The sound of dribbling basketballs fills the Luther Multi-Purpose gym where Steven Broudy’s youngest son practices with his team. The kids listen to their volunteer coaches who make them run (and run some more) and work on their shooting, and Broudy sat in the wooden bleachers for an interview about running for the Luther School Board.
“People ask if I know what I’m getting into, and I don’t know,” he laughed. “But you have to help when you are asked to help,” said Broudy. With a determination to get up to speed on the many issues facing the Luther Public Schools, he thinks he would bring a congenial presence to the table.
With three kids in the district, he and his wife have been active in their education which he emphasizes for all families, should begin at home.
“From the time they were babies, we have read to our kids and they still have to read 20 minutes every night; we have instilled the importance of education in them,” said Broudy, a Navy veteran. “I didn’t go to college and I don’t have a bad life, but I know there’s an easier way to do it.”
That’s why he is passionate about Oklahoma Gear Up, a federally-funded program administered by the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education. The Broudys serve on the Parent Leadership Academy for Gear Up as Luther is identified as one of 24 state schools districts that needs help to get students and parents – preparing for college, and believing that it is possible.
Broudy recalls he has talked to several students who don’t think they can go to college because their parents say they can’t afford it or other reasons. But he said everyone who wants a shot at college, should go for it – through Oklahoma Promise, scholarships and other resources.
“Kids need to know what their opportunities are. If there is any way I can do something to get that information out as a school board member, that’s probably my number one goal.”
Another goal for the school district, Broudy said, is a change in leadership. He believes the community has lost confidence in the current leadership as evidenced by the failure of the October bond.
“Everybody I know wanted the best facilities. But they did not have trust or confidence in the administration with that amount of money,” he said. With the numbers rolling in on expenditures from the last bond issue including the cost of the Agriculture Barn, “it kind of makes you scratch your head.”
He is encouraged that more parents and residents are paying attention to the district but worries that too much division is being caused by focusing on the leadership, and not the larger issues.
“The financial thing is looming over us, and that’s the number one thing. How are we going to pay our teachers? How are we going to stay in business? That is our business, to educate our children.”
It wasn’t that long ago that the Broudy family met a fork in the road, to become more involved or jump ship.
“After attending some school board meetings, I was concerned about the future, and I considered taking my children out of the Luther School District.”
But he didn’t. “I kind of feel like it’s all our responsibility. We can gripe about the problems all day long, but if you’re not willing to help, you are part of the problem.”
Win or lose, Broudy isn’t going anywhere. He’ll try to effect change if he is elected, or will keep showing up to help where needed if he’s not.
Still, a first-time candidate for any elected office, Broudy said this is new territory.
“I tried to think of some good reasons to respectfully decline,” he again joked. But in the end, he wants to be an example to his children and all of the students – if you are asked to help, help.
Broudy faces one challenger, Jennifer Edmunson, also featured in The Luther Register. The election is February 9, 2016.