The race for the contested seat on the Brookings-Harbor School Board is a contest between a newcomer with bright ideas and a political veteran who stands by his record.
Challenger Bill Ferry said its time for some new blood on the board.
I helped get the school bond passed and now that I have some political capital, I have the power to knock someone off the board who doesnt seem to be doing a good job anymore, Ferry said.
Incumbent school board member Tom Davis said he would stand for election on his record, both as a city councilor and school board member.
However, Davis said Ferry would also be a good choice for the board.
Bill is an intelligent man. We think differently but its a win-win situation for the board regardless of who gets elected, he said.
Brookings-Harbor citizens will decide who wins during the March 13 election. Ballots have already been mailed. The new board member will start in July.
The school board consists of five members who serve four-year terms. The board is responsible for establishing and enforcing district rules and policies.
Ferry, 54, has been a resident of Brookings for 10 years. Before that he lived in the Los Angeles area where he worked for a family business.
In Brookings, he has been a real estate agent and published a regional magazine called Compass and Calendar for more than two years. He is now a marketing and sales consultant.
Ferry and his wife, Elizabeth, have two daughters who are currently attending Brookings-Harbor High School. The couples son graduated from the high school in 1999 and is attending college.
Ferry entered the community spotlight two years ago as chairman of the school district budget committee and the citizen committee that designed last falls successful school bond issue. He has also served on the school districts budget committee and the Brookings sewer bond committee.
Ferry told this week that his goals are to watch over the bond issue spending, get parents more involved in schools, get more students involved in post-secondary education, and encourage teachers more.
There are a lot of involved parents, but I want to see more so groups like the PTA and Booster Club will come back, he said.
Ferry said he would like to see board members and teachers work together, starting at the kindergarten level, to make parents feel more welcome at the school and excited about their childrens education.
Kids do better at school when they receive motivation from their parents and a positive household, he said. My parents involvement was a lifelong commitment and it made a big difference.
Ferry also thinks the board can do a better job at encouraging and motivating teachers. There are many layers between the board and the teachers, and I want to reach across and let them know we support them, he said.
Ferry, however, said he did not want to micro-manage teachers and administrators.
Davis said Ferry would be a good choice for the school board, but was concerned his challengers goals were idealistic.
Board members are policy setters, Davis said. Its not my job to fix things, but to give people support and the tools to solve things themselves.
Davis, 58, moved to Brookings in 1984. He is divorced and his two children are students at Azalea Middle School.
Davis has served on the school board for four years. Before that he was Brookings Mayor from 1992-96; a city councilor from 1991-92; and served a a year on the citys Park and Recreation Commission.
Being a school board member, city councilor or mayor, youre a community cheerleader, a community advocate, he said.
Davis said he wanted to be a school board member so he could be more involved in the education of his and other peoples childrens.
Most recently, he has been helping parents of severely disabled children on ways to solve their concerns about inadequate educational services and safety issues in the special education classrooms.
Davis said he has a soft spot for disabled children because his mother spent 26 out of her 48 years as a public school teacher working with such students.
These children were walking through my house all the time, so I know what its like, he said.
As a board member, Davis said he has tackled some very critical issues in recent years.
Those issues, he said, include the closing of the high school campus and random drug testing of student athletes.
Weve made the most thoughtful decisions based on health and safety issues, Davis said. The community should be proud of what the board has done.
On drug testing, he said, I dont like it, but its worth it if it saves just one life.
As for closing the high school campus, he said, I think well find, in the long-term, some very good results.
Ferry also grudgingly endorsed drug testing. In light of all other alternatives, I think we have to live with this.
While Davis said he likes to deal with issues as they come before the board, Ferry said he will be focusing on more long-term issues.
My top priorities are to get the parents more involved and give teachers more support, Ferry said.
Davis said said his appearance at the League of Women Voters forum last week would be his only effort at winning re-election to a second term.
People who dont know me by now should vote for someone else, he said. I have the desire to serve and will continue to do so whether Im re-elected or not.