The Commercial-News, Danville, IL

October 25, 2012

Three seek Attica school board seats


ATTICA, Ind. — Three candidates are running for two seats in the city of Attica for the Attica School Board.

Running are longtime board member Jerome Mattern, Christopher Gayler and Darrin Spragg. Incumbent Michael Wrighthouse is unopposed for the Logan Township seat.

Mattern and Spragg responded to a Commercial-News survey sent to all candidates in contested races.

"I (want to) give back to a community and school system that has been very good to my family," Spragg said. "I believe that serving the community as a school board member would be a great way to give back."

Mattern has been on the school board for 19 years.

"I am passionate about our students’ education and for the health of our community," he said. "The school corporation and the future of Attica are intertwined. I will draw on my experience I have gained over the past 19 years as a school board trustee as well as my education as a teacher, career counselor and individual/family counselor to make good decisions."

Mattern said that recent legislative and Department of Education rules have sharpened the competition between private and public schools while cutting funding to the Attica School Corporation.

"New evaluation strategies, reductions in bargaining rights and years of belt tightening have impacted staff morale," he said. "We must step up our efforts to create opportunities for our children that allow them to compete. Our corporation is creating a culture to benefit staff and students alike. Our high school laptop initiative allows access to classes beyond our building. We support vocational courses that prepare students for good paying jobs. And we make the most of our funding, replenishing our reserves while taking care of our staff and investing in our facilities."

Spragg said the biggest issues are Indiana’s new teacher evaluation law and ongoing changes in the school’s budget guidelines.

"Implementing a (teacher evaluation) system that works will be a huge task," he said. "It’s not only the aspect of making them fair and effective, but finding the right people and time to do them. We need to discover what our teachers need to help our students succeed. The rules are constantly changing as to how money is distributed to Attica schools from the state. I have over 15 years of management experience at Subaru of Indiana Automotive Inc. We constantly have to change our approach to stay competitive and profitable."

Mattern wants the school to be a valuable contributor for students and the community.

"Our vision is to create a school that combines brick and mortar facilities with online and special software opportunities to offer a wide range of classes."

Jerome L. Mattern

Age: 59

Address: Attica

Education: Graduate of Shenandoah (Iowa) High School and Drake University; additional courses at Purdue University and IUPUI

Employment: Purdue University Counseling and Psychological Services and private practice at Alpine Clinic

Previous political experience: Attica School Board member for 19 years


Darrin Spragg

Age: 47

Address: Attica

Education: Graduate of Fountain Central High School; will graduate in May 2013 with an associate degree in organizational leadership and supervision

Employment: Subaru of Indiana Automotive Inc., manufacturing section manager

Previous political experience: None