The Commercial-News, Danville, IL

October 27, 2012

North Vermillion school board races attract candidates


CAYUGA, Ind. — Nine candidates seek a seat on the North Vermillion School Board, with six of them running for the Eugene Township seat.

Newcomer Mark Swingle is unopposed for a Highland Township seat.

Eugene Township

Ron Dunavan, Jason D. McLain, Terra D. Naylor, Amy Lynn Sheppard, April L. Starkey and John M. Yoho are running for the open seat in Eugene Township.

McLain, Naylor and Yoho responded to a Commercial-News survey sent to all contested candidates.

"I am running for the North Vermillion School Board because I am interested in seeing that our children have the tools and guidance needed to succeed in life," said McLain. "Education is my high priority."

Naylor cited a similar reason.

"I am a North Vermillion alumna and chose to stay in this area to raise my children so that they also could attend North Vermillion," she said. "I feel very rooted to the school and believe in everything that it stands for. I feel that I can be a positive influence in decision making for the corporation and help guide with high standards, morals and ethics."

Yoho said he wants to continue the efforts and dedication made by the previous school boards.

"(I want) to maintain North Vermillion’s reputation as a quality educational institution and a safe and secure facility for our children," he said.

Naylor said the biggest issue facing North Vermillion is the new evaluations for teachers.

"A few issues that North Vermillion is dealing with is the implementation of the RISE evaluations for teachers to be paid based on performance, advancing technology for every student as the use of textbooks is becoming a thing of the past, and making the elementary and high schools desirable so that enrollment does not decline since students can now choose where they want to go to school," she said. "As a board member, I could help support these issues through having a clear understanding of the corporation finances and making sure adequate funding is available for the technology plan and the future needs that will exist so our students are able to excel. I will vote on issues based upon what I feel is morally and ethically correct and in the best interest of the student body."

Yoho believes the board should be "managing the school corporation within a budget by cutting unnecessary spending and hiring quality and maintaining the quality of administrators, faculty and staff."

McLain said the biggest issue is finances.

"There needs to be a balance between academics and athletics," he said. "The education children receive will be the guide that determines what careers they will be able to pursue. I would be diligent about watching where North Vermillion invests time and finances. The economy is making it harder to stretch those dollars, but we should never short change our students when it comes to education. That would be my goal to strive to excel in academics."

None of the three favor consolidating, but sharing classes is a possibility.

"I believe we already have the facilities to utilize those courses at North Vermillion to share with our neighboring schools," Yoho said.

McLain agreed.

"I don’t see consolidation with neighboring districts in the future, but shared classes can be a way to better our education by allowing courses with shared cost," he said. "The North Vermillion School District needs to make sure our money is being used as best it can be to secure children’s educational goals."

Naylor said "due to the very rural location of North Vermillion, I do not foresee any consolidation in the future."

Vermillion Township

Longtime board member Larry Bemis is being challenged by Randy L. West for a Vermillion Township seat.

Bemis responded to a Commercial-News survey.

"(I am running) to continue the work to improve our educational system at North Vermillion and in Indiana in general," he said. "We must continue to improve our teaching staff, curriculum and maintain our buildings and facilities to provide the best education for our students, which is getting the most ‘bang for the buck’ for the taxpayers."

Bemis said the biggest issue is "a continuing decline in enrollment, resulting in lower state and federal dollars; the lack of adequate jobs and housing for families with children within our community; and the political push from the state to close down small schools and small school districts in favor of larger and farther from our home communities.

"We must work together to bring economic growth and development to the district, as well as improvements to infrastructure, to attract new business and industry and create a market for adequate housing development. Our school curriculum and staff continues to draw in students from other school districts to transfer to North Vermillion. Now we need to bring their parents along with them."

Bemis favors shared classes.

"We share many class offerings through our vocation co-op and the PVETI interlocal arrangements already. By working with other districts we can offer a wider variety of classes that a single school could not support alone. Cooperation between the neighboring school districts can hopefully avoid the need for consolidation."

Jason McLain

Age: 38

Address: Cayuga

Education: North Vermillion High School; Bachelor of Science degree from Indiana State University

Employment: International Paper, Cayuga

Previous political experience: None


Terra Naylor

Age: 36

Address: Cayuga

Education: North Vermillion High School; Bachelor of Exercise Science degree from Indiana State University; Master’s of Physical Therapy from the University of Findlay

Previous political experience: None


John Yoho

Age: 53

Education: 1977 graduate of North Vermillion High School; attended Indiana State University and Danville Area Community College; graduate of Indiana Law Enforcement Academy

Employment: Retired Vermillion County deputy sheriff

Previous political experience: None


Larry Bemis

Age: 55

Address: Newport

Education: Graduate of North Vermillion High School; Indiana State University majoring in journalism and broadcasting

Employment: Editor of the Parke County Sentinel

Previous political experience: North Vermillion School Board member since 1976