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Waddell ready to tackle challenges if elected to BOE

By JUDY SHERARD

jsherard@dailynews.net

Josh Waddell sees a long list of challenges -- budget cuts, space needs and dilapidated facilities facing the Hays USD 489 Board of Education.

The relationship between the board and administrators also isn't as strong as it could be.

"I don't think the administration knows what the board is thinking," he said.

He is one of five candidates for three seats on the board of education in the April 2 election.

The other candidates are Rich Kraemer, Danielle Robben, Lance Bickle and Kathleen Fischer.

Waddell admits he has a lot to learn about serving on the board, but he's ready to take on the task.

Since deciding to run for the board, he's talked to teachers, school board members and those in the community.

Teachers have voiced concerns about some proposed changes such as mandated evaluations.

"I believe in taking care of our educators," he said.

Keeping the lines of communication open is important, and he believes it's his obligation to let the community know what his opinion is and why.

Not everyone will agree on the issues, but he's willing to compromise.

There should be no surprises.

"If we (the board) want to do something in five or six years, let's say we want to do something in five or six years," Waddell said. "It seems too often I'm surprised (at a board action). I haven't heard about that. I don't like that, and I think when we're dealing in a system with taxpayers' money to make facilities improvements, I don't think we should have shock-and-awe value.

"The community should be just as informed as we are. I think we should make it a priority."

Waddell, a member of the facilities needs committee, thinks the group's recommendation should be given consideration, but it shouldn't be the only thing the board considers.

"The board has experience, too," he said.

In his discussions with teachers and those in the community, he asked if they were willing to have the district spend money.

"Most say yes, but they're not comfortable with how (it's been) spent in the past."

Waddell said he would support a bond issue, "but there has to be a plan."

Districting in elementary schools isn't a good idea.

"I don't like the idea of forcing people to go to one school," he said.

There are no bad schools in Hays, so when enrollment at one school is full, "they have options to go somewhere else," he said.

Waddell sees dissension between those involved in the school district's sports programs and those in the classrooms.

He doesn't think too much money is being spent on sports and not enough on others.

"Somehow the sports programs rally more support. I'm all about fundraisers for everything else or a plan in which you need this over the next couple of years, let's get it done. Let's make everything as good as we possibly can. If we do it efficiently, everybody should win in the end."

* * *

Josh Waddell grew up in Natoma and attended Plainville High School. He's the residential manager for Uhl Construction.

His wife is Tina, and he has three children, Ethan, 15, a Hays High student, Madelyn, a fifth-grader, and Wyatt, a second-grader, both at Roosevelt Elementary School.