Incumbent school board member faces challenge

Three Seymour Community School Corp. board of education seats are up for grabs in the Nov. 8 general election.

The Tribune sent questions to the candidates. This time around, we will introduce the two people vying to be the Redding Township representative, incumbent John Kelley and newcomer Carl Kuhlman.

Why did you decide to run for school board this year?

Kelley: I am running for the Seymour Community Schools board to give back a portion of what our school system has given to me. I have had several influential people in my life, from school board members, superintendents, administrators and teachers in the Seymour school system. Reflecting back on my life, I would like to continue impacting the children of Seymour and be a positive voice for the children.

Kuhlman: Seeing some of the different things that are being pushed out at schools in other districts has persuaded me to run for the school board in order to keep our school a place of education and not of indoctrination. We need all of us working together to help make our children’s futures even brighter than ours.

What makes you qualified to be on the school board?

Kelley: After serving eight years as a school board member, I feel I have the experience and knowledge of the systems and budgets to continue to make Seymour schools a better place for students, teachers and administrators. I have personal experience in facility maintenance and construction that make me a valuable asset to the current board.

Kuhlman: I was born and raised in Jackson County. I am a retired master sergeant from the Indiana Army National Guard. I have an associate degree from Vincennes University and a bachelor’s degree from Indiana University. I work for the U.S. Property and Fiscal Office of Purchasing and Contracting at Camp Atterbury. I am married, and my stepdaughter attends Seymour High School.

What do you feel you would bring to the school board if elected?

Kelley: I would continue to bring honesty, integrity, compassion and experience to the school board. I have a Bachelor of Science in construction technology (management) from Indiana State University. I was the director of real estate and facilities engineering with JayC Food Stores/Ruler Food Stores. I am currently a field operations manager for Royalty Companies of Indiana. My experience gives me needed insight into the building needs of our school corporation.

Kuhlman: A fresh perspective on issues, a calm, conservative approach to any problems that may arise.

What are the top three issues that need to be addressed by the school board? What would you do to help address them?

Kelley: Security. We have implemented additional security measures over the past eight years, and I feel this needs to continue as a high priority. Our buildings should be secure to ensure the safety of our children, teachers, aides, custodians, kitchen staff and administration staff. As a board, we have worked closely with our SROs and local law enforcement to continue to make improvements to our facilities.

Funding. Over the last eight years, we have invested $80 million in tax-neutral construction to create additional classrooms, instructional space and sports facility upgrades. Funding continues to be a daily challenge, and we are working to identify funding to help with the growth.

Growth. Seymour Community Schools enrollment has increased by over 1,000 students since 2014. We are continuing to plan for additional classroom and instructional space within our schools. Over the past four years, I have requested a plan that addresses issues like roof replacements and larger capital items that are needed to help with maintaining our school system. Mr. Harpe and Mr. Reasoner have assembled this plan that includes school expansions, roof replacements, HVAC replacements and other large ticket items.

Kuhlman: Teachers. We need to help our teachers be the best they can be. For Seymour schools to be the best, we need to hire the best teachers and keep the great teachers we currently have.

Safety. As a parent, I want to know when my child leaves for school, they will be as safe at school as she is at home with me. We need to work with the Seymour city police and make certain all is being done that can possibly be done in order to make that happen as reasonably possible.

Sexualization of our children. I believe this also falls under the safety aspect, as well. There seems to be a push to persuade children from elementary school through high school to express their sexualization. School is not the place for that. Home with the parents is where that should be addressed. At school, kids need to learn the things they will need to create a better future for themselves.

What would you do to ensure the corporation remains in good financial standing?

Kelley: I would continue to treat the corporation’s money as if it were my own money. My personal goal in my home is to diminish debt as quickly as possible. Therefore, I strive to do the same with the corporation’s money.

Kuhlman: Work with the other members of the school board, the administration and teachers to see what is happening and needs to be addressed, take a look at what options are available and move forward in a fiscally responsible way.

When it comes to school safety, are there any areas that need to be addressed in Seymour schools?

Kelley: Our school administration and SROs are continuing to identify the areas of concern and bringing them to the board. We have resolved several of these concerns and are presently working on them during the current renovation construction projects.

Kuhlman: Fortunately, we have not had any major incidents that have haunted other school districts. The Seymour city police have done and continue to do a great job in protecting our schools. Any areas that are brought up will need to be coordinated with the school board, administration, teachers and the police department.

Anything else you’d like to mention, feel free to share.

Kelley: I want our teachers to know they are appreciated, and I will strive to help them in any way I personally can. I understand teachers are charged with the task of educating students but also now are providing some of the students’ basic needs. I want to ensure our teachers, staff and students feel safe in their building.

Kelley file 

Name: John Kelley

Age: 52

Hometown: Seymour

Education: After graduating from Seymour High School in 1988, I attended Indiana State University and received my Bachelor of Science in construction technology (management).

Occupation: I worked at Jackson County REMC for six years in their member services and engineering departments. I went to work for JayC Food Stores (a division of Kroger Company) in 2001 and managed their maintenance for approximately three years. In December 2004, I accepted the position of director of real estate and facilities engineering with JayC Food Stores/Ruler Food Stores and held this position for 14 years. During this period, I managed leases, acquisitions, construction projects and maintenance for 75 locations over six states. In the fall of 2018, I joined Royalty Companies of Indiana as their field operations manager. I presently oversee the commercial roofing crews that perform work in 48 states and also manage 15 commercial properties across central and southern Indiana.

Kuhlman file 

Name: Carl J. Kuhlman

Age: 50

Hometown: Seymour

Education: Vincennes University (associate degree in conservation law enforcement); Indiana University (bachelor’s degree in general studies with a focus on law and government)

Occupation: Contract specialist for the Department of Army