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We sent a survey to OCS BOE candidates and will be updating this as we receive responses.  We requested that they be returned to us by Sunday, April 23rd and everyone but Mrs. Hallman has responded.  We will post Mrs. Hallman's response when we receive it.

 

1. If elected, would you oppose or support a county commissioner or board of education initiated merger plan in the next term of office?

Susan Hallman - (no response yet)

Tony McKnight - No, I would not support a merger.

Anne Medenblik - When the issue involves their children and their children's schools, the citizens of Orange County want a voice and they want to be heard. At this time I would oppose merger for these very same reasons.

Debbie Piscitelli - My stance on merger has been posted on my website since shortly after I filed for office (www.debbiepiscitelli.com).  I would oppose a county commissioner or a board of education initiated merger plan.  Historically, I was undecided. I was relatively new to the area and I wanted to see data, keep an open mind, and gather information. I wrote a letter to the editor and I spoke at a public hearing stating I was undecided. I signed up to receive both pro-merger and anti-merger information. Since that time, I have decided that merger would not benefit our children or our citizens.

Ted Triebel - With respect to our two school systems, I'm opposed to merger.



2. What problems besides differences in funding would school merger solve? What problems might a merger create?

Hallman - (no response yet)

McKnight - 1. Redistricting   2. Longer bus rides for all students.   3. Harder for parents to be involved with their children, and schools.   4. An increase in unrest among citizens of Northern Orange County that the Southern half of the county would take over the school board.   5.Property taxes would increase.

Medenblik - There is potential for cost savings in purchasing power, and in CH-C schools case, additional real estate becomes available for expansion. These issues must be balanced with the financial hardships for county residents without the means to pay increased taxes, the research showing students in smaller school systems and "neighborhood schools" perform better; the potential for increased transportation costs and students' time; and, most importantly, that the citizens of Orange County would potentially have no representation regarding educational issues.

Piscitelli - I cannot identify problems besides differences in funding that a school merger would solve. If we collaborate instead of merge with CHCCS, it has the potential to open up opportunities that may benefit OCS students, such as access to CHCCS-specific classes (larger array of foreign language and AP classes). If we were to merge with CHCCS, my concern would be that our district would be absorbed into the CHCCS district instead of the two districts being blended together. This concern is based on our smaller size and our smaller voting power.

Triebel - (no response)




3. Do you support a public referendum on merger to gauge the will of the people even if non-binding?

Hallman - (no response yet)

McKnight - The citizens of Northern Orange county have already addressed this issue in the past in relation of merger of the two school districts.

Medenblik - There is a lot of debate about interpreting the "will of the people" on this issue. I believe the people of the Orange County District have spoken: 78% of those who voted were against the Orange County School District tax. That's a pretty clear message to be communicated--no tax increase, and thus, no movement toward merger.

Piscitelli - I do not see a need for a public referendum since the commissioners have tabled this issue. The issue of school funding between the two districts should be the main focus of discussion and debate, not merger. Funding and merger are distinct and separate issues.

Triebel - (no response)



4. Do you support long distance busing in a merged school district?  If not, how would you prevent this?

Hallman - (no response yet)

McKnight - No,  I do not support long distance busing. In a merged school district,long distance busing could not be prevented.

Medenblik - Long distance busing is never the favored alternative. Neighborhood or smaller community schools reduce the costs of busing.

Piscitelli - I do not support long distance busing in a merged district. The issue of long bus rides already exists within the OCS District. The size of the county poses a problem as children in the far reaches of northern OC already have long bus rides (1.5 to 2 hrs one way) due to distance alone. Additionally, the ride to school from a neighborhood located 8 minutes away by car takes about 1 hour with 14 stops to reach the school by bus. By building busing criteria into the foundation of a merged district, long distance busing may best be prevented.

Triebel - (no response)



5. Do you support or oppose giving taxation authority to the board of
education?

Hallman - (no response yet)

McKnight - Yes, I support giving taxation  authority to the BOE. If the Board of Education had taxing authority, it would be harder for Orange County and Chapel Hill-Carrboro school systems to be merged.

Medenblik - Before I could support giving taxation authority to the board of education there would need to be much more discussion with the citizens and more in depth research. We would need to be sensitive to the citizens who will be affected by higher taxes and are also least able to afford them.

Piscitelli - No. I donít think the OCS Board should have taxation authority because:   1) It would become too easy to lose sight of what is best for the children of Orange County. Board members should run for office because they care about public education, not because they want to control taxes.   2) From a long-term standpoint, I donít think OCS wants a situation where a district tax is required to fund 1/3 or more of our budget.   3) When money and priorities are involved, it is always important to have a system of checks and balance. It ensures responsible spending.

Triebel - (no response)


6. Did you participate in ROB-CH?

Hallman - (no response yet)

McKnight - No

Medenblik - No

Piscitelli - No

Triebel - (no response)

 



 

 


The opinions expressed on this site are the opinions and copyright of the individuals who submitted the information.  

Material which is not clearly attributed may be attributed to "a supporter of NoMerger.org".  Copyright 2004, NoMerger.org.

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