Smith seeks re-election to Sidney BOE


By Melanie Speicher - mspeicher@sidneydailynews.com



A look at the candidates

Six candidates are vying for three seats on the Sidney City Schools Board of Education on the Nov. 5 General Election ballot.

Each of six candidates will be featured in alphabetical order in the Sidney Daily News:

Oct. 23: Bill Ankney

Oct. 24: Mandi Croft

Oct. 25: Chip Hix

Oct. 26: Michele Lott

Oct. 29: John Scheu

Today: Robert “Bob” Smith

SIDNEY — Incumbent Robert “Bob” Smith is seeking re-election to the Sidney City Schools Board of Education.

Smith, 1226 Turner Drive, Sidney, has been a member of the board of education since 2014. He is currently the board president. A 1987 graduate of Sidney High School, Smith received a Bachelor of Science Degree in Applied Science in Systems Analysis from Miami University in 1991. He is the Data Lifecycle Lead at Crown Equipment Corporation. He and his wife, Kendra Krouskop-Smith, are the parents of two children, Morgan Smith and Aidan Smith. His wife is a kindergarten teacher at Piqua City Schools. Morgan is attending California State University, Long Beach where she’s working on her bachelor’s degree in Spanish with a teaching license. Aidan is attending Miami University where he’s working on his bachelor’s degree in Software Engineering.

Following are the responses to questions posed to each candidate concerning their desire and qualifications to fill a board of education seat.

Why are you running for Sidney City Schools Board of Education?

“We’ve recently changed the district’s leadership, we’ve restructured our buildings, and we’ve brought pre-school within the district. I’m asking the community for four more years to provide support for these changes. In addition, I want to continue giving back to this district. The education I received in Sidney City Schools was not only a large factor of my success in college, but was an important part of my path out of poverty. Serving on the Board of Education allows me to help repay those who educated me (‘87), my wife (‘88), my daughter (‘13) and my son (‘19).”

Why do you feel you’re the best candidate to serve on the board?

“My college degree and my professional career are really about solving problems. I bring a background of working with numbers and data, asking questions, and trying to find root causes for issues. As a board member I will continue to ask questions and look for solutions. I also believe in doing what is right, not just what’s easy. Finally, I believe in the importance of quality public education. As a board member, I will continue my focus on our district providing the best possible education to our students.”

How do you address the concerns about the aging buildings in the district?

“It is true that the district has buildings which are older and which sometimes hinder our ability to educate students. For example, they are not wired to support the increasing amount of technology employed in education, and they are not air-conditioned which causes early dismissals when the weather is too hot. With that said, the district is attempting to address a negative five-year forecast. Until the district’s finances are balanced, our buildings must continue in a “maintain” mode.”

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?

“Districts are limited in funding options. Those options are state and federal funding, grants, and the money collected as a result of levies. While the district must look at ways to increase our funding, we also must continue to look at ways we can reduce expenses without negatively impacting our ability to educate students. Since Mr. (Bob) Humble has been our superintendent, those reductions have been about $1.2 million annually. As a member of the board, I will continue to work with the superintendent and treasurer on both the district’s income and expenses to address our five-year forecast.”

What are the strengths of the district?

“Sidney City Schools has amazing students and fantastic staff. If someone only looked at our state report card, they would miss Sidney’s Academia team which has not only won the Shelby County League for the past ten straight years, but has also been nationally ranked. They would not see our district’s many winners of the American Legion’s Americanism and Government Test. They would miss the successes of our music programs and many of our sports teams. They would also not see our many devoted teachers and administrators who give their best for our students every single day.”

What are the weaknesses of the district? How do you improve the weaknesses?

“Sidney is not a wealthy community. Study after study concludes the same — the largest indicator of a district academic success is the wealth/funding of that district. This, however, does not mean Sidney cannot succeed or that we cannot do better. We must continue spending money where it will make the largest positive impact. This also means we must continually look for ways to trim costs where those reductions will not negatively impact our ability to educate. Our desire to be fiscally responsible while delivering quality education is why you’re seeing so many changes in the district right now. “

How can you improve communication with school district residents?

“I believe Mr. Humble does a great job responding to questions and concerns from the community. As there is always room for improvement, one of the items the board has discussed with the superintendent is emulating Mayor Mike Barhorst and having Mr. Humble contribute periodic “district happenings” articles to the newspaper. Additionally, the Board of Education meets on the third Monday of each month and we always provide time for public participation; this time is specifically set aside to hear the community’s concerns and thoughts.”

In conclusion:

“Mr. Humble and your Board of Education have been making a lot of changes to improve the district and the quality of education we provide. These changes are also designed to help balance the district’s budget. While these changes will take time and may cause some stress in the community, there cannot be improvement without change. There are candidates who will take this district backward, and there are candidates who will continue to move the district forward. Please support the candidates who will work to move this district we love forward.”

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By Melanie Speicher

mspeicher@sidneydailynews.com

A look at the candidates

Six candidates are vying for three seats on the Sidney City Schools Board of Education on the Nov. 5 General Election ballot.

Each of six candidates will be featured in alphabetical order in the Sidney Daily News:

Oct. 23: Bill Ankney

Oct. 24: Mandi Croft

Oct. 25: Chip Hix

Oct. 26: Michele Lott

Oct. 29: John Scheu

Today: Robert “Bob” Smith

Reach the writer at 937-538-4822.

Reach the writer at 937-538-4822.