MVBT School Board Questionnaires -- Eric Wells

Name: Eric Wells
Length of time in district: My wife and I first moved to Mountain View from Alabama in 2001.  After two years, we moved out of the district and then in 2017 moved back with our two children.
Connections to the district: My daughter, Reagan, is a junior and my son, Drayton, is a freshman at Liberty High School.  My wife, Shauna, is the building secretary at Liberty Middle School. 
Brief personal bio:  I grew up in Alabama and graduated from Auburn University with a degree in Finance.  I have worked in banking for the past 21 years.  My wife is originally from Mountain View, which is what brought us to the area in 2001.  We live on a small farm north of town which we purchased from the family after Shauna’s grandparents, Bob and Joyce McVicker, passed.
Why are you running for school board?  I have served on the school board for almost three years now.  When I was first approached about running for the board in 2020, I was told by numerous people that it was important that the board consist of individuals that do not have personal agendas.  I can honestly say my only agenda is working toward improving the schools in our district to provide the very best education we possibly can to our children.  There is always room for improvement, and I believe we are on the right track with our curriculum and have a strong administrative team in place to lead the district into a bright future.  We are continually working to improve our salary and benefits package to enable us to retain and attract the best educators in our area.  This is a work in progress, and I would like to be a part of continuing that work into the future.  
What do you believe is the role of a school board member in the Mountain View/Birch Tree district?  The role of the school board, as a whole, is to hire and provide guidance to the Superintendent, who runs the school district.  We, as a board, are to hold the Superintendent accountable for overseeing the education of our children in the district.  We approve school policy and the budget which are then managed by the Superintendent.  An individual board member may have differences of opinions from other board members and administration from time to time, but it is important for each of us to remember that once an issue is voted on and passed by a majority vote, we should each stand behind that decision.  In every decision made by the board there is always one question that we must keep in mind; what is best for the kids? 
Are you familiar with Missouri’s Sunshine Law? Yes
Do you have an existing relationship with any members of the school board or administration?  Over the past three years I have developed a professional working relationship with other board members as well as with the administrators in our district.
How well do you think the district keeps the community and parents informed with the work of the school board?  Over the past couple of years, I believe the school has done a much better job in communicating with the community through social media and our text/calling system.  This is an area where we have improved and are always looking for other ways to improve.  As always, I encourage the community to attend the school board meetings any time.  
What is your opinion of the district’s academic performance? What can be done to achieve accreditation?  The academic performance of our students has been and will remain the top priority of the district.  This is an area we must keep focusing on to continue improvement.  The goal of our administration, with the support of the board, is to both retain and attract the very best educators for our children and provide them with the support and tools they need to achieve the goal of increasing the academic performance of each child in our school district.  As far as the second question, the Mountain View-Birch Tree RIII School District is accredited by the Missouri Department of Elementary & Secondary Education. 
Do you believe the district prepares graduating seniors for college? Yes, but as stated above, this is an area we must keep focusing on to always be improving.  Our teaching staff must continually push our students to apply themselves and strive for excellence.  
For careers that do not require a college degree? Yes. I would love to see our district be in a position to offer more programs on campus, rather than having to bus students to West Plains for some offerings.  While I do think the South Central Career Center is a great asset to have so close to our district, it would be nice to offer more skills training classes here in our school.   
What is your plan to evaluate the effectiveness or success of the four-day school week?  This is something the administration and school board will be continually evaluating.  I think it could take a few years before we are able to gauge its effectiveness.  We will have to pay close attention to attendance and test scores to evaluate whether the four-day week is having any effect on our kids’ performance.   
What is your opinion of the district’s employee pay scale?  There have been many improvements to the pay scale over the last several years and this is an issue the board continues to discuss.  As stated above, we want to be in a position to retain and attract the very best educators in the area.  While pay is not the only factor involved in that decision, it does obviously play a large role in an individual’s decision for employment.  I would like to see us continue to look for ways to increase the pay scale, but in doing so, we must be careful not to obligate future expenditures without the guarantee of future revenue.   
On athletics, do you feel all sports programs are valued equally in the district? Would you be in favor of plans to add or subtract any programs?  I do feel that all sports programs and extracurricular activities are valued equally by the administration and school board in our district.  Obviously, some sports may be more popular with individual community members, but I have never felt that any program was valued above others in discussions between the board and administration. 
I am always in favor of having discussions, as a board, involving our sports programs and whether a program should be added or subtracted.  If there are enough kids interested in playing any sport and we have someone qualified to coach that sport, then I would be in favor of offering that program to our students.  It is my desire for our district to offer as many options for sports and other extracurricular activities to our students as possible.    
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