Four vying for spots on Cove board

By Observer Upload May 06, 2013 10:50 am

by Kelly Black/For The Observer

COVE — Four candidates are competing for two positions on the Cove School Board.

Monica Hill and Scott Spears will vie for position number three. Hill is a registered nurse at Grande Ronde Hospital, and Spears is the chief financial officer for the Blue Mountain Recovery Center. Incumbent Tim DelCurto did not file for re-election.

Incumbent Brett Moore will be challenged by Vernon Rush for position number four. Moore is a civil engineer at Anderson Perry and Associates, and Rush is a retired banker.

Although Scott Spears has not served on a school board he has planned and performed financial audits for school districts in Union and Wallowa counties.

“I definitely know how a school budget works,” Spears said.

Spears chairs the Union Wallowa Baker Federal Credit Union board and served as a past president of the Oregon Hunters Association Union Wallowa chapter. 

Spears stays involved in school life in Cove by following the interests of his eighth grade son who participates in FFA, 4-H and sports.

If elected Spears would work toward 100 percent faculty participation in Family Link — the online academic tracking system used by Cove schools that allows parents to track the academic progress of their child. Spears likes the system but not all teachers participate.

“If you are trying to stay involved in your child’s education you need to know if an assignment is missing,” Spears said.

Spears would also focus on keeping the district Web and social media sites up to date with current information. Spears believes in frequent and transparent communication between the school board and the community. He would like to engage the district to pursue other revenue sources and even look at cost saving measures.

“It is a great town. It is a great school,” Spears said.

Hill moved into the area last summer with her family and enrolled four children into Cove Schools. She is eager to be involved.

“I am really passionate about education,” she said.

Hill was involved in the Fremont County, Idaho, school district, which saw a lot of budget cuts and eventually lost good teachers. Hill said this led to students becoming disinterested and other problems. If elected, Hill would work with the budget to keep good teachers.

Hill would also focus on helping students gain information about college opportunities and scholarships, including what they might qualify for and meeting deadlines.

“As a mother, I look for these opportunities for my kids,” said Hill. “I would like all students to have this awareness.”

She would like to see the percentage of students who go to college increase and wants all students to enjoy learning.

Rush views retirement as a time to give back to the community. 

“If you are going to be able to make a difference or help somebody, that is where I’d like to be,” said Rush.

Rush and his wife Sunny have five adult children and six grandchildren. He has a graduate degree in banking from the University of Wisconsin. He spent nearly 40 years in Anchorage, Alaska, working as a banker and mortgage broker. 

Over the years he sponsored various students. Rush would tell the student, “I’ll fund any after-school activity you’re interested in, but you have to get a 3.0 GPA.” 

If elected, Rush would work to bring more participation between schools and businesses that would help students gain job-ready skills. He would like to see students involved in work-study programs where they can learn skills that are transferable. 

Rush would also advocate for parental involvement in education. 

“I’ve always been interested in education,” said Rush.

Moore, the incumbent, has served on the school board for eight years and prior to that spent six years on the Cove School Board Budget Committee. 

“A priority for me is to make sure we’re providing the best education we can for each individual student to help them succeed when they leave Cove,” Moore said.

Moore and his wife Karen have six children that either attend or have graduated from Cove Schools. 

Helping all students meet their potential is a priority for Moore. 

“Every kid has talent and interests,” Moore said. “Our job is to prepare each individual student to be successful based on their individual talents and abilities.”

If re-elected, Moore will continue to work to set the policies, programs and structures of the school to allow staff to do their jobs in the best way possible.

“It is very rewarding to see kids accomplish things,” said Moore.  “There’s a satisfaction there.”