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School Board Candidates Speak at Chamber Forum at Old World Deli

Last Modified: 05/04/13
First Published: 05/03/13
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Comments: 2 Views: 2732

Thursday evening the Corvallis Chamber of Commerce, Executive Director Kevin Dwyer, conducted a public forum for the candidates seeking a seat on the Board of Directors for the Corvallis School District. The Old World Deli was the venue for this candidate forum which began at 5 pm. First a thank you to Chamber Executive Director Kevin Dwyer for his leadership in putting together this unique format. In addition a thank you goes to Ted Cox owner of Old World Deli for the use of his business.

The candidates are: Position #1 on the Corvallis School Board, Bill Kemper and Craig Allen; Position #4 Al Hutchinson, Vincent Adams, & Nicolas Ortiz; Position #5 Tom Sauret (unopposed).

Corvallis Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Kevin Dwyer acted as moderator. Each candidate was afforded the opportunity to share information about themselves and why they were seeking a seat on the Corvallis School Board.

Tom Sauret, Vice Chair, of the Corvallis School Board is running unopposed. Sauret retired, worked at NASA. He reminded everyone that it was important to check the box on the ballot by his name even though he did not have a challenger. Sauret talked about the "All day Kindergarten....demographics have changed". In response to a question about budgets and what might be cut, Sauret related something a boss told him at NASA some years ago about cuts, "Nothing would be cut, we would work better, faster, smarter and cheaper." Prescient perhaps in what needs to happen locally.

Bill Kemper, retired from Hewlett Packard, was just recently appointed to the vacant seat formerly held by Matt Donohue who was recently installed as a Circuit Court Judge in Benton County. Kemper and Craig Allen are both vying for Position #1.  Craig Allen stated he was concerned about measurement standards in the Corvallis School system. Allen spoke of a student taking high school ninth grade courses in the eighth grade and not receiving credit. Craig Allen was in favor of the "three R's and Science". Allen, responding to a question on what he would or would not cut stated, "I would do away with sports....millions were spent on the football stadium at Corvallis high School."

Meanwhile Bill Kemper opined that he had "trouble chasing a number" referring to the no child left behind measurement criteria. Kemper has three adult children, all teachers. This fact was instrumental in his wanting to get involved and seeking this position on the Corvallis School Board. Bill Kemper in responding to what he would or would not cut in order to balance the budget, "I hate the idea of pulling anything off!"

The candidates for Position #4 Hutchinson, Ortiz & Adams expressed different points of view on what they thought the future should look like and what should be done about sustainable budgets and changes to core curriculum. Nicolas Ortiz, a practicing Attorney in Corvallis, spoke of possible consolidation of some schools for efficiency in saving operating dollars. Ortiz stated, "If you do not have the money, you do not have the money, that is the bottom line." Ortiz also had experience with getting more parents involved in the Parent Teacher Organization at Lincoln School. Ortiz thinks this is essential to improving overall graduation rates and improving students' performance. Ortiz made the point that "We need to engage a larger percentage of Hispanics in this community."

Al Hutchinson, local Auto Dealer and candidate for position #4, was in favor of establishing a "Guest Lecture Bureau" in order to have a pool of the local business people available to supplement teachers from time to time. Hutchinson was also "In favor of building new housing in south town and between Corvallis & Philomath." This was a response to a question about consistently declining enrollment over the past decade. Al Hutchinson in responding to the same question on declining enrollment stated, "Declining enrollment is partially due to the snobbish elitist attitude that exists in this community."

Vincent Adams, third candidate for position #4, was also in favor of "Forcing  OSU students to live in on campus housing." This response was also a result of the diminishing availability of housing due to OSU student housing reducing inventory, raising home prices and forcing families to live elsewhere. Additionally Adams was in favor of seeking ways to improve graduation rates.

In closing remarks all of the candidates were in favor of improving graduation rates, seeking a sustainable budget and making Corvallis a more affordable community for young families.

Moderator Kevin Dwyer concluded the forum at 7 pm and thanked the candidates for their participation and thanked audience members for attending.

Sat May 04, 2013 12:00 pm
Name: Karen Poole Comment: had no notice that this forum was scheduled. received my ballot in the mail today. Where can I get more information on the candidates?

Sat May 04, 2013 5:45 pm
Name: Charles Simmons Comment: There is a school board candidate forum on Tuesday evening at 6 pm I think at the firehouse on Walnut.

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