Greenwood candidates want to be part of maintaining excellence

The candidates running for a spot on the Greenwood Community Schools board want to continue the success of the district and help maintain enrollment, improve security and continue to transparently and efficiently manage taxpayers dollars.

Three candidates are seeking two spots on the school board. They are incumbent Mike Metzger and newcomers Brian Ford, a vice president at an insurance company, and Jay Arnold, a detective sergeant for Greenwood police.

The school board is in charge of funding and policies guiding the education of 4,000 students in six buildings across the district.

Metzger, who is in his first term on the board, said his top focus if re-elected would be maintaining enrollment in the school district, since all available land is developed and students aren’t enrolling in the district due to new homes being built. A second focus would be teacher pay, which has increased in recent years to make the school district more competitive.

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Maintaining and growing enrollment is key to success, Metzger said.

Ford is pleased with the direction and success of the school district, and said his top focus if elected would be the safety of students, securing future funding and getting the most for the taxpayers’ dollars and making all decisions in the best interest of children and teachers.

Arnold is pleased with the progress of the school district and, if elected, would work to monitor the budget, be transparent and improve safety and security, he said. That work is already being done, but he wants to be a greater part of it, he said.

"I want to be very involved in things that affect the school system," Arnold said.

Arnold has been a Greenwood police officer for 15 years, lived in the community for 22 years and is a veteran.

"Being part of the Greenwood community, it’s my duty to get involved," he said.

Ford graduated from Greenwood schools and wants to help improve what is already an exemplary school district. He’s been involved in after-school programs and coaching at the elementary and middle schools.

"I’m always looking for ways to continue to engage in the community," Ford said.

He said he brings a passion for Greenwood and its children, as well as a professional skill-set in applying strategic initiatives and managing a budget.

Metzger said he decided to run for school board as a natural evolution from his time on the Isom Elementary parent-teacher organization.

"I just grew this drive for making education better," Metzger said.

He’s also the president of the Central Nine Career Center board of directors and is passionate about vocational training.

Metzger is proud of the board’s decision to spend $42 million to improve Greenwood’s aging schools and build a new middle school and activities center. He’s played a positive role in the school district in the past four years, and is challenged to serve another term, he said.

Taxpayers got a lot for their dollars, and the activities center opens up practice space for sports and extracurricular activities year round, he said.

Ford said the new center was the final piece of the puzzle linking the schools with the community, and that coupled with the improvements to the other aging schools, the district is in good shape in regards to space.

"We’re right where we need to be for the size of our school district," Ford said.

Arnold doesn’t have any concerns about the condition or size of the school buildings, but wants to be involved and help with any future projects and the maintenance of the buildings, he said.

Metzger is pleased with the school district’s arrangement with Greenwood police to provide security in the schools and with the security at the entrances of the buildings. As a school board member, he learns of threats that are investigated and can do his part in talking to parents about the issues, he said.

Greenwood schools are headed in the right direction in terms of security, with a school resource officer program that has officers in the schools every day, Arnold said. He would examine the district’s security plans to see if he can offer ideas for how to make it even better, he said.

"You can never be too secure," he said.

Ford said he has seen the evolution of school security, and Greenwood has an environment where teachers put kids first, administrators are protecting everyone and students know to come forward.

Metzger is proud of Greenwood’s teachers, and said some of them are model educators who pay lunch bills for children because they care. His job as a school board member is to approve policies and finances and pave the way for teachers to do great work, removing obstacles to achievement, he said.

"I don’t want to hold them back in their ability to educate students," he said.

Ford is heavily involved in Greenwood athletics, but said as a school board member, academics comes first. He views extracurricular activities, sports and band as opportunities that enhance a child’s overall experience and rounds them out as future adults. He loves that Greenwood allows opportunities for students to be involved in many activities or teams.

Arnold said his job, if elected, would be to support the superintendent, students, schools, teachers and principals.

"When they need our help, I’ll help them," he said.

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Mike Metzger

Family: Wife Jennifer, two children

Education: Highland High School, Lincoln Christian University, Ivy Tech Community College

Employment: Control system specialist for United Technologies (automated logic)

Memberships: Chapter captain for All-Pro Dads, Greenwood Christian Church, Central Nine Career Center board of trustees

Previous political experience: Current member of Greenwood school board

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Jay Arnold

Family: Wife Dawn, one son

Education: Warren Central High School, Ivy Tech Community College

Employment: Detective sergeant at Greenwood police

Memberships: Tapestry Church, Jubilee Masonic Lodge 746, Johnson County Fraternal Order of Police

Military service: U.S. Navy from 1991 – 1995, Indiana Army National Guard from 1996-1998, U.S. Air Force from 1999-2004

Previous political experience: None

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Brian Ford

Family: Wife Jen, two children

Education: Greenwood  Community High School, Wabash College 

Employment: Second vice president for Traveler’s Insurance

Memberships: Community Church of Greenwood, vice president of Woodmen Touchdown Club, member of board for Greenwood Gators swim club

Previous political experience: None

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Greenwood school board: About the job

Duties: Approve the annual budget and construction projects, set policies for the school district, review the school superintendent

Term: Four years

Pay: $2,000 annual stipend, plus $100 per regular meeting and $62 for special meetings