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District 1: Keith Ervin

Keith Ervin said serving on the school board makes him still feel young. “I wouldn’t do it if I didn’t like it,” said the candidate seeking a third term.
Ervin would like to see a more equal division of dollars per students between the city and county school systems. “If the county gives money, Johnson City gets a portion and they’ve already balanced their budget,” he said. “I have a hard time with that.”
According to Ervin, funding needs are an ongoing challenge. “It might pay for us to one day be one system,” he said. “We’d love to have two field houses at Boone and Crockett, but we’ve got carpet issues.”
Ervin said he will vote against approving expenditures he questions. “I know how hard it is to have a dollar in your pocket, and I treat every taxpayer dollar like it’s my own and try not to waste it,” he said. “But if the state tells us to do it, we have to cut something or ask the commission for money.”
Though he says there are a few more things on the list to get done, Ervin feels like the security assessments and recommendations have made the schools a safe environment.
“I’ve had people in the community complain about the cost of having School Resource Officers, but I said, it’s a different world now and I like to see them in there,” he noted.
In addition, SROs may serve as a mentor to the young kids and a deterrent to bad behavior in the high school. “We also get some irate parents in the schools,” he said.
As far as his opinion on the relationship with the county commission, Ervin said he would have to wait and see what kind of commission comes from the August election. “I want to be friends, but I’m elected to represent the schools and they’re my funding body,” he said. “We’re the ones who know what’s going on in the system, and I’ll do everything in my power to get along.”
Ervin is a self-employed dairy and tobacco farmer with two children in the county school system. “I feel like it’s good to have school board members with kids in the system,” he said. “You know what’s going on in the system, and you hear about the good teachers, the dirty carpet and the dirty bathrooms.” In addition, he said students who help on his farm talk about teachers and the school lunch.
He didn’t see any disadvantages to serving while his children were students, though he may receive more calls, often with complaints about a coach. “You rarely get calls about a student who’s failing math.”
As a school board member, Ervin said his objective is to support the school system and Washington County. “I try to do what I think is right,” he said. “It’s the way I’ve done it since I was elected, and I’m not going to change.”