SIDNEY — William “Bill” Ankney is a former board member of the Sidney City Schools Board of Education. He served two terms on the board before deciding to not seek re-election two years ago. He is currently a member of the Upper valley Career Center Board of Education. He is one of six vanddiates seeking three seats on the board of education on the Nov. 5 ballot.
Ankney, 2020 N. Main Ave., is a Piqua High School and photography school graduate. He is the occupation plant manager at Shaffer Metal Fab in Sidney.
He and his wife, Donna, who is a retired Sidney City Schools teacher, have two children. Daughter Brienne, a Sidney and University of Toledo graduate, is married, living in Napoleon, Ohio, and has three children. Their son, Derke, a Sidney and John Carroll and Urbana University graduate, is married and has one son. He lives, teaches and coaches in Katy, Texas.
He also served on the New Choices board.
Why are you running for Sidney City Schools Board of Education?
“Several reasons. First, I am currently finishing my last term on the UVCC board and I would like to maintain that connection through the Sidney Schools Board. Legally I can do that without a direct connection but I would prefer this approach. Second, not knowing what the incumbents were doing regarding their own seats at the time while making up my mind and knowing the history of struggling to get people to run for the board it seemed like the thing to do and finally, I sense there may be issues coming down the road that I may be able to help work through. “
Why do you feel you’re the best candidate to serve on the board?
“I wouldn’t tag myself or any other person as ‘the best’ candidate. I will say that I have previous experience on this board and especially during tough times. I feel that I can be a positive part of the team and provide that past background experience, especially if there is an influx of new members during this election cycle. “
How do you address the concerns about the aging buildings in the district?
“Tough question! The solution is simple; money! I can feel the heat already just typing that response and I understand it; more tax money and we are not exactly a high-wage town with a lot of folks with extra money in their pockets. But once you get past the anger and everything attached to a tax discussion and look at the reality of our situation, there is no other good long term answer. The tough part after the money answer is how will it be spent; a new consolidated building or renovate old ones? “Funding for the district is always concern since state funding changes from year to year.
Funding for the district is always concern since state funding changes from year to year. How do you bring new money/funding to the district and address the projected 5-year forecast for the district?
“I can think of one ‘new’ way; Sidney needs to grow! Meaning housing starts that make our population grow. As I understand it, we are stagnant in that area and have been for a long time. New population/housing growth would generate new tax money. Otherwise we are stuck in the same revenue generating stream we have been using for decades. So, either the State needs to add more money to their fixed-income funding formula they use on the schools or we are left on our own to stumble through the tax levy battles we are constantly fighting.”
What are the strengths of the district?
“While the ridiculous methodology of the State score card doesn’t reflect it, we have a great school system! We are blessed with many, many excellent teachers and staff and our kids and families that want a great education do in fact get it in Sidney. There are many good examples of success stories and academic achievement that effectively debunk the perception of the terrible State scores if people just knew about it!”
What are the weaknesses of the district? How do you improve the weaknesses?
“There is no single answer but in my mind the greatest weakness of the District has been the inhabitants of the District and the effects of the terrible scores on the report card. We are a nice little town of blue collar, hard working people mixed with a fair amount of people that can’t afford the value of good schools. After the State changed a couple of tax rules since the mid-eighties, we have gone from what the State considered a “wealthy” district to an economically “poor” district. In a very simplistic answer to improve some of the weaknesses, we need to grow the district in population with professional-type jobs that stay in Sidney and improve the scores to foster that growth.”
How can you improve communication with school district residents?
“The District has come a long way in that area but as is the case in everything we do, we need to continue seeking other avenues to get the word out. I honestly don’t have a great idea to offer. We have expanded our digital communications and continue to push all that it encompasses and it helps greatly. Tiffany does a great job there and the entire district works towards that end. The paper has been super in their support of the 3 school systems in town but in all honesty, that medium is declining all the time and it doesn’t reach as many people as it used to, I think. We have to keep plugging away and research with the real-estate people and the HR managers at the companies around town to see what we are missing. That being said, the district staff has been doing just that and I heard it mentioned again in a recent Chamber of Commerce after hours meeting last week.”
“I would like to see us get more of our kids into the Career Center and give them a chance to make a better life for themselves. We send fewer kids to the UVCC than most of the other participating districts and that is pretty embarrassing. I feel we need to improve the education of the kids’ parents to know the options their kids really have past high school. The Work Force Academy is a great investment by the Business Community in that regard for the kids but I wonder if the parents know the significance of that option? “
Reach the writer at 937-538-4822.