Nine names will appear on the Sept. 8 ballot in the race for four open seats on the Keokuk School Board. One of them, Tyler McGhghy, said he brings the right mix of experience and enthusiasm to the board.
McGhghy is no stranger to the school board, having served for eight years before being defeated two years ago. He said his time away from the board has only strengthened his desire to serve the community.
"I remain passionate about our school district," said McGhghy. "It was good to have two years off so I could take a step back and look from more of a citizen point of view and see what is going on."
McGhghy said what he has seen is that the district's greatest strength is the attitude and learning environment throughout each building.
"I think the environment has been more conducive to learning," said McGhghy. "It gives kids a feeling of belonging and that it is a safe environment for learning. There are also positive relationships being formed between teachers and students, which to me is the #1 key to [getting] an education."
By contrast, McGhghy said the biggest challenge facing Keokuk is funding. He said the district has to find a way to keep schools running despite increased costs and declining enrollment. One way to do that could be to hire a grant writer to help the district qualify for more state and federal funding.
"I propose the idea of looking at someone who is proficient in grant writing and maybe pay them a stipend to do that," said McGhghy. "Or maybe pay them a percentage to do that."
McGhghy said the district also needs to keep more students from open enrolling out of Keokuk.
He said his experience is critical because dozens of years of service could be leaving the board. He said a good board member has experience, knowledge, and an understanding of what the board's role is.
McGhghy said he has mixed feelings about Keokuk sharing employees with other districts. He said when it comes to the budget, one of his top priorities would be to keep the district's curriculum updated to meet the needs of today's educational system.