On May 9, 2023, Milford School District residents will go to the polls to vote for open seats on school board. Currently, only one seat, representing the district At-Large, has more than one candidate. A seat in District A, vacated when current President Jason Miller did not file for reelection, currently has only one candidate, Victor “Butch” Elzey. Dinae Woodside filed to run but withdrew her candidacy on March 10. Although he is running unopposed, Elzey answered questions about what his vision was for the district and what he hoped to accomplish as a school board member. The questions and answers are posted in their entirety with no editing.
I graduated Milford High School in 1972. I’ve lived in Milford for 68 years. I have 2 sons. I had my own business for 43 years painting heavy equipment and selling equipment. My wife and I also had Troops BBQ & Catering, which was very, very successful. In our BBQ business, all First Responders and military ate for free. I was involved in Little League for 4 years and President for 2 years. I organized a food drive during Katrina and went to Ocean Springs, MI with 60,000 pounds of food. I drove down with my truck and borrowed a trailer from my good friend, Howard Burris, of Burris Foods. I then organized a group called Delaware Community Appreciation Group, and in 6 years we raised over $250,000 and did a BBQ every Father’s Day at Walter Reed Army Medical Center. At Christmas, my wife and I went back over every year and did an event for them. I’m very passionate about our children, our Military and our pets.
Q. Why did you decide to run for school board?
A. Well I didn’t wake up one morning and say, “Oh, I’m running for school board”! I bumped into a friend of mine at Grotto’s that I hadn’t seen in quite a while. I asked her how she was doing and if she was still teaching. She said, “I hate teaching!” After that, I talked to many, many teachers. I’ve lived here for 68 years, I know a lot of people and I was getting the same response from most of the teachers I spoke to. Then I talked to many parents, and basically the same response. Their children aren’t learning and there is no discipline in the school. Most important of all, I talked to many children, which I know many, many of our children, and I was getting the same responses from the children that classes are being disrupted and the children aren’t learning anything. Also, I don’t get involved in anything unless I think I can make a difference, and one needs to be made here! I believe that the school board of directors should be a voice for the teachers, the parents and the children. Our teachers think their hands are tied because there is no discipline in the Milford School District and their opinions and circumstances aren’t taken into consideration when a problem arises.
Q. How will you help Milford become a more successful and desired district in Delaware?
A. DISCIPLINE AND ACCOUNTABILITY!
Q. School districts across the country have been issuing restrictions regarding what is taught in the classroom, especially with respect to historical and contemporary conditions in the United States. How will you handle requests for curriculum changes from parents in the community?
A. We have to listen to the parents. These children are not ours. They belong to the parents. It doesn’t matter what side of the aisle you are on, we must listen to the parents and make our judgments together as a school board, with the kids best interest at heart.
Q. Do you anticipate policing of the arts and literature that students are assigned or create? How far to do you feel the First Amendment extends to students?
A. The First Amendment is the First Amendment that can’t be changed. But if somebody wants to speak out, whether it’s a student, a parent or a teacher, they have a right to speak……with respect!
Q. Do you anticipate any political group, lobbyist or business influencing decisions you make as a board member?
A. Ain’t no way on God’s green earth! I’ve already been contacted by the NAACP, the ACLU and the League of Women Voters, along with several other groups. They all have an agenda. The only agenda I have is to see to it that our children get a fair deal and a proper education, which is NOT happening now!
Q. During the COVID-19 pandemic, many parents were angry at school boards for following mandates issued by the governor. What is your opinion on governmental mandates and how school boards should handle them in the future?
A. A mandate is not a law. You have to agree with a mandate before you follow it. The teacher’s union is one of the biggest problems we have in the United States. The head of the teacher’s union, nationally, Randy Weingarden, makes a half a million dollars a year. Where does that money come from???? You and me! And they locked our schools down and kept our children out.
Q. As a board member, you will likely approve the final plans for the former Milford Middle School renovation. What will you be looking for in the renovation plan and what would you not want to see included?
A. I think that’s a very hard question. I would have to see the plan, discuss the plan with the rest of the school board, and probably City officials.
Q. What types of activities would you like to see offered to students to keep them active and learning when school is not in session?
A. Sports, of course, and various clubs that the school could provide.
Q. Teachers are expressing concerns that discipline policies are causing issues in the classroom with student attendance dropping, tardiness rising and what appears to be a lack of disrespect toward authority. As a board member, how do you plan to address some of these complaints from teachers?
A. If there is a child disrupting the classroom day after day that’s causing the teachers not able to teach and the children not learning, something needs to be done with that child to be put in another room with supervision, and it needs to be STRICTLY enforced.
Q. There is a significant teacher and substitute teacher shortage throughout the state currently. What ideas do you have to encourage people to enter the teaching or substitute teaching profession?
A. BRING BACK DISCIPLINE AND HAVE IT BE ALLOWED AND ENFORCED! Teachers are NOT going to put up with what is going on right now in the classroom.
Q. Now that virtual learning is an option, would you support expanding that option to parents and students in the district as a permanent option, especially for high school students who may need to work to help support their families?
A. Absolutely not! That is a cop-out. In-school learning and interaction with other kids is necessary and beneficial to all children.
When I graduated high school, the guys and gals I hung around with in school loved school. We loved our teachers. Our teachers didn’t put up with any Bull, and we all knew it. I became friends with many of our teachers, but bottom line is most of the guys and gals I hung with, with the proper discipline and education, became successful. I want your children to be successful as well. And for that to happen, there are a lot of changes to be done.
Only residents in Milford School District’s District A may vote for the vacant seat Elzey is a candidate for. Polling places for the Milford School District Board of Education election are Benjamin Banneker Elementary School (449 North Street), Evelyn I. Morris Early Childhood Center (8609 Third Street, Lincoln), Lulu M. Ross Elementary School (310 Lovers Lane) and Milford High School (1019 North Walnut Street). Polls will open at 7 AM and close at 8 PM. All voters must have proof of identity and address which includes a driver’s license, Delaware ID card, work ID card with photo and home address or U.S. postal material with street address. Anyone with questions about what they need to prove their identity can contact the Department of Election in Kent County at 302-739-4498.
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