1 - What is the biggest issue you see facing Bryan County schools? How might you address that issue?
This is a difficult question because I feel there are several issues that I consider to be of significance: keeping pace with the growth on both ends of the county in regards to the funding of new schools and faculty, addressing the safety issues within our schools and taking the necessary measures to create a safe, yet nonrestrictive learning environment, while we have the "No Child Left Behind", we still have, for whatever reason, those students who fall between the cracks.. Each child, regardless of their learning capabilities, financial or social status should be given an equal opportunity to receive an adequate education which will provide them with the skills necessary to become a productive member of society instead of becoming a statistic in our judicial or welfare system. I would like to see more programs implemented that teach some type of job related skills geared towards these students and those who will not attend college.
2 - A nearby school system’s BoE was accused of crossing the line between governance and interference. Under the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools regulations, school boards are responsible for developing policy and procedure – but the implementation must be left up to the district administrators.
How do you view your role as a potential board member? How do you see that role fitting into the school system as a whole?
I am not certain what incident the person was referring to with this question. I wish they had been more specific. However, as with any public office or job, there exists guidelines, rules, regulations and a code of ethics that must be followed. Any person who uses their position for personal gain, for the purpose of utilization of a personal agenda or for that of their constituents is in my opinion, crossing the line between governance and interference. I am a "by the book" person and a person of integrity. If elected, I will not misuse or abuse my position nor compromise my integrity.
3 – The online school resource, Parent Connect, was designed to open the lines of communication between the schools and parents. One resident suggests it does – when teachers and parents both use it. But, there is still a problem with communication from the administrators and board with the parents.
How will you improve this particular area of communication?
I agree there is a need to improve communication between the administration and the board with the parents. I am not certain how we can bridge that gap. More parent involvement and attendance at board meetings would be a good place to start. As a board member, I would make myself accessible to the constituents and be open to suggestions as how to improve this and all issues.
4 - State Superintendent Kathy Cox recently proposed all Georgia schools institute the same late August start date. This idea has been previously suggested to the board, but has never officially been considered as an option. One recurring complaint is the issue of hot weather at the start of August, since school starts on or around Aug. 8.
Would you, as a board member, be willing to review the research and make an informed decision about whether or not a later school start date would benefit students – why or why not?
Yes I would be willing to review the research in reference to a later school start date for the students. I am in favor of previous later start dates. However, my decision to support a change in a later start date would based upon how it would benefit the students.
5 – How would you rate the performance of Bryan County’s Superintendent, Dr. Sallie Brewer? And are you in favor of renewing her contract, why or why not?
As I stated early on in my campaign, I said I would not make this campaign about Dr. Brewer. To do so would make my campaign a personal one with a solitary agenda if elected and that is not my goal. I have not had the chance to work with Dr. Brewer, but look forward to doing so if elected. When the time presents itself, I will make my decision in regards to the renewal of Dr. Brewer’s contract based on the facts, her past performance as Superintendent and input from constituents.
6 – Some of the reports have stated that a majority of parents were against school uniforms when parent surveys came out. One resident said they’ve never seen any "official" results of these surveys. Could the results be made available to the public and how can residents be assured that these surveys were conducted by an objective source? Every parent this resident has spoken to agrees that school uniforms need to be implemented. The results of the survey seem to be contradictory to what people are experiencing in everyday conversation throughout the community.
Why is the board opposed to uniforms? Would you consider it?
I attended the board meeting last year that determined the outcome of the uniform policy issue. As a reporter trying to remain objective about the issue, I have to say I did not feel there was enough adequate or accurate information made available to make a well informed decision. I personally am against the uniform policy because I feel children should have the freedom to express themselves and should not have restrictions placed upon them which may inhibit their imagination, creativity or resourcefulness. I would however support a uniform policy if an accurate survey of the parents wishes was conducted and it reflected a majority in favor of a uniform policy. I would also like to see some statistics from schools which have implemented a uniform policy on how the uniform policy has improved the learning environment, reduced disciplinary problems and decreased the incidence of violence.
7 - A lot of people in Pembroke feel that there is not equal representation for the north Bryan County schools. One resident, originally from a huge metropolitan area, said she cannot fathom some of what she’s seen here. Her husband, originally from a tiny town in the Midwest, said he can’t believe how many people are willing to believe the cop out: "Well, it’s a small town."
If elected, what will you do to ensure more equality in services offered to schools in both ends of the county?
Again this question is difficult to answer without knowing specific details. The two ends of the Bryan County School District are diverse geographically and demographically which inadvertently have an effect on the difference between the schools on each end. I believe the same services are made available to each end of the county, but are implemented based on the interest or demand for specific services. If there is no interest or not sufficient interest in a specific service on the north end, then it would be financially unreasonable to automatically implement that service based solely on the fact it was made available on the south end.
8 – Staggering the schools’ start times could help with:
- eliminating first and second loads of students, therefore eliminating the need for more bus drivers and buses;
- eliminating unreasonable bus schedules with children sitting at school for more than an hour before or after school, therefore more parents would be inclined to let their children use the buses;
- easing traffic problems, since everyone in the county wouldn’t be trying to leave at the same time; and
- cutting down on transportation costs in general, since fuel costs are so high right now.
What is your position on looking into this as an option for the school district?
I can see the pros and cons of this idea and I also agree something should be done to reduce transportation costs, improve the transportation system and eliminate the hour wait before school begins and after school ends that some students are subjected to. I don’t have the solution to this problem, but if elected I will work to resolve this issue.