For the two candidates running for school board place 5, this is their first election, each campaigning using a different style.
For Tom Bursey and Herbert Whinery, a big goal is helping schools which have fallen below state standards, but they both also have special goals of their own.
Bursey may look familiar to you, that’s because he already sits on the School Board. He was appointed to the position after former board president and place five trustee, Trey Sralla resigned.
And he said he hopes this time to be actually be elected, to continue making a difference.
“I want to be a part of making sure we spend our money efficiently,” Bursey said. “We want to make sure the kids get what they actually need as well as what they deserve to have. So, that they can get a good quality education.”
Whinery said his daughter Icelia is the reason he’s running.
“Special needs kids need a voice, and there’s not one out there,” Whinery said. “Somebody’s got to stand up. I’m a nobody. I’m a single parent. I’m the father and the mother. I’m retired, I piddle around. I do odd things, And I’ve got time to do this. And if I don’t have time, I’ll make time.”
Bursey moved to Wichita Falls in 1976 while serving in the Air Force. He’s now retired and volunteers with the DAV transporting veterans from Wichita Falls to Oklahoma City for treatment. And is also the President of the Sonshine House.
Whinery worked at IHOP for 13 years and is now retired as well. He spends his free time being a handyman and gardener.
And while Bursey is campaigning by hitting the streets of his district with signs, Whinery said his campaign will be focused on getting the word out through his Facebook page.
But, both share this message when it comes to the schools below state standards, they both want to see them succeed.
“I think the programs they’ve established, that they’re working at is trying to get the parents involved, and the community involved,” Bursey said. “Whereas in the past this was not done, but the plan that these three principals have put forward…I think that will definitely improve these schools.”
“There’s not enough one on one,” said Whinery. “We need more aids to help these teachers. The teachers are drowning. Average students in a class here at Scotland Park, is 19 kids per class, one teacher. I’d be balled, I would run out of that school screaming on a daily basis.”
And while Whinery’s focus is getting more resources for special needs students in WFISD schools, Bursey hopes to see more diversity.
“I think we need to get the city involved, as far as trying to recruit good minority and bilingual teachers, that would give the students someone of their own culture to look up to and possibly encourage them to do better in school,” said Bursey.
Something both candidates said they want to see if elected.