As part of our participation in the democratic
process, we gave questionnaires to all candidates for OCS Board of Education,
and solicited their response.
We are not planning to endorse OCS BOE candidates,
but we want our membership to know where candidates stand.
Here are the questions and answers (100 word max):
1. If elected, would you oppose or support a
county commissioner or board of education initiated merger plan in the next term
No response. We received
confirmation that the email was received.
No response. We spoke to
Mrs. Brown via phone and confirmed receipt.
continue to oppose merger, because it is not needed. What is needed is
more funding. We have to find ways to doing it. I personally don't think
it had to be "equal" just "enough" to get the job done on
a continuous (yearly) basis.
I would oppose either plan in
this or any future term of office. I believe in the diversity that two
systems provide. I believe in smaller systems, smaller schools, and
smaller class sizes.
If elected, would you oppose
or support a county commissioner or board of education initiated merger
plan in the next term of office? I do and would oppose such a plan
unless there was an overwhelmingly compelling reason for it, which I
cannot contemplate. Furthermore, by the very definition of county
commissioner initiated plan (see county manager's report on merger to
the commissioners and the public), the school board would have no role
in such a plan.
I would oppose a
county commissioner or school board initiated merger plan in the next
term of office.
No response. We received
confirmation that the email was received.
2. What problems besides differences in
funding would school merger solve? What problems might a merger create?
Schools is a very good school district that will continue to get better.
The challenge we have in funding so that can offer the types of
instruction that we know is needed to move our students and district to
the next level and be the school district we are capable of being.
[first part] I can see none.
1. Merger would mean an utter loss of local
control for Orange County residents.
2. There would be a dilution of the amount and substance of local
culture reflected in the school system.
3. An enormous and unproductive bureaucracy would form which would make
the new system less responsive to students and parents.
4. Compartmentalization of functions would lead to insulation from
public scrutiny. Inefficiency would naturally follow.
5. Bussing would surely increase.
6. Merger would bring sizeable tax increases for those least capable of
7. It would cause a years-long suspension of increases in the Chapel
Hill District Tax while the County "catches up." [remainder removed due
to word limit]
It would remove the county
schools from the increasing dysfunction of the County School Board. It
might require less tax dollars (debatable) for at least the near future.
The negatives are primarily loss of opportunity for local control,
especially for the county. Under a merged system, there could be a
greater discrimination in funding between county and city schools, and
even within the prior systems. As an exageration, there would be no
legal basis to disallow funding Chapel High School 20 million and Orange
High School 1 million.
I don't think it
would solve any problems in funding, a study was made concerning this
very issue and the results were that none to very little money would be
saved. The problems it would create would be related to the makeup
of the Staff, Superintendents, Associate Superintendents. there would
be the problem of busing, deciding which schools students would be
assigned, the subjects taught and where. There would have to be a total
reorganization of the entire school system. The make-up of the School
Board would also change. There are numerous other adjustments that
would have to be made.
3. Do you support a public referendum on
merger to gauge the will of the people even if non-binding?
In my opinion
to have a public referendum on merger countywide which could pass or
fail with out the voice of Northern Orange would not be the answer.
I support a
public referendum among the citizens of Northern Orange on a district
Tax for our School district. First.
In principle, I am in favor of
public input into government policy. While there is some disagreement on
the intent of the merger statue, the letter of the law seems to permit
referenda. It appears to me that the BoCC would have done well to
include a non-binding referendum on merger as a part of regularly
Absolutely not. The outcome is
fore-ordained, and it would be a waste of time and taxpayer money.
I firmly believe that
the people should always have an opportunity to have a voice in anything
that affects them.
4. Do you support long distance busing in a
merged school district? If not, how would you prevent this?
rides are not new for the students of OCS because of the square miles
area of our district. Remember that 85% of the appro. 400 square miles
of the county is in the OCSD area of operation. I would not support any
I would prevent long distance
bussing in a merged district by not merging the districts in the first
place. Long distance bussing would be a fact of life in a merged system.
It's unavoidable, unless of course we build a lot more schools. That's
not a bad idea, but one that comes with a prohibitive price tag.
Since this is what we do in
the county, this is not much of an issue to us. But I was raised in a
small town and rode my bicycle to school every day, so I appreciate
local schools. In a merger situation, I think that "no busing" could be
a "non-negotiable." There would be a premium to pay, however, because
this would negate much of the economic benefit of merger.
I have never believed
in long distant busing even within the district. However with
the county so widespread it's almost impossible not to have some busses
travel longer distances that others. Merger would make the trips even
longer and it couldn't be prevented.
5. Do you support the siting and building of
neighborhood schools as the center of a walk-able, sustainable community?
Of course the
is preferable in most cases in northern orange that would mean that all
our schools would be in Hillsborough, and that is not where the citizens
or students are, we are building communities and economic development
with our schools and looking where the large areas are growth are and
expected growth in the future. I do support and advocate for a
sustainable communities and we ask all future development to work on
making all new developments walk able and side walks and trails that
help us to connect
Again, this is a city system
perspective. Sure, I support this concept wherever feasible. For much or
most of the county, this is not a possibility even when schools are
located less than a half mile away. They tend to be on busy highways
with no sidewalks, such as NC 86, where no reponsible parent would send
their child to walk or cross.
Within reason, I
believe that it should be as convenient as we can possible make it for
6. Did you participate in ROB-CH?
No I did not.
No I did not