Three seek RV Board of Education seat

Three area residents are seeking election to position seven on the Royal Valley Board of Education. 

Cindy Broxterman

Cindy Broxterman, who previously served on the USD 337 Board of Education for six years, is seeking election to position seven (at-large) on the board this spring. Broxterman will face Liz Long and Barbara Walder-Hittle in the April 7 election.

Broxterman, 45, lives in Hoyt and held the position six seat on the board from 2005 to 2013.

“We are at a critical point in our state as far as education funding, and I would like to be a part of deciding how it will affect USD 337, its students and patrons,” Broxterman said.

She graduated from Stockton High School in Stockton and received a bachelor of arts degree in computer information systems from Washburn University. From 1989 to 1996 she worked for Payless Shoesource, and then was a stay at home mom from 1996 to 2010. She has worked at Jackson County Rural Water District #1 in Hoyt since September 2010.

She and her husband, Steve, have four children and she’s lived in Jackson County for almost 23 years.

If elected, Broxterman said she would work with other board members and administration to determine the best way to spend the district’s money. 

“I also want to keep an open dialogue with our local legislators and make sure they know how USD 337 is affected by the decisions they make,” she said.

As a previous school board member, Broxterman said she understands school budgets.

“I would like to make sure the students of Royal Valley receive the best education possible with the resources available,” she said.

She said the district needs to continue to focus on its students and their education in spite of recent budget cuts.

“We need to use the resources we have to provide the best possible education keeping in mind the local taxpayer,” she said. “We also need to let our local legislators know how the budget cuts affect our district and community.”

Broxterman has served as a religious education teacher for three years and has volunteered with the Royal Valley Recreation Association for nine years. She is a current member of the Royal Valley Booster Club.

Liz Long

Liz Long, 43, Mayetta, is running for the position seven at-large seat on the Royal Valley USD 337 Board of Education in the April 7 election. Long will face Cindy Broxterman and Barbara Walder-Hittle.

This is Long’s first time seeking public office.

“I have a strong belief in public service and want to continue to use my talents in the community I care most about,” Long said. “I hope to support our school district in its continued development of our already strong commitment to quality education for our children.”

Long works for the Kansas Department of Health and Environment’s department of health care finance. She is a reporting manager for KanCare Medicaid program.

She graduated from Oskaloosa High School and received her bachelor’s degree in psychology with a minor in human development from The University of Kansas. She will receive her master’s degree in public administration from KU in May. 

She previously worked for the Kansas Department of Aging and Disability managing reporting for disability programs, as well as Social and Rehabilitative Services. Long also operated her own case management agency for individuals with developmental disabilities.

“I will work with the board, staff and community to find ways to educate our children at the level where they are at in order to become well-rounded productive citizens,” she said. “Our community benefits when we work together to ensure all children are valued equally and provided a quality education. We all want the next generation to be healthy, productive and safe. I will also work to visit with legislators and stakeholders to help them understand the importance of the dollars the state provides our district. I also want to listen to our community concerning the state’s budget cuts and how they affect our school district.”

Long has volunteered with the Parent Teacher Organization for five years, the RVES site council for two years and the RVMS site council for one year.

“Through these experiences I’ve learned about what parents want for their children, the hard work of teachers and the supportive nature of our community,” she said. “We worked together to develop a science fair that doubled in participation in two years. I know that happens because of the work of everyone. My education in public administration adds a bag of tools to understand the budgeting process, building bridges and working together. My work experiences with the state have given me opportunities to see the legislative process in action and this will be an asset during the many school funding conversations at the state.”

In light of recent budget cuts at the state level, Long said that school members need to fully understand how the cuts affect the district and to create a plan to address them.

“It is the responsibility of the board to communicate how the proposed cuts may affect our district,” she said. “Given my experience working with the Legislature, I know elected leaders will listen to their districts, and they need to hear from citizens. We want Royal Valley students to be as best prepared to succeed as citizens and future workers. Our educators need every tool available to assist with that goal – and one of those tools may be our community members contacting our local legislators.”

Long has lived in Jackson County for 13 years. She and her husband, Robert “Tux”, have two sons, who are in fourth and fifth grades at Royal Valley.

She is a member and board president for Mayetta Methodist Church. She is a past foster care parent and a past board member for therapeutic horseback riding of Lawrence. 

Barbara Walder-Hittle

Barbara Walder-Hittle, Mayetta, is seeking position seven on the Royal Valley Board of Education in the spring election. She is running against Cindy Broxterman and Liz Long.

Walder-Hittle was born in Jackson County and has lived in the Mayetta area since 1978. She and her husband, William, are both Royal Valley High School graduates. They have two children (ages eight and 10). 

“I am very concerned about the future of our district, as well as other districts due to the state budget crisis,” Walder-Hittle said. “The governor has cut the district’s current year budget, as well as $400,000 (so far) from the 2015-2016 school year budget. This will undoubtedly change the way our district does business. I want to make sure our children’s education doesn’t suffer.”

She is a certified public manager through The University of Kansas program. She has worked at Denison State Bank in Hoyt as a customer service representative since August 2013.

She previously worked for the state of Kansas for 24 years, serving in the Department of Revenue in the income tax department, Board of Emergency Medical Services certifying emergency medical personnel and then into the accounting department, Department of Administration as an accounting auditor and Department of Social and Rehabilitation Services as the assistant director of accounting and administrative operations.  

“I left state employment in 2012 and was lucky enough to be able to stay home with our two children for a year prior to our youngest starting kindergarten,” she said. “I treasure that time I was able to spend with them.” 

She has been an appointed member of the Prairie Band Potawatomi Planning Commission since 1994 and was instrumental in its creation. She is also a board member for the Royal Valley Recreational Club and is involved with the Hoyt Livewires 4-H Club. This is her first time seeking a school board position.

“I am interested in looking at the bottom line when it comes to the operation of our district,” she said. “There will definitely be changes, and I believe there are areas that would have less educational impact than others. We must decide what is most important. No one wants to pay more taxes, and I highly doubt we will be seeing any increases to school budgets in the next four years.”

Walder-Hittle said that the district’s greatest expense is salaries and wages.

“As more of our teachers (baby boomers) begin to retire, I can see us not filling those positions,” she said. “This will inevitably increase class size. We need to think outside the box and find ways to make our district more efficient with what we have. This may include networking teachers between districts and greater use of technology. I would also like to hear from people in our community about their thoughts and ideas.” 

She said her experience working for the state and her understanding of the budget and legislative processes qualify her for the school board.

“It puts me a step ahead when it comes to managing major budget cuts and making tough decisions,” she said. “I was born and raised here, and I understand the makeup of our community. I take great pride in this community and our richest resource - our children.”

In light of recent and future budget cuts, Walder-Hittle said that board members and administrators will have to get more creative.   

“I believe in our current leadership and what they have done in the past,” she said in regards to budget cuts. “However, this is a new ball game and a new era. I am afraid we are looking at reducing the workforce, which is much like what has happened across the state of Kansas. This will require our district to do more with less, and we must become more efficient with what we have. Networking with other districts and pulling strengths together while utilizing technology could be one answer.”

The Holton Recorder

109 W. Fourth St.
Holton, KS 66436
Phone: 785-364-3141

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