Q & A With Tea Area School Board Candidates

With the Tea Area School Board elections on June 21, the Tea Weekly sent questions to the two candidates. Below are the questions and responses from both Duane Gors and Chad Meyer.


Duane Gors


How long have you lived in Tea?

I have lived in Tea all but 2 years of my life


Do you have kids in the Tea Area School District? If so, how many?

I have three adult children (Derek, Zach and Cassidy) that have graduated from the Tea Area school district. My youngest Cassidy just graduated in May. I also have two grandchildren that are Future Titans.


What other roles do you have within the Tea community?

I served on the Tea Area school board from 2003-2012, I am also a lifelong member of Trinity Lutheran church


How will you respond to the growth within the school district?

Managing growth in the district against a limited capital outlay budget has always been a challenge for our school district. The school district is also restricted by legal debt load limits set by the state. During my first 3 terms on school board the school district met these challenges head on. I lobbied for the current expanded HS gym we enjoy now. Pushed to add classrooms to the HS and Intermediate school before the initial construction projects were completed. I also helped secure the resolution necessary to pay for and build the current turf athletic field and track.


What sort of policies do you intend to focus on if you were to be elected?

I believe that the individual is the smallest minority. I believe that individuals have the right to receive an education in a safe learning environment that prepares them to be critical thinker. I also believe that our school district needs to nurture students desire to be lifelong learners, as this is vital to the future of our community, state, and country.

What sort of environment do you think would be best for our teachers and other faculty members?

I think the administration and school board should promote a professional and transparent work environment that encourages respect and dignity for all staff members. That said, I do believe the current administration and board have done a good job to create this type of environment and there is always room for improvement.


Are there any recent or past policies that you take issue with?

I do not agree with forcing anyone to wear a mask to receive an education in a classroom or staff members to earn a paycheck. I do think that if someone wants their child or would prefer to wear a mask themselves that is their own health decision and should have the right to make that choice for themselves.


What current policies do you think express your values as a board member?

As a school board member, I appreciate that we still recite the Pledge of Allegiance and proudly display One Nation Under God in all our schools. I love that this school district values service in our community and promotes those core principles and values. Promotion through the angel tree, food bank, student athletes and artists volunteering their time to serve our community as well as the Veterans Day program makes me proud to be a Tea Area Titan!


What do you think is the most pressing issue the Tea Area School District is facing and how will you respond to it?

The need for more square footage is obvious. I would like to see our school district be more proactive with the education of benefits and consequences of social media/technology. I don’t know what that looks like yet but do believe that our children and parents invest large amounts of time and treasure on technology. We all know that technology/social media has become unavoidable part of students and staff’s everyday life. I would also like to see a review of the districts safety policies and procedures to make sure they are up to date an also re-evaluate the state of South Dakota’s school Sentinel program and have a discussion on its application in our schools.


What are your thoughts on the school bus driver shortage? What do you think the best course of action is for the school district?

Short of more aggressive recruiting and paying people more to drive buses, the state used to allow schools districts to pay parents to get their kiddos to school. I would encourage our administrators to find creative incentives to hire new and retain bus drivers and re-think ways for parents to get their kids to school. The fact that energy costs are going through the roof will not help in finding solutions for this problem.


Teacher pay has been a large topic of conversation and debate over recent years. What are your thoughts?

In my experience teacher pay has always been a concern for our school district. In fact, in my last term as a school board member the state cut funding to schools and while other districts were freezing and cutting payrolls our district increased wages for all employees. I believe that is the type of teamwork (between administrators, staff, and school board members) the Tea Area school district needs to meet the challenges of our time. Thank you for your consideration and thank you for allowing me to be of service to you.

Chad Meyer


How long have you lived in Tea?

We have been in the Tea community for almost 6 years, we lived on an acreage north of town for the last 5 years and just moved into our new home on the North side of Tea in the Heritage Lake addition.


Do you have kids in the Tea Area School District? If so, how many?

We have three kids in the school district, soon to be Kindergarten, Second Grade and Fourth Grade. They love their school and all the teachers.


What other roles do you have within the Tea community?

I am working with the Tea Veterans Memorial. This year I am organizing the First Annual Tea Pot Dayz Summer Upen to help raise money for the Veterans memorial. I am also looking forward to finding more ways I can be active in the Tea community in the future.


How will you respond to the growth within the school district?

Growth in a city so close to Sioux Falls is inevitable, with a growing city comes an expanding and growing school district. If we do not embrace the growth and grow at the same time we will struggle to catch up.


What sort of policies do you intend to focus on if you were to be elected?

My Main focus is putting our kids first, every child deserves a fun and safe environment to learn and grow in. We need to ensure we have the best staff and technology to educate our kids properly for the future.


What sort of environment do you think would be best for our teachers and other faculty members?

With everything going on in the world, we need to ensure that not only our kids but also our teachers and faculty have a safe and welcoming environment so that they can do their job to the best of their ability.


Are there any recent or past policies that you take issue with?

Policy D: Fiscal Management, we need to ensure that we are working to layout the best budget for each year and ensure that funds are being spent wisely for the growth of our school district and the staff and students are top priority in the spending.


What current policies do you think express your values as a board member?

Section J: Students and Section G: Personnel, by making sure we are taking care of the staff and students, we ensure that we have a strong internal system to grow. We as parents and school board members need to put them first, so they know we truly care and want the best for them.


What do you think is the most pressing issue the Tea Area School District is facing and how will you respond to it?

Growth and staying ahead of it, we need to ensure we stay ahead of the growth of our district and we do not fall behind. Budgeting and spending is key to growing properly as our district and city grow.


What are your thoughts on the school bus driver shortage? What do you think the best course of action is for the school district?

The current shortage of bus drivers impacts us all, many students rely on the bus to get to and from school each day not only in town but our rural living families too. With working parents it may be hard for the parents to get the kids to school on time or pick them up in a timely manner.

I believe we need to start looking at other avenues to fill the shortage.. Possibly look at the local universities and colleges for students that may have the time to work in the mornings and afternoons. My nephew is currently doing this in SF and said he is enjoying it as he can work his school schedule around the bus schedule.


Teacher pay has been a large topic of conversation and debate over recent years. What are your thoughts?

Teachers are one of the most important influencers in our kids' lives after the parents and family. We rely on each teacher to help make sure our kids learn and grow properly. We need to make sure we are not losing our amazing staff to other school districts due to pay. If a teacher is going over the top and showing great strides in helping each and every student then they deserve to get a raise and this will ensure they stay within the Tea School District for years to come.