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Tony Caudill

Independent Candidate for
WCS School Board in District 11

I am a 17+ year resident of Williamson County, a husband, and a father of two amazing kids who have attended both FSSD and WCS schools - I know first-hand how great our schools are (my daughter currently attends CHS, where my son graduated).  Williamson County Schools are an invaluable economic and community asset.  They are highly rated and recognized as among the best in the state.  And they are a primary reason our county is a wonderful place to live.

 

I am running for School Board because I believe this election is critically important to ensuring we keep our schools great.   And I am passionate about working hard towards this goal!  I want to build on our schools’ tradition of excellence and bring a mindset of continuous improvement to the Board.  My focus will be on real issues (recruiting and retaining the best teachers; securing appropriate transportation; etc.).  

I am committed to collaborating with key stakeholders - listening first and seeking to understand parents, teachers, administrators, and fellow Board members, and then working to find common ground and accomplish things together towards shared goals and objectives.  And my primary focus will always be on supporting and doing what is best for all of our students and their teachers.

 

And I am running as an independent, non-partisan candidate because I do not believe the introduction of partisan politics to our public school boards is serving the best interests of our kids.  Partisan allegiances and objectives should be checked at the door so that the Board can focus on doing what is best for our kids and their teachers.

 

If these ideas align with your beliefs, I am humbly asking for your support.  It is going to take a team effort to get out the vote.  How can you help?  Please tell your family, friends, and neighbors about my campaign and share my website, Facebook, and Instagram links.  Please join my email list for periodic updates.  Please consider a donation - any amount will help me purchase signs and send mailers.  And most important - please vote on August 1 (or early-voting July 12-27).

My Why's and What's

A brief summary of my platform and key differentiators

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My thoughts about school-related "issues" in the news

Vouchers

  • I am running for public school board because I want to support our public schools;

  • WCS are among the best in the state - I am concerned about the potential shifting of resources away from our schools and what could be the impact on our schools

  • I am also concerned about public funds being used for private education - schools that are not held to the same academic measurement standards, or required to meet the same standards for special needs families

  • Bottom line: I was pleased to see the voucher bill did not pass both chambers in the last session.  If the Governor should push for his voucher plan again next year, I will remain very much opposed to the planned voucher bill for TN.

Book Bans

  • There are clearly books in the world that are inappropriate for certain age groups - and our librarians, teachers, and administrators understand this

  • This said, parents have a right to control what books their kid(s) can read - and the district has a policy that provides parents a way to exercise this right

  • Parents may file a complaint about any book in the library or classroom - as part of the challenge process, parents are notified about challenged library materials and the process they may follow to opt their child out of checking out library materials

  • Note: the policy is likely to be amended in June as required to meet changes made to the Age Appropriate Materials Act in the last legislative session.  I do not agree with the changes that were made - they will potentially lead to many books being removed from our school libraries.  But WCS needs to create a policy to meet the new requirements.  Hopefully the law will be challenged, put on hold, and/or overturned in the coming months.

Budget/5-yr Capital Plan

  • 85% of the operating budget is for our teachers and staff

  • The County Commission has funding authority for our schools - not the Board of Education

  • The Board needs to work with the Superintendent to review and optimize the WCS budget to meet the needs of our students while also fitting within the funding approved by the County Commissioners

  • The County Commissioners will vote this month to finalize approved funding for the 2024-2025 school year.  Last I have heard, there is still a gap that needs to be closed to allow for school needs and raises for our teachers.

  • The 5-year capital plan the Board has shared with the County Commissioners is not a budget (as the Republican Party has implied) - it is a planning tool to inform the Commissioners of potential capital investment needs over the next 5 years; if projected growth does not materialize, then the plan will be adjusted.

Parent Rights

  • Parents play a critical role in their child's education - they are essential partners in student success

  • As noted above, parents have a right to opt their kids out of checking out any library materials - this said, I think it is important to respect that parents do not have a right to opt other parents' kids out of accessing the same materials

  • By partnering and collaborating together in a respectful and mutually supportive manner, our parents and professional educators can provide equal opportunities and a supportive environment for all of our students

3rd grade retention law

  • While the intent of the TN 3rd grade reading and retention law may be good, I believe it is a poorly written law, relying too heavily on a standardized test score to determine reading proficiency

  • The law uses scores from the English language arts section of the TCAP (TNReady) exam - if a student scores "below" or "approaching" proficiency they may face retention if additional steps are not taken

  • About 900 students were held back across TN last year (~1.2% of TN third graders).  This year, some projections suggest that as many as 6,000 fourth graders may be held back due to lack of "adequate growth" (we are still awaiting potential amendments)

Armed Teachers

  • SB1325 allows faculty or staff to carry a concealed handgun at school - they are required to have a valid handgun carry permit; undergo a background check; receive psychological or psychiatric certification from a licensed healthcare provider; and complete 40 hours of basic training in school policing.

  • The school district's director of schools, the principal, and chief of "appropriate" law enforcement agency must sign off.  Any armed faculty/staff will remain confidential - and if anything goes wrong, parents will not be able to sue the school district (per Senate bill language).

  • My position: I am strongly opposed to this law.  I do not believe arming our teachers will make our schools safer.  I fundamentally do not believe more guns is the solution to school safety.  And I also do not believe a teacher with 40 hours of basic training can possibly be prepared to handle a potential situation that our police have extensively trained for.  Lastly, and specific to WCS, as we have SROs, I am pleased that our Superintendent confirmed we will not consider authorizing any faculty or staff member to be armed in our schools.

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I am proud to have been awarded the 2024 Moms Demand Action Gun Sense Candidate distinction.

School Bus & Children

Social Media

Follow me on Facebook
Here are a few key 60-second Reels I've shared:
Why is this race so important?
What will it take to win this race?
How I want to serve: collaborate & listen first
My latest Instagram posts / Reels:

Additional Background

  • Born and raised in the Detroit, MI metro area

  • BS in Mechanical Engineering and MBA from Wayne State University (Detroit, Michigan)

  • Resident of Williamson County since 2006

  • Volunteer in my kids' classrooms and schools

  • Member of Franklin Elementary School Shared Leadership Team (served with Principals, Teachers, and Parents)

  • Soccer coach for my son's team for several years

  • Cub Scout Den Leader; Treasurer and Leader for Cub Scout Pack

  • HOA Treasurer and President

  • Corporate leadership experience, leading cross-functional and cross-cultural teams

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School Children

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