Dickman wants what’s best for staff, students

SIDNEY — Five candidates, which includes two incumbents and three newcomers, are seeking election to the two seats on the Sidney City School District’s Board of Education. Voters will go to the polls Nov. 2 to decide who will serve on the board for the next four years.

Seeking seats are incumbents LindaMeininger and Jason Schaffner and newcomers Zach Bosslet, Greg Dickman and Douglas Jackson.

The Sidney Daily News sent questions to each candidate. One candidate — in alphabetical order — will be profiled daily for the next five days in the newspaper.

Greg Dickman, of Sidney, is a 1997 graduate of Sidney High School and a graduate of Urbana University with a Bachelors Degree in Business He and his wife, Michelle, have two children, a daughter, 14, who is a freshman at Sidney High School, and a son, 12, who is a seventh grader at Sidney Middle School.

This is the first he has sought an elected position. He is t human resources coordinator and director of safety at Slagle Mechanical Contractors.

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

“I made the decision to run for several reasons. One specific reason is I was heavily involved in the school levy in May and helped lead the Get Out The Vote Campaign to help with the passage of the levy. I don’t want to be responsible for just helping pass the levy. I also want to be responsible for helping make sure the money generated from the levy is being spent responsibly on everything needed to run the district in a safe and efficient manner.”

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

“I have skin in the game… I am born and raised in Sidney. My wife and I both graduated from Sidney High and both of our children are current students in the district. We live in Sidney. We work in Sidney. I am not running for the school board because I have an agenda against a certain administrator or because someone I know wasn’t treated fairly by the district. I’m the best candidate for the Sidney City School Board because I want to help make decisions that are in the best interest of the students, parents, guardians, staff, faculty, administrators and taxpayers of the district.”

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

“It is no secret that some of the building still in use in the district are aging. In the short-term, preventative maintenance on those buildings and their internal equipment is the answer. Long term the district has a bond issue maturing in 2028 that was used to build the Middle School and B.O.E. Building. Renewing or reissuing that bond at no added cost to the local tax payers could give the district the option to build a new elementary school or schools in the future with the support of the residents in the district.”

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?

“The issue of new funding for the district was addressed with the passage of the income tax levy in May. New development, like the one currently happening on the north side of Russell Road, should attract new residents and tax payers to the district which will also provide additional funding. Adding new business’s and creating new jobs are also ways to increase revenue. Having a strong school district supported by the community is very important when trying to attract new businesses and residents to Sidney.”

What are the strengths of the district?

“Sidney City Schools is blessed with great administrators, faculty, staff, and students. There are a number of different academic pathways students can choose from as they work towards graduation. There are an extraordinary number of extracurricular activities available to students being led by great coaches and advisers. Additionally, there are things that go on behind the scenes that the general public are never made aware of when employees and/or students of the district are going above and beyond to make a positive difference in students’ lives.”

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

“If there is one area of weakness where I feel the district can show improvement it is the transparency of why certain decisions are made. When the district makes a decision, popular or unpopular, everyone is aware of what the decision is. Unfortunately, sometimes there isn’t a complete explanation of why the decision has been made. When individuals don’t have all the facts or don’t understand the “why” it can cause controversy.”

How can you improve communication with school district residents?

“Other than being more transparent about decisions I’m not sure what else can be done to improve communication with residents of the district. If residents are communicating (phone, email, etc.) with teachers or administrators in the district, I would certainly hope they are getting responses. If not, then this would be a significant area where communication would need to be improved.”

Bullying is a topic of concern for parents of students in the school district? How do you feel the problem should be addressed and handled?

“Bullying has been, and continues to be, a very hot topic within the school district. Currently, there is a task force in place that is focused on what the district should do to address the issue. The task force should be allowed to continue their process. When the task force is complete an action plan on how to address or respond to bullying should be developed, adopted and followed by all employees throughout the district.”

How do you think the district should be changed to improve its relationship with the community?

First, this again goes back to transparency. Being more transparent about why issues and decisions being made. Secondly, when someone does have a question or concern, whether that be a phone call or an email to a teacher, a principal, an administrator or made during a statement at a board meeting, that person deserves to have those questions or concerns answered in an honest and timely manner.

Additional comments

The decision to run for the Sidney City School Board was not an easy one to make and not one I take lightly. I understand I am opening myself and my family to potential criticism over decisions that have to be made and that is something we have accepted. As I mentioned earlier, I am not running because I have an agenda. I am running because I want to help make decisions that are in the best interest of the students, parents, guardians, staff, faculty, administrators and taxpayers of the district. I would appreciate your vote on Nov. 2.