Luther School District voters will choose a new school board member on February 11, 2020. The annual election is to fill the seat currently held by outgoing board member Ray Stanfield. Three candidates filed for the position – Kevin Boydston, Clint Rayburn and Jon Sanchez. According to school district officials, if one of the three candidates earns 50% plus one vote, he will win the seat. Otherwise, the top two vote-getters will have a run off on April 7.
In addition, at the April election, school district voters will pick between Brandon Rogers and Gerald McCauley, Sr., running to fill the unexpired term of a board member who resigned. Rogers was appointed to the seat in September by the four remaining school board members to serve until the next election.
The Luther Register thanks Boydston, Rayburn and Sanchez, candidates for the Feb. 11 election, for answering a candidate questionnaire and sharing photographs for readers for this first round of the 2020 Election Season.
Luther Register: Tell us about yourself including your education, occupation, family, children and life in Luther. (Share as much as you like).
Kevin Boydston: I was born and raised in Luther and graduated from Luther High School in 1997. I continued my studies at OSU-OKC University and obtained an Associate Degree in Municipal Fire Protection.
My grandparents and mother worked and retired from Luther schools.
I have been married to my wife Kelli for 7 years. Between the 2 of us we have 3 daughters. Our oldest is Hannah. Hannah graduated from Luther High School in 2017 and now attends UCO. She was active in the art and drama programs throughout high school. Our middle daughter is Carter. Carter is currently in the 8th grade at Luther Middle School. She plays basketball. And our youngest is Jasie and she is currently in Pre-K at Luther Elementary.
I have been in the fire service for 22 ½ years and currently serve as Fire Chief for a metro area fire department.
LR: Why are you running for the Luther Board of Education?
Kevin Boydston: I’m running for school board because I want to invest my time in Luther Public Schools and supporting the needs of our children and preparing them for life skills. I want to be part of the great leadership we have at Luther Schools and help meet the needs of our teachers and school staff.
LR: What experience might you have for the position?
Kevin Boydston: I have experience in life and safety along with Emergency Management which can be used in implementing safety procedures for our children in the event of an emergency. I also have managerial experience which can be used in my role as a board member. I’m one who will listen and see to understand both sides of situation.
LR: What are the biggest challenges facing the school district?
Kevin Boydston: Funding is always a huge challenge. Many of our teachers spend their hard earned money on classroom supplies to meet the needs of our children. Also recruiting and keeping good and caring teachers.
LR: What are the challenges facing public education?
Kevin Boydston: Again, funding is a challenge with school budgets in the public education system. Our state continues to lose teachers to other states for better paying jobs.
LR: What are the bright spots you see in the district?
Kevin Boydston: We have a great school system that is made up of our students, teachers, and leaders within our system. We have graduated many students from Luther who have been successful. We have great programs from sports, Ag, music, and trade school. We also have a large part of our community who believes and supports Luther Public Schools.
LR: What is your impression of LPS in terms of the following?
Enrollment: Continues to stay steady. We have the possibility for enrollment to increase as the turnpike loop is completed and brings in new families.
Academics: I believe our teachers and staff work very hard in preparing our students for a successful life after graduation.
Athletics: We have a strong athletic program with coaches and mentors who invest their time into our kids and work to build great sports programs within our schools.
Community Involvement: We have good community involvement within Luther. However, we still have room to grow in the this area. Our school and town leaders need to support each other. We are not opposing teams here. We should rely on each other in the development and growth of our community. We will build a stronger community faster if we are one team.
Faculty: I believe our schools are filled with some of the best faculty. We have a staff that dedicates their time to seeing our children receive the best care and education and want the very best for the kids.
Leadership: All of our principals and our superintendent have shown great leadership for Luther Public Schools. They are all strong examples for our children and leave a great impact.
Board governance: We currently have well educated members along with past members who have moved our school in a positive direction and will continue to do so.
LR: The district has not been able to pass a bond package in the last 3 tries beginning in 2015, and again twice in 2019. What are your thoughts about the school bond issue – why it has failed?
Keven Boydston: I believe part has been misinformation spread about the proposed projects. Also, there has been some mistrust from past superintendents and board members who are no longer with the school system and the dark cloud that continues to hang over us. We also have a large school district in which a large number of voters may not have any idea about the conditions and issues we have with current facilities.
LR: Do you have an opinion about the condition of the school buildings in relation to what the bond issues have been proposed – safe rooms, library, cafeteria, gym?
Keven Boydston: I believe the last two bond proposals have been justifiable. Each project benefited all students in our schools. The project were needs, not wants.
Safe rooms are a MUST for our children’s safety.
The library was to increase the safety of our children from tornados to intruders.
Cafeterias need to be updated to current codes and ensuring enough seating for all students to enjoy lunch.
The gym is outdated and without enough seating. ADA compliance is not met in our current gym. Restroom and locker room facilities are in poor condition. There is also a great need for more parking at the gym.
LR: If you support a bond issue, what are your thoughts on what can be done to get a super majority vote passage?
Kevin Boydston: Continue to get the word out to the public with our current needs. Keep the bond proposals affordable. Focus on holding public meetings in areas that had large numbers opposed to the bond. Provide pictures of current facilities proposed for improvements along with safety issues with current facilities.
LR: Should the school district try again on a bond issue? And if so, what projects should be emphasized?
Kevin Boydston: I fully support the need of another bond issue but would look at having two propositions.
First proposition would be adding safe rooms to the elementary and middle school. Also, a new cafeteria for the middle school and a remodel to bring the elementary cafeteria up to code along with added security to the elementary.
Proposition #2 would consist of a new basketball gym to meet ADA standards and current codes.
LR: What should voters know about you?
Kevin Boydston: Voters should know that I am 100% in the best interest of our students and school staff. Every decision I make will directly affect my kids. The safety of our kids will be my upmost interest. I will do my best to lead our school in the right direction to the best of my ability. I have a huge heart for Luther Schools and my town. I want to see our children, school, and town thrive and flourish.
LR: In you interpretation, what is the role of a local school board?
Kevin Boydston: The role of the school board is to oversee the direction and accountability of the school. The board is also policy makers. Ensure the safety of our students and make the best decisions for our children. And last but not least, listen to the needs of our school leaders, children, and community.
LR: As you have been campaigning, what are you hearing from other voters in the school district? And what are you telling them about your ideas?
Kevin Boydston: I have had people thank me for stepping up to take on such a huge responsibility. They have shown great support of me and trust I’m truly in it for our children. The ones who I have talked to fully support the ideas of a bond issue and the need to improve our schools. If elected, my first job is to attend training to learn more about the position. I will review current safety procedures in place to see if they need changed or modified. I want to study the safety of our current storm shelters at the Middle School and Elementary.
LR: Any parting thoughts?
Kevin Boydston: I just ask for voters to get out and vote on February 11th for who they feel would be the best asset for seat #5. No matter the outcome on the 11th, I will continue to do my part in meeting the needs of our children. “Once a Lion, ALWAYS a Lion”
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