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Candidates vow to work for students, district taxpayers

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By Vince Luecke

Incumbent, two others seeking seats on Perry Central School Board

PERRY COUNTY - Three candidates are seeking two seats on the Perry Central Community School Board in the May 6 election. Incumbent board member Kevin Etienne is running for a second four-year term. Tim Edwards and Carl "Joe" Flamion are also seeking seats.

Etienne, 46, resides at 15122 Oriole Road, Leopold. He has been employed by the Indiana Department of Transportation for 24 years, 18 of those as a mechanic-maintenance supervisor. He is currently supervisor of INDOT's Chrisney unit and previously worked four years at Waupaca Foundry.

Etienne said he is proud of progress the school district has provided to ensure a safe environment for students and teachers. A new policy allows dogs to be brought into the school to search for illegal drugs, he said, and new surveillance cameras have been installed.

"While being on the school board the past four years, I have been involved with the students, the hiring process and the budget," Etienne said. "I have spoken to students in the business classes. With both the school system and INDOT, I deal with the public, budgets and make management decisions every day."

Etienne said he has also worked to secure a school budget that meets needs while ensuring a good learning environment.

The incumbent said he will continue to represent residents well. "If re-elected, I will continue to speak for the people of the Perry Central community. I will continue to make every effort to make sure we have a safe environment for our students to receive a good education. I also want to continue to ensure we hire a qualified teaching staff and see that we have a balanced budget so that our school system gets every advantage for the students. I will continue to work with and for our children and our community, along with our school system."

Etienne and his wife, Stacey, are the parents of three children. He is secretary of the school board, fire chief for the Central Perry Volunteer Fire Department, a member of the Perry County Rescue Squad, a first responder and an EMT. He serves as an EMT for Perry Central football games and is president of the Branchville Conservation Club.

Joseph Flamion

Carl "Joseph" Flamion, 61, resides at 12454 Indiana 145 in St. Marks and has been employed at Perry Central High School for nearly 27 years. He previously worked in the home-construction field.

Flamion said his hands-on experience with the school will serve the district and its students and residents well if elected.

"I have been a part of the Perry Central Community School Corp. since 1981 and have gained tremendous firsthand knowledge regarding the daily activities within the system," he said. "Also, serving on boards in our community has taught me how to work as a team and make key decisions that benefit the majority."

Flamion said it's important to find ways for schools to become more energy efficient and promote school safety. Ensuring careful spending of taxpayers' money is also crucial, he added.

"It is vital that we search for energy-saving techniques within our school system. We must strive to maintain our school as efficiently as possible. We must continue to provide our students a safe and friendly environment to come to each day," he said. "Finally, it is imperative that we manage our spending and see to it that the most pressing needs are accounted for."

Flamion said it's also important for county leaders to improve job opportunities for young people after graduation. "We need to keep our work force in our county instead of losing them to neighboring counties."

Flamion and his wife, Millie, have three children. He is a past president of Tell City Jaycees and the Perry County 4-H Board of Directors and served on the Tell City Schweizer Fest Board. He has been a member of the Central Perry Fire Department and the Perry County Rescue Squad. He currently sits on the board of directors for the Perry County Emergency Management Agency.

Timothy Edwards

Balancing school needs with available funding will be an important job faced by members of the school board, candidate Timothy Edwards said. The 38-year-old resides at 18752 Leopold-Oriole Road and has worked 17 years for Gabe Mehringer Plumbing Inc. as a service technician and estimator.

"Funding for the school system will be a huge issue," he said. "With the changes in the tax laws, it's going to be a challenge to balance academic, athletic and other financial issues with the reduced funding."

Another important goal of school administrators and board members, he said, is "keeping the school a safe place to learn" and to continue offering students top-quality educational opportunities.

Edwards said he looks forward to working with the public.

"I've always had positive experiences dealing with the public in my career activities and with coaching sports," he said. "Whether it's financial or other obstacles, I will always look at all sides to make the best possible decision for Perry Central. I believe that I can bring an open mind and knowledge of the issues to the board. I'm looking forward to the opportunity, if elected, to serve on the school board and to do what is right for the Perry Central community."

Edwards and his wife, Dena, have two children and he has been a member of the Perry Central Little League Board for three years and coached Little League for seven years. He has coached elementary basketball for three years.

The two school-board candidates who receive the most votes will win four-year seats on the five-person board. District bylaws limit to two the number of board members who reside in any one of the corporation's three districts.

However, since all the three of the board members elected two years ago, and not up for re-election until 2010, reside in separate districts, the two candidates receiving the largest number of votes will win. In some years, residency rules affected the outcome of elections.

Board member Charlie Etienne is stepping down from the board this year after serving seven terms. He was first elected in 1980.