BENTONVILLE -- Becky Guthrie and Tim Rosenau will face off for the School Board Zone 4 seat.
Early voting starts Oct. 24. Election Day is Nov. 8.
The Bentonville School Board has seven members. Until this year, each member represented a specific zone of the School District; the board agreed to restructure itself so five positions are based on geographic zones and two are at-large. Residents therefore get to vote for their zone representative and for both of the at-large members when those seats come up for election.
Each of the five zoned seats are up for election this year. Once the board is seated after the November elections, members will draw a term length ranging from one to five years so their terms will be staggered. Board members normally serve five-year terms.
Zone 4 covers most of west and northwest Bentonville, starting at Walton Boulevard and extending as far west as Main Street in Centerton.
School board positions are nonpartisan and unpaid in Arkansas.
Guthrie said she is running for the board to give parents a voice on the board, to stand up for students and support teachers.
A teacher shortage is a problem the board must tackle, she said. She would like to evaluate policies that include personal and sick days, and find ways to reward teachers for their professionalism.
The biggest issue the district faces in the next five years is growth, she said.
"Families are coming here to raise their children, and students will continue to come to our schools," she said. "We must be planning and saving to provide for them. As we grow and welcome families to our district, we also must continue to grow the relationship between parents and our schools. Parents are our children's first teachers, and as a parent, I want to ensure my voice is heard. Parental involvement is crucial to the success of our schools."
Guthrie said district leadership has done a great job leading students the past several years. The success has started with the leadership, and credit should also be extended to teachers and students as well as parents, she said.
An area of frustration for Guthrie as a parent was the district's communication with families during the covid-19 crisis.
"I believe my perspective as a former teacher and parent of three students currently enrolled in our district will allow me to support teachers while fighting for all students and parents," she said.
Rosenau said he is running for the seat because he has developed a passion for the community and schools in the 16 years since he and his family moved to the city.
"I bring nearly 30 years of experience serving in leadership positions in which I have learned the importance of being a good listener and confident decision maker while holding myself accountable for the outcomes I influence," Rosenau said.
If elected, Rosenau said he'll ensure school policies safeguard against what children are exposed to at school.
"I will stand against our schools promoting and educating ideas that are divisive or support identity politics," he said. "I will support our parents' rights to determine the foundational values that their children are taught."
He will support programs and resources that benefit all students and will support teachers by ensuring they have an outlet to provide unfiltered feedback on what they like best about their jobs and the school district and where they see opportunities for improvement.
Growth must be dealt with in the next five years, he said. Bentonville is a rapidly growing school district facing the challenge of dealing with highly populated schools and all that come with it, he said.
"We have the challenge of bringing in Bentonville's known tradition of hiring only the best teachers, bringing state-of-the-art technology while keeping classrooms at an adequate student/teacher ratio," he said. "Additionally, as issues in the world arise, we have the continual challenge of keeping our teachers, staff and students safe with the best on-campus security and officers on all current and future campuses, buses and all school-related activities."
Bentonville School Board, Zone 4
Residency: Centerton for five years, lifelong resident of Bentonville area
Occupation: Homemaker; former teacher
Education: Bachelor’s degree in early childhood education, University of Central Arkansas
Political experience: None
Residency: Bentonville for 16 years
Occupation: Principal/director for IQVIA, a global health care and technology company; also a certified public accountant
Education: Bachelor’s degree in accounting from the University of Arkansas at Little Rock
Political experience: None