Bickle sees many issues affecting Hays school district
By JUDY SHERARD
Since he decided to run for the Hays USD 489 Board of Education, Lance Bickle has been meeting with parents, administrators, teachers and board members.
Facilities needs, budget cuts and the Schools for Fair Funding lawsuit are some of the challenges the local board faces.
"No one thing sticks out more than another," he said.
He is one of five candidates for three seats on the board of education in Tuesday's election. The other candidates are Danielle Robben, Josh Waddell, Richard Kraemer and Kathleen Fischer.
In talking with staff and parents, he's found the same issue affects people differently.
"It's easy to sit back in an office and say this is the way I think it needs to be, but it's extremely important to talk to the people in the trenches -- whether it's the teachers or the students -- to see how they look at things, too."
He's attended meetings getting different views on issues from salaries to classroom sizes to school security.
Bickle is in the technology business and works with school districts on their technology needs.
"That gives me a leg up to get an idea of what works and what doesn't."
Long-term planning would help the district be more efficient and productive.
"Every school out there that we have in this district needs to have work done to it," Bickle said. "If we want to try to accomplish all of it, I think there's definitely bond issues that are going to have to be looked into."
The facilities needs committee gives the district another perspective. Having options is good for the decision making process.
The board should take the committee's recommendation into account when making planning decisions.
"No one person has all the answers," Bickle said.
Giving the public a voice in issues provides a "better opportunity to make a good decision."
In talking with those in the community, some have said too much money is being spent on sports, and others think there isn't enough being spent.
"Education should be first," Bickle said. "The public education system kids are our future."
It's also a good idea to have a diverse group on the school board.
"I don't know (if) I'd want to be a part of something where everybody agreed with everything," he said. "some of the best ideas and best suggestions come up when discussion is going back and forth."
Bickle said he doesn't know enough about districting to form an opinion, but "with the budget cuts, it's becoming more and more apparent we're going to have to do more with less."
Being the father of two young daughters affected his motivation to run for the board.
"I attended USD 489 as I grew up, and I can proudly say both my girls will do the same," Bickle said. "My girls are going to be coming through there, and you want to do the best for your kids you can. ... It became apparent to me if I can do something to help my kids, parents, teachers, if we can all work together, we can make things better."
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Lance Bickle, co-owner of Sicoir, is a Hays native who attended Hays USD 489 schools and Fort Hays State University.
He and his wife, Amanda, have two daughters, Alexis, 4, and Alayna, 1.