The Duncan Banner

January 31, 2014

Bray-Doyle candidates aim to keep district on right path

Steve Olafson
The Duncan Banner

BRAY — Faced with a dwindling supply of state funds  and an embezzlement scandal still fresh in everyone’s mind, one might question why anyone would want to serve on the board of the Bray-Doyle school district.

The answer to that question comes easy for the two men seeking Position 4 on the board in the Feb. 11 election.

The candidates, Brian Lee Bearce and Clayton Kilbourn, each grew up in the district, have kids in the  school system and want to keep the rural district of about 370 students thriving despite the challenges ahead.

The two candidates know each from their school days and have no political mud to sling.

The school district is slowly recovering from an embezzlement scandal in which a former employee stole nearly $300,000. She was sentenced to 5 years in prison in October.

Meanwhile, with state funding for the district on the decline, residents of the district have come together to volunteer their time and do-it-yourself skills to  improve deteriorating school facilities.

They have laid tile, painted the gymnasium and  replaced rotten wood in the football stadium bleachers.

Bearce, 44, and Kilbourn, 47, have each been involved in many of those efforts, they said.

In the midst of the embezzlement scandal, Bearce served the remaining 16 months of a departing board member’s term. He still thinks more were involved in the scam than the lone  employee who is now in prison.

Beyond that, he said,  Bearce wants to rejoin the board to help keep the district on the right path.

“We’ve been trying to get the community more involved,” said Bearce, a farmer and rancher from Marlow. “If the community doesn’t get involved, little schools like Bray are going to go away.”

Kilbourn, an electrical-mechanical technician at Halliburton who lives in Marlow, said keeping the school system strong in spite of recent challenges is his goal.

“It’s still a great school,” he said. “To me, it’s all about the kids and for the kids.”