New school board member aims for efficiency

December 03, 1996


Staff Writer

Edwin Hayes knows his new job as a member of the Washington County Board of Education requires a major time commitment.

But he'd like to keep that time to a minimum by striving for an operation that is as efficient as possible.

"I'm into quality not quantity," said Hayes, 42, who will be sworn on to the school board today along with Andrew R. Humphreys. "I'm willing to devote the time, if it's quality time, because I work, I have a young family."


Hayes said he plans to pitch one idea for streamlining school board meetings - holding additional work sessions during off weeks for the school board.

"I'd like to see that broken up a bit," said Hayes, a Williamsport farmer and agricultural industry consultant. "Break it down into smaller bites so you can spend more quality time, the in-depth time you need on certain items. I think it would be much more effective."

It will also give school board employees, parents and community members more time for input into the decision-making process, he said.

Hayes said he also supports the school board's push to expand the board from five to seven members to allow for more committee functions.

"A lot of times, with these committees and task forces, it's not so much what they say but how they say it," said Hayes, who thinks board member participation on committees would help boost efficiency in the decision-making process.

While he'll bring his own ideas and style to the board, Hayes said he knows he has a lot to learn.

"You've got to get a feeling for what's happening," he said. "The only way you do that is get into it. As far as making wide-sweeping changes, I don't see myself doing that. But I won't be afraid to speak up."

It takes a unified effort to make real progress, said Hayes, who said his goal isn't to squeak his agenda through by a 3-to-2 vote.

"Our goal is to come to common ground, establish that and go forward," Hayes said. "We need to come to agreement on philosophy and direction."

Hayes, who has two children at Fountain Rock Elementary School, said his top priority will be to look into the language arts program at the elementary school level.

"I'm very concerned with the third-grade test scores," said Hayes, who suspects a weakness in reading is to blame. "We're not working as hard as we need to on the reading side of it."

While he's not a proponent of the "whole language" system used in county schools, Hayes said he doesn't necessarily disagree with all of it.

"I think, as a system, we need to look at a more uniform approach to it," said Hayes, who favors more emphasis on phonics and spelling at all schools.

Hayes' said he supports the current board's plan to have a curriculum audit done to make sure the "essential curriculum" the school board adopted is being taught in all classrooms.

"I know it's money the board is going to have to spend," Hayes said. "I think we need that yardstick."

Hayes said he owes it to the community to make sure that the recommendations in the KPMG management audit report are not only implemented but that a checks-and-balance mechanism is in place to make sure policies are being followed on a timely basis.

Hayes and Humphreys will been sworn in with a private ceremony today to comply with state law. A public ceremony will be held at 4 p.m. Dec. 9 at the board office.

The job pays $3,500 a year for school board members, $3,600 for the school board president.

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