By Beth Christian Broschart
The Parsons Advocate
PARSONS – Dr. Eddie Campbell, superintendent of Tucker County Schools, received a very positive evaluation as announced by the Tucker County BOE during Monday’s meeting. Campbell said he was pleased with his evaluation and he also shared his vision for the upcoming 2016 to 2017 school year.
“Dr. Campbell meets or exceeds all performance standards set forth in our evaluation instrument,” Tucker BOE President Janet Preston said. “We are pleased with his overall performance and the positive impact it has had on Tucker County Schools. We especially appreciate his involvement in both school and community activities. We will continue to challenge him to move our schools forward.”
Campbell said the most exciting things they are looking at are the changes being made at Tucker County High School.
“There is a lot of preparation that has gone those things and that will all come to fruition when we open school back up in the fall,” Campbell said. “That is everything from the upgrades to the air conditioning at TCHS so it will be comfortable throughout to the curricular changes with the Innovation Zone and the implementation of the STEAM Program and the changes to the schedule.”
TCHS will be on a block schedule beginning in the fall.
“We are all looking forward to seeing how those changes turn out for us,” Campbell said. “The TCHS staff has spent a lot of time over the past two years preparing for these things to be implemented. Now it’s time to put the rubber to the road and see how they go.”
Campbell said they are not looking at any major changes for the elementary and middle schools.
“We are looking to piggy back a little bit on some of the things the high school is doing related to the STEAM Program,” Campbell said. “We are starting to look at a couple of grant opportunities that would include the elementary and middle schools so that they can focus and concentration on STEAM as well with the idea we want those kids to be prepared when they transition to the high school.”
Campbell said the elementary and middle school students will concentrate more on science, technology, engineering, art and mathematics so they will be more familiar with those subject areas when they get ready to go to the high school.
Another area Campbell talked about was structuring the Tucker County Schools budget for the upcoming year.
“Our budget is real simple to manage from the standpoint that we have learned to do a lot with very little,” Campbell said. “We don’t get supplemental income and revenues are not going up for us. So, again, we will take a cut in state aid, and that has gone down for us.”
Campbell said the key to the school system’s success is picking the budget apart and looking for areas to make needed cutbacks. He said there were no more options to cut personnel because they are on formula.
“We look at every possible line item,” Campbell said. “We look at our federal program monies and how we can re-allocate them to assist the general fund.”
He said there just is not a lot of room in the budget to cut anything else.
“We have been cutting for five years and there just isn’t a lot left to cut out,” he said. “One of the things that has benefited us is that we have taken a conservative approach to the budget for the last five years. That has enabled us to build up our carryover funds to where we were able to come up with the matching funds for an SBA grant to do the work on the HVAC system at the high school.”
Campbell said the school system had to dip into the carryover this year to be able to balance the budget.
“It was not nearly as much as what it could have been – it is not nearly as catastrophic as it could have been had we not been so conservative over these last five years,” Campbell said. “We will continue with that approach. Our employees are good about that. They understand we have to take a conservative approach. We don’t do anything extra but we do a real good job doing the things that we need to do and that we are required to do with the funding we have. That is the story of our budget.”
Sports in Tucker County Schools have been a highlight for many years. Campbell said sport is another great example of what the community does with limited resources.
“There is a true love for athletics, sports and extracurricular programs in this county and our parents and community have a true understanding that we can’t do the things we do and continue to do them simply relying on the school board to be able to finance those programs,” Campbell said. “The fundraising outreach, the community outreach, whether it be donations or purchases through the fundraising programs, plus the support at our gates and our concession stands – they continue to allow us to grow and be able to not have to cut back on those types of things. That enables us continue to have those positive experiences for our kids available.”
Campbell said it boils down to the community support of the extracurricular activities and our athletic programs.
“If that was not there, I do not think you would see us being as successful as we have been able to be,” Campbell said.
The next meeting of the Tucker County Board of Education meeting is slated for 4:30 p.m. June 20 at the Tucker County Board of Education in Parsons.