Blog: Wake school board candidates vie for district 5 seat
Posted September 21, 2011
Raleigh, N.C. — The fourth in a series of five Wake County Board of Education candidate forums continued Wednesday night at Unitarian Universalist Fellowship in Raleigh.
The forums are sponsored by WakeUp Wake and the League of Women Voters of Wake County.
Wednesday's forum featured candidates Cynthia Matson and Jim Martin. Dr. Anne McLaurin currently serves district 5, but announced she will not run for reelection.
Although school board races in Wake County are technically non-partisan on the ballot, this race has become highly politicized after a Republican majority took majority control of the board in 2009. The Wake County Democratic and Republican parties are actively involved in endorsing, supporting and promoting candidates for this election, which will be held Tuesday, Oct. 11.
Just like the previous forums the two district five candidates made an opening statement answering the following questions:
- What do you hope to accomplish when you serve on the Wake County Board of Education?
- What specific skills and qualities would you contribute to the Board of Education?
- Serving on the Board of Education is an extremely time consuming commitment to the community. It can also be very stressful, Why do you want to take on this challenge?
The opening statements were followed by a series of questions from the moderator and then the audience. Below are a few highlights from the forum:
I have a great deal of education experience and want to bring that into decision making. I am a long-time chemistry professor at N.C. State and the father of two children.
I want to bring non-partisan leadership to the board.
I want to focus on improving student achievement and improve training and support for teachers.
I would like to provide families with neighborhood schools that are equitable in all students. I want to stabilize student assignment by better focusing on growth plans.
Increasing student achievement is a top priority as well as increasing technical, vocational training for students.
Thoughts on an assignment plan:
I have been working for more than 10 years to push for an assignment plan that offers proximity, stability and choice. I think the superintendent is on the right path. I would also like to see Wake County use a KIP education model.
We should have focused more on the assignment of resources instead of the assignment of students. We must remain focused on student achievement and growth. Stability in the schools and classrooms will be important to a good assignment plan.
Thoughts on a bond that could raise taxes to pay for new school needs:
I am here to represent what the community wants. I will leave it up to the voters whether they want a bond. I also think we need to look into exactly what money is left before asking taxpayers for more.
I believe we have no choice but to pass a bond or else we would have to significantly raise taxes. I do think we need to look for other support options for schools moving forward.
I am for fair, equitable neighborhood schools with stable feeder patterns and high student achievement.
We need to dig into the budget and trim that fat so we are not cutting teachers and teacher's assistants.
My opponent opposes the current student assignment plan that the current board majority wants to move forward. Jim Martin wants to raise taxes to fund programs.
Ninety-five percent of the public says they are satisfied with their current assignment. The assignment issue will come back to the board again in the next few years once the choice model is fully up and running.
We need to end the distortion of facts. I want to see a renewed call to citizenship.