ORIGINALLY WRITTEN JANET HAMOUS
At a time when most high school seniors are thinking about sports events, part-time jobs, college applications, and prom, Hillsboro High School senior Alex Blecha has something else on his mind-running for the school board.
Blecha and six other candidates filed for the four open positions on the Unified School District 410 Board of Education for Durham, Hillsboro and Lehigh. He will be running against incumbent Debbie Geis for the position representing the Durham area in the April 1 election .
At 18, Blecha may be the youngest candidate ever to run for the USD 410 board. Although Superintendent Gordon Mohn said he couldn’t speak for the distant past, Blecha is the youngest candidate he can recall.
Blecha said he was motivated to run for the school board because he thinks he can make a difference in how the school system operates.
“People complain, and I would like to see if I could change that,” he said. “There is too much money spent on administration. I would rather see more going for the actual education of the students.
“Maybe if we could do some rearranging or combining, we could make the taxpayers not pay as much,” he said. “There are five different administrations for all the schools in Marion County. If you could get some of the school districts to work together, maybe you could cut down some of the positions. Maybe a superintendent could do two school districts instead of one.”
Blecha has a strong interest in government. He has taken business, economics and government classes and has served on the student council.
Last summer, he served in the House of Representatives at Boys State. Boys State is a week-long program sponsored by the American Legion where hundreds of boys gather to learn the basics of government and leadership by participating in a mock government.
Blecha plans to go to Kansas State next year, but he sees no problem with coming back to Hillsboro for school board meetings. He plans to major in engineering or accounting.
Although he doesn’t have a budget for a big campaign, Blecha said he does plan to put signs in front of his house that can be seen from the highway.
He said the most common reaction from his classmates has been surprise.
“Some say their parents couldn’t believe that someone from high school would actually run for the school board,” he said. “I like to do things most people wouldn’t do.”
Blecha believes his age and recent high school experience will be advantages on the school board.
“I have a fresh perspective. I can help them understand how the decisions they make affect students and offer some new ideas,” he said.