendent.
“The board must be careful to not subordinate his authority,” Roy said.
Duncan said the school district is in the business of building schools to keep up with Edmond’s ever-increasing population growth.
Roy agreed and added the biggest challenge facing the board in the next five years is the fact that the superintendent will be able to retire if he chooses as well as others in administrative capacities.
“My primary role is to have to educate myself as much as possible so as to be able to make the decisions necessary,” Roy said.
Duncan said Positive Behavior Intervention Strategies among other programs are being used in schools to prevent bullying and she added she would like to see more counselors hired.
Roy said bullying never really stops and parents need to teach coping skills and there are online programs available that can be purchased for parents or for use in the schools.
In district funding by the state, Duncan said Edmond gets cheated and she would like to see the funding policy corrected.
“Edmond is one of the most poorly funded districts, but one of the highest achieving when scores on tests are compared,” she said.
Roy said he would like to see the state government held accountable for the lottery promises made when the Oklahoma Lottery was put in place by voters.
Both candidates believe funding arts in education is critical for students and their development.
As far as finances, Roy said David Fraser was hired to do this job and he has expertise in this area.
Duncan said she is willing to listen to her constituents as to their ideas for saving money, and she would like to see an outside audit put in place.
“I am always open to ideas,” she said.
As for all three high schools renting the University of Central Oklahoma football field, Duncan said the rental costs keep going up and she hopes UCO will try to keep costs down in the future.
“If we did not have to build schools for the next few years that (building a district football field) might be something to consider,” Duncan said.
Roy said he would like to have football fields on all school sites in the future. He suggested that extra-curricular events where fees and admission were charged could help pay for some of the costs.
Roy earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in sociology from the University of Central Oklahoma. He is a self-employed owner of a commercial real estate company, N.C. Corff Partnership Ltd. He and his wife Kathy have two children, a son who is a senior at Santa Fe High School and a daughter who is a senior at Oklahoma State University.
Duncan, the incumbent, was a teacher as well as a middle and high school counselor in Tulsa and Tecumseh before earning her law degree at the University of Oklahoma. She served as an assistant district attorney in Oklahoma County before retiring. She and her husband Michael have three children who all attended Edmond schools.
Board of Education Seat No. 2 includes neighborhoods in the western section of the school district including Danforth Farms, Fenwick and Mulholland. It begins at the intersection of 15th Street and Kelly, extends north to Danforth then west to Santa Fe, continues north to one-half mile north of Covell, goes west to one-half mile past Pennsylvania, extends south to one-half mile south of Second Street, then continues west to Portland and south back to 15th Street.
Only residents of District 2 are eligible to vote in the election.