Wayne McNeese formally announces his candidacy to return as School Board Member, Zone 1, a seat he held for two four-year terms from 2000 until 2008. He chose not to seek reelection in 2008.Born in Huntsville, Ala., McNeese moved to Mt. Juliet in 1967 and graduated from Mt. Juliet High School in 1971. Upon graduation, he attended Nashville Tech, taking business courses while employed by Keith-Sinclair Company, a mill supply and hydraulics supplier. In 2004, he assumed the position of fluidpower specialist with Applied Industrial Technologies, covering several states in the southeast area.
McNeese has been married for 29 years to Pam Waffird McNeese, also a graduate of Mt. Juliet High School. Pam and Wayne have two children, Kenny and Kylee, both of whom are Mt. Juliet High School graduates, and are married and live with their families in Mt. Juliet. Pam and Wayne also have four grandchildren: Trey, Madison, Tyler and Emilee.
Even with the importance of family and demands of career, McNeese has always given himself to the local Mt. Juliet community. He coached in the Mt. Juliet Little League program for 17 years and served as President of the Little League for three separate terms. He has also been an active member of the Mt. Juliet Rotary Club, the Mt. Juliet Jaycees, and has served on the church board at Hermitage Church of the Nazarene, where he is a member.
As an outspoken member of the school board, he has always been a proponent of responsibility and accountability, the same standards to which he holds himself, both in his personal and in his business life. However, McNeese is quick to add that, because of our good teachers impact the lives of our children in such a positive way, he, as a school board member, will support them and will seek new and innovative ways to insure their success.
He says the ever-growing population in Wilson County has created difficulties for our schools, as well as for all other county services. For schools, it has resulted in classroom overcrowding which threatens learning and student safety. McNeese says he is proud of some improvements of which he was a part in his prior service on the school board, such as replacing the old and unsafe Mt. Juliet Elementary School with a new school and for building a new Mt. Juliet High School, which opened in 2008. He states that current plans and approval by the County Commission for the construction of additional classrooms at West Wilson Middle School, West Elementary School, and an additional building at Rutland Elementary is critical to meet the growing educational needs in West Wilson County.
“I am excited about the opportunity to be a part of this much-needed proposed building program, especially without a tax increase,” the candidate says.
McNeese believes that his eight years of experience while a member of the Wilson County School Board, which has a budget in excess of 100 million dollars and is the largest employer in the county with over 2,200 employees, gives him a unique perspective regarding the proper use of taxpayer money. He believes his board of experience uniquely qualifies him to apply a “common-sense” approach in dealing with the future needs of Wilson County Schools. “Too many times, elected officials confuse wants with needs, and, of course, it’s much easier to confuse when you are spending other people’s money. Unfortunately, the taxpayer loses,” he states.
“Unlike my opponent, I pledge to the taxpayers that I will not vote to divert funds from its designated purpose and spend them for “Wants and Needs,” i.e., money used from the Lebanon High School construction bond issue to build tennis courts at other locations. Since the funding body (county commission) approved 50 million dollars to build the new school, based on the request of the school board, I believe any unused dollars should have been returned to the funding body to reduce county taxpayer debt. While I support tennis, as I do all school sports, finances do not allow us to have all facilities on campus, whether it be tennis, swimming, bowling, golf or ice hockey. Especially during these economic times, the taxpayer cannot afford it,” he further adds.
In conclusion, McNeese states, “Our schools exist solely to educate our children, so effective teaching by our teaching professionals should be our number one priority. Insuring that we properly manage our money will make it possible to guarantee maximum resources for learning in the classroom, where success is critical.”