For Immediate Release
Alice Gordon, who has served on the BOCC since 1990, and Fred Battle, a former member of the Chapel Hill-Carrboro Board of Education, received the endorsements after a meeting of the group’s steering committee, said David Weinberg, the group’s treasurer. Weinberg said both candidates met the group’s criteria of strong commitment to public schools, clear opposition to merger, and electability.
“Year after year, vote after vote, Alice Gordon has proven herself to be an
unfailing advocate for both school districts,” Weinberg said. “Those of us
who support the schools couldn’t hope for a better candidate. Now we’d like
our members and also the parents in the community to do more than hope—we
want them to get
Weinberg cited Gordon’s consistent backing of the school budgets and her chairmanship of the Committee that designed the SAPFO legislation which resulted in needed school construction in both districts as examples of her work.
Mark Peters, a steering committee member, said that Fred Battle was the sort of promising newcomer the group had been looking for.
“If you read Mr. Battle’s answers to our candidate survey, they were probably the clearest and most thoughtful answers of all the new candidates,” Peters said. “And we really appreciated his stance on merger. He said as commissioner he would consider it his job to uphold the values of his constituents and that it was clear the citizens opposed merger.”
Peters said the group felt that
Peters noted that the group could have endorsed a third candidate, since there are three open seats on the BOCC, but were unable to agree on any others.
“We came close on Barry Jacobs,” he said. "Mr. Jacobs certainly deserves an honorable mention from us. He has taken a public position against merger. And he came through for the schools during the budget session last year. But there have been times when we found his support of the schools to be somewhat inconsistent.”
Weinberg said the group also considered former Carrboro mayor Mike Nelson for endorsement, but were unable to achieve a consensus.
“Mr. Nelson certainly has political experience and is a very polished public speaker and community contributor,” he said. “But when we closely examined his statements about the schools, we weren’t absolutely certain he wouldn’t back merger if it ever resurfaced. Overall, we didn’t have the level of confidence that we needed for an endorsement. For this reason, we had to pass on him. ”
Both of the incumbents clearly stated during a recent candidate education forum that merger is not a social justice issue. Several candidates during the forum stated that merger was proposed by a vocal minority to impose tax increases in the OCS district that do not appear to be supported by OCS residents.
NoMerger.org solicited responses from the 250 families who are members and the steering committee used that input during its deliberation.
NoMerger.org has sent a candidate survey to the OCS Board of Education candidates with responses due this weekend. The candidate’s answers will be published on the website.
Weinberg noted that the NoMerger.org group is a
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