Rebecca Seyller School Board Candidate

by Dawn Teer

In addition to the Candidate Forum that was presented by the Stuttgart Chamber of Commerce and Southeast Arkansas Broadcasters, the DeWitt Era-Enterprise wanted to help inform the public about the candidates. After putting together several questions, they were submitted to all candidates.

1. Please list your name and the ward you are running for.
Rebecca Seyller Ward 3

2. What made you want to throw your hat in?
I really care about education, learning, and improving our community. I know I would do the work necessary to be a valuable member of our school board. I can listen, and I like to solve problems. I believe in equity and education for all.

3. How do you feel you can move our school board forward?
I am a good listener. I can hear a problem and want to help. When board members actively go out to see what is happening in our district, and actually lay eyes on the problem, then they really can understand what is needed to be discussed, researched, and investigated to better solve problems, or make changes. I am willing to do this.

4. What do you feel are issues facing the school district? How do you propose to help solve them?
Student services and learning for all need to be reviewed and improved upon. We have some students who struggle greatly and need something more than they are getting in the classroom. This is not saying that their teacher is not teaching them. It is hard to teach students with such a wide range of abilities and experience within the time restrictions of the day. Teachers teach, then they go around and assist students with the application of what was just taught. Not all kids learn at the same rate or understand as quickly. If a student is falling behind, then the teacher address' that, but it can be hard with the time restrictions, and the number of students who have a greater need for individual assistance in learning, to get the students all to mastery.

I think there are many smaller districts similar to ours, and if we look at which ones are achieving and creating a positive culture in their schools, then maybe we could implement similar programs.  But I don't think we need to change everything. We have a lot of great teachers, staff, and programs already. I think we need to identify what we can change right away, research what works, ask for teacher and stakeholder feedback, and do what we can to make those changes.

Teacher and administration recruitment. What attracts a candidate or a potential new hire to accept a position at any employer? Job requirements/expectations, salary, or pay rate, hours, atmosphere, facilities, benefits, and current employee satisfaction rates. I think we can make some changes in our "attractiveness" to new hires by making our district competitive with our competition (Other districts surrounding us). By improving pay, atmosphere, and facilities we can expect more interest in potential hires, and improve our retention rate. 

5. What do you feel is the responsibility of the school board?

To follow through with the duties listed below, with care and diligence:
6-13-620. Powers and duties.

Understand and oversee school district finances required by law to ensure alignment with the school district's academic and facility needs and goals, including without limitation:
(A) Reviewing, adopting, and publishing the school district's budget;
(B) Overseeing and monitoring the school district finances, including:
(i) Revenues;
(ii) Expenditures;
(iii) Investments;
(iv) Debts;
(v) Obligations;
(vi) Inventory; and
(vii) Real property;
(C) Borrowing money as necessary, but in no case shall the school board of directors permit the school district to end the fiscal year with a negative legal balance;
(D) Entering into contracts for goods and services necessary to operate the school district;
(E) Buying, selling, renting, and leasing real property and personal property on behalf of the school district;
(F) Receiving, reviewing, and approving each annual financial audit report and presenting it to the public;
(7) Ensure that:
(A) Necessary and sufficient facilities are built or obtained, furnished, and maintained; and
(B) All properties belonging to the district are managed and maintained for the benefit of the school district;

6. What strengths will you bring to the board, if elected?

Approve the selection of curriculum and ensure that students are offered and taught the courses of study and educational content required by the State Board of Education;
Visit district schools and classrooms when students are present no less than annually and attend some events and functions;
Obtain the training and professional development necessary to serve as active and informed members of the school board of directors; and
Do all other things necessary and lawful for the conduct of efficient free public schools in the school district.
The board of directors of each school district in the state is charged with the following powers and required to perform the following duties in order to provide no less than a general, suitable, and efficient system of free public schools:
(1) Attend meetings of the school board;
(2) Determine the mission and direction of the school district;
(3) Adhere to state and federal laws governing public schools;
(4) Enact, enforce, and obey school district policies;
(5) (A) Employ staff, including:
(i)  (a) A superintendent of schools to oversee the day-to-day operations of the school district.
(b) A superintendent shall be evaluated annually or no less often than prior to any extension of his or her employment contract.
(c) Superintendents and assistant superintendents may be employed under contract terms and conditions that incorporate all elements prescribed by the State Board of Education; and
(ii) (a) School district employees under initial written employment contracts in the form prescribed by the State Board of Education, not including day-to-day substitutes.
(b) The employment contract shall:
(1) State the duration of employment, specific duties of the employee and the annual salary or hourly wage of the employee and projected annual earnings in the case of nonexempt employees under applicable state and federal law; and
(2) Incorporate all personnel policies adopted by June 30 to be in effect on July 1 of the following employee contract year, subject to the requirements and exceptions contained in 6-17-204 and 6-17-205.
(B) Copies of initial written employment contracts and renewed written employment contracts issued in accordance with 6-17-1506 and 6-17-1703 shall be distributed as follows:
(i) One (1) copy to be given to the employee;
(ii) One (1) copy to be retained by the school board of directors; and
(iii) One (1) copy to be retained by the school district's treasurer or bookkeeper;

7. Do you have children in the district? If so, where do they attend?
I have 5 children ages 16 through 21 years old. Two graduated, WHEW! and did attend Stuttgart Public Schools. One is graduating this year from SHS, Go Ella! The two youngest are still attending SHS! Go kiddos! Go Birds!

8. Can you be fair to all children?
I think I am fair. I have lived, taught, and raised my kids by the following: Fair is getting what you need, not what everyone else has!

9. What strengths will you bring to the board, if elected?
My strengths are hard working, loyal, a team player, honest, and empathetic.

10. Can you set personal feelings aside and work for the district as a whole?
I can put my personal feelings aside if it is for the betterment of a situation or decision. I will always work for the district with my best intentions.

Why should voters elect you?
You should elect me for Zone 3 school board because I am committed to our district and community's excellence, I care, I will do the work, and I will listen. 

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