We asked candidates for state and local office to tell us about their views on public education. Here are their answers.
Our Schools First sent a survey to every candidate for state legislature, Iredell County Commission, and Iredell-Statesville Schools Board of Education. OS1 does not endorse or recommend candidates in the 2018 Election–we simply wanted to provide the following information to help guide voters in their decision.
Qualifications and Experience
As the current Chair of the Iredell County Education Facilities Task Force, I’ve gained a unique county-wide perspective regarding what needs exist when it comes to our educational facilities. We have looked at not only Iredell-Statesville Schools, but also Mooresville Graded School District, and Mitchell Community College. I have had the opportunity to learn more about education funding, the budgeting process, and the needs in our fellow educational entities in our county.
I have served in many District 7 schools (as the current President of the Parent-Teacher-Student Organization at Mount Mourne School and former President of the Parent-Teacher-Organization at Woodland Heights Elementary). This experience has provided me with a first-hand perspective about the needs in our schools with input from teachers, school leaders, students, and parents/families in the community, from curriculum needs and technology, to teacher pay and school safety.
I am a proud product of public education and a fervent supporter of Public Schools. I believe that strong public schools equal strong communities.
With 25+ years’ experience in community relations, communications, and public relations, coupled with my experience serving on- and leading- public and private boards; I would bring my ability to listen and collaborate to the board (to the ultimate benefit of our 20,000+ students).
I hold a Master of Business Administration (MBA) degree and a Bachelor of Broadcast Journalism degree.
My husband and I have an elementary school-aged daughter and a middle school son, both in Iredell-Statesville Schools.
1. Do you believe that all children in Iredell County, regardless of where they live, are entitled to the same quality of education?
I definitely believe that all children in Iredell County should receive the same quality of education regardless of where they live.
2. Do you think that all children in Iredell County are currently receiving the same quality of education?
Unfortunately, there are some performance gaps that exist across our county. In some cases, these gaps may occur early on due to the lack of a pre-kindergarten experience. These performance gaps can continue through-out the K-12 experience as we look at graduation rates and test scores that indicate college and career readiness.
3. Do you think that the level of funding for public schools in North Carolina is adequate? If not, do you think it’s the County’s or the State’s responsibility to increase public education funding?
I do not think that the current level of funding for public schools in North Carolina is adequate. Our state consistently ranks near the bottom for funding and our county is ranked 114 out of 115.
I believe it is both the County and the State’s responsibility to increase funding for public schools.
4. Do you support the proposed Iredell County ¼ cent sales tax increase on the November 6, 2018 ballot?
I support the 1/4 cent sales tax on the November 6th ballot. The fact that the school boards for both Iredell-Statesville Schools and Mooresville Graded School District, the Board of Trustees for Mitchell Community College, and all five of the County Commissioners unanimously supported putting this on the ballot suggests that the entities tasked with funding the local education-related expenditures agree that more funding is needed.
The ¼ penny sales tax is one small way to increase funding for public schools in our area.
5. If you do support the proposed sales tax increase, do you believe that the local School Boards are best equipped to decide how to use additional sales tax revenue for our schools? If not, who is best equipped to make these decisions?
I believe that the local School Boards are best equipped to decide how to use the additional sales tax revenue for our schools. The ADM amounts that will be distributed should be utilized by the School Boards as they see appropriate (which can include school safety and mental health for students).
I-SS frequently has to trim areas of its budget due to insufficient funding from the county. The additional sales tax revenue could help relieve this budget shortfall over the years.
6. Are you aware of the recent North Carolina School Report Card which graded all schools in the Iredell County?
Yes; I am aware of the recent North Carolina School Report Card for the schools in our county, and across the state.
7. Do you think that North Carolina School Report Card grades impact economic development in our County and the ability to attract employers that offer high-quality jobs?
Not only do I believe that the North Carolina School Report Card grades impact the economic development in our County and the ability to attract employers that offer high-quality jobs, but also the ability to sell real estate in specific areas in our county based upon those grades.
Unfortunately, the grades are weighted too heavily (80%) on specific achievement and not enough (20%) on growth. This means that those schools (teachers, school leadership, and STUDENTS) who are working hard and showing growth, could still have a poor grade on this grading scale.
8. Why do you think that some schools in the Iredell-Statesville School District have met academic growth expectations, while others show zero, or in some cases, even negative growth?
For the 2017-2018 School year, Iredell-Statesville Schools experienced the following: 14 schools “Exceeded Growth”, 14 schools “Met Growth”, and 7 schools “Did Not Meet Growth”.
I think a variety of factors impact a school’s ability to meet growth. This can include performance gaps that exist to the opposite end of the spectrum where it can be hard to move the needle for growth for a school with a high % of AIG students and high EOG scores.
From chatting with Principals, growth happens when there is a very clear expectation/goal and a high level of focus on that goal with teachers and students.