Ruhenstroth residents contend for School Board Area 6
Editor’s note: This is the second in a series of articles on the school board races.
In the race for Douglas County School Board Area 6, board vice president Tom Moore is facing neighbor Wayne Archer. Both men hail from Ruhenstroth.
n Moore, 51, is a professional engineer for the Nevada Department of Transportation. He was appointed to the school board in 2007 in the wake of trustee Connie Wennhold’s death, and was re-elected in 2008 to fulfill the rest of Wennhold’s term. If re-elected again, this would be Moore’s official second term.
Moore also serves on the Douglas County Parks & Recreation advisory board. His wife Carolyn is secretary to the district superintendent and board of trustees.
Moore said there were two reasons that made him file for re-election.
“The first is that when Connie passed away, no one stepped up in the community,” he said. “The second is that when it had to go to election two years go, again nobody stepped up. I got the impression no one wanted the job. A long story short, I want to finish my commitment to the community. I am largely concerned about the condition of the buildings. As an engineer, I want to see through the facilities master plan and the KIDS committee recommendations, as well as the achievement of our kids.”
Moore said he brings something different to the school board.
“I bring an area to the school board that has been lacking, and that gets back into the facilities area,” he said. “I think there is a correlation between achievement of students and the conditions in which they’re getting their education. I’m not trying to say we need the Taj Mahal, but our schools can’t be a dump either.”
When it comes to tight budgeting, Moore said that unfortunately, expenses are predominantly employee-related.
“Depending on the cuts that come down from the legislature, I think we’re facing tough decisions on classroom sizes and possible facility reductions,” he said. “I also think there needs to be some serious dialogue between the district office and the union leaders, to try to come up with a plan that is beneficial to both sides.”
In a budget crisis, Moore said he would look at reformulating classroom sizes before digging into career and technical education courses and gifted and talented programs.
“I don’t want to touch those two, but everything else would be on the table,” he said.
Moore said No Child Left Behind is not a fair assessment of Douglas County schools.
“I do think common assessments are extremely important between progression in grade levels and from site to site,” he said. “The problem is that district-to-district and state-to-state, we use different formats, so we’re comparing apples to oranges.”
Moore, who voted for SpringBoard, maintains his support of the program.
“In my opinion, SpringBoard gives us that common curriculum we need from grade to grade, the one thing that’s been lacking from the district,” he said. “The other thing I like about SpringBoard is that it still gives teachers the flexibility to incorporate some of the long-standing traditions so dear and near to them.”
n Archer, 60, is a retired banker of 33 years and a part-time marshal at Edgewood Golf Course during the summer. If elected, this would be his first public office.
“I have seen things that have happened with the school board the last couple of years, and I think I have a lot to offer,” he said. “I hope we don’t make some of the same mistakes in the past, as in spending tax-payers’ money in buying out a superintendent’s contract.”
Archer said he comes from a long line of teachers, but also has the policy and financial background to add value to the board.
“I believe I have a background that is in tune with the position,” he said. “The school board trustee is charged with creating and interpreting policy and procedure for the school district. My last 16 years of banking, I was auditing policy and procedures for the bank. The background’s there, and I have a financial background that would help with the budgeting.”
With budget cuts hanging over the next legislative session, Archer said a trustee would need to be able to look at the big picture and see where it makes sense to cut.
“I don’t believe we just start cutting and laying people off,” he said. “The entire picture is what we are going to have to look at. There are going to be budget cuts one way or the other regardless of what governor gets in. I’m not going to come with any preconceived notions of what we can and can’t do. I don’t have all the answers; nobody does. There needs to be consensus and balance with this board, and I think that’s what has been missing.”
Archer said consensus needs to involve not only board members, but staff members, parents, students and the greater community.
“Even if you don’t have kids in school, you’re still paying taxes,” he said. “The school board hasn’t strove for consensus among all individuals involved.”
Archer said Douglas County is doing all it can to achieve state and federal standards set by No Child Left Behind.
“Is there room for improvement? Yes, there always is,” he said. “No Child Left Behind is what we have right now, but I think there are other things out there that could better measure and serve our children.”
In contrast to his opponent, Archer does not support SpringBoard.
“From the consensus of teachers and staff, I believe it’s not the proper program,” he said. “The school board has kind of signed on with it. I’m still out on the verdict of that. I would need to obtain more information on SpringBoard in order to support it.”