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Forrest Plank

NAME: Forrest Plank

AGE: 38

SPOUSE’S NAME, IF APPLICABLE: Kelly Plank

What office are you seeking? NCCSC Inside Seat

What is your political affiliation? None

Why are you running for public office? I am seeking public office to be a balanced advocate for the students, faculty, and residents of New Castle. Ultimately, the success of the school corporation is directly tied to the success of the community. Being both a parent and a business manager in the community, I am vested in both the well-being of the school and community.

What is your education background? Masters of Business Administration from Indiana Wesleyan University and Bachelor of Science in Accounting from Indiana Wesleyan University

What experience do you have that lends itself to the office you seek? Being a father to a student, a spouse to an educational administrator, and a business manager in the New Castle community, I offer a diverse perspective to the school board. I bring to the corporation a different set of viewpoints by not being a tong-time resident, rather, by having been actively involved in two other school corporations prior to moving to New Castle. Through business experience, I understand the importance of working as a team to support a common vision. I am well-versed in goal setting, policy development, and budget processes.

If elected, what is your top priority? It is difficult to identify the “top priority” when there when so many education topics are deserving of attention. The long-term planning committee, which is comprised of community members and faculty, has been working towards recommendations for the curriculum, enrollment, facilities, finances, and organization of New Castle Community Schools. It should be the priority of the school board to understand the details of these recommendations and determine the path forward. The corporation footprint must be altered to meet changing enrollment. Attention must be given to the attraction and retention of highly qualified teachers. Most importantly, though, the curriculum must be well-balanced to ensure success for ALL students, both college-bound and vocation-bound alike.

What security measures that are not currently in place would you advocate? All schools need to be equipped with dual entry mechanisms. While all facilities currently have secured entry, in today’s society that is not enough. The general public should not have direct access to any facility without first having personal interaction with an individual in the school.

What are current school policies that you would like to see changed or added? Again, I must refer to the work of the long-term planning committee as this has the potential to impact multiple school policies, particularly around enrollment and facilities.

What strategies do you favor to face financial challenges? To maintain transparency with the taxpayers, as a board member I will communicate and collaborate with all stakeholders of the corporation. Financial challenges can be greatly reduced through the creation and adherence of long range financial plans by aligning revenues with expenditures. This includes maintaining a balanced budget, managing cash flows, and ensuring that reserves are in place.

How would you encourage community involvement in school business? Volunteering is a great way to encourage community involvement throughout the schools. The school corporation should partner with New Castle area businesses and organizations to engage volunteers to come in before, after, or during school for activities such as tutoring, mentoring, and in-class presentations. Since not all organizations have the capacity to support such activities, community involvement can also be fostered through sponsorship activities. As individuals become actively involved in the school, they are more apt to develop a vested interest in the well-being of the corporation.

How would you like to see curriculum improved? At the high school level, the school corporation must be prepared to support the requirements of Graduation Pathways. The development of project-based learning will challenge students to study local issues that encourages community involvement in school business as well as satisfy a portion of the Graduation Pathways requirements. With the continued addition of college level course offerings at the high school level, capable students must be given the opportunity to take high school offerings at the junior high level. By having this opportunity, students would be capable of taking an additional three to four college level classes throughout their high school years. At the elementary level, technology should be integrated into the classroom at the younger grade levels in an effort to engage the students to build a stronger level of understanding of the use of technology, build technological skills and develop digital citizenship at a younger age.

How do you make yourself accessible to citizens? I maintain availability via phone, email, and social media. Additionally, I can be found attending many school functions.