Board incumbent Tom Boone says experience will benefit district
Tom Boone Jr. has drawn challenges from two other candidates next Tuesday, Feb. 10, in his quest for re-election to a second term as the holder of Seat No. 5 on the Pawhuska Board of Education.
Polls will be open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. for the school elections — which include voting on annual millages.
Boone was initially elected to the office in 2010 when he defeated then-incumbent David Clifton by 120 votes: 551 to 431. For each of the last four years, Boone has also been selected by the four other members to handle additional responsibilities as the school board’s clerk.
“It’s been challenging,” said Boone, who had previously served on the parent committee for the Osage Head Start Program. “I spent my first couple of years just trying to get a handle on all the different things that the school board is involved with.”
Boone believes the experience he has gained during the past five years should benefit Pawhuska school patrons as the local district continues to grapple with continuing state and federal budget cuts as well as other looming challenges.
“These are difficult times for education, especially in Oklahoma” said Boone, an Osage County native. “I think our school board has tackled some tough problems, and there are probably going to be more of them.”
While admitting that perfect solutions have not always been found, Boone said the board has worked with school administrators, faculty and students to make fair and reasonable decisions on each of the issues that has arisen.
“The main objective should always be to do what is right for the young people of the district,” he said.
Boone and his wife, Jessica, are the parents of one daughter, Rachel. He is longtime member of First Baptist Church and has a broad employment background.
A year ago, Boone campaigned as a candidate for Principal Chief of the Osage Nation. He finished third in a three-person primary — falling 12 votes short of advancing to a general election runnoff against the eventual winner of the race, Geoffrey Standing Bear.
Boone said he takes pride in his Osage heritage and hopes his ties to the tribe have provided some positive advantages for the school district. He also thinks his membership on the board has given him a unique opportunity to serve the educational needs of the tribal community.
“Our schools are facing many issues,” Boon said. “Personal insights that I have can hopefully help us arrive at our ultimate goal of providing the best educational advantages possible for the students of this district.”