Note: Citizens Advocating Responsible Education (CARE) of Beaufort County sent questionnaires to candidates in Tuesday’s special election for the school board vacancy in District 3. All four responded to CARE’s query and have been shared with the Beaufort Gazette.
1. Nepotism has been a controversial topic ever since it was revealed that Superintendent Jeff Moss unilaterally changed the nepotism administrative rule enabling his wife to be hired for a $90,000 a year job as Director of Innovation. Subsequently, the school board adopted a new policy on nepotism that is weaker than what was on the books before. In fact, as it now stands, the Superintendent’s wife could be hired again for a front-office position. What do you think would make for a fair and equitable policy on nepotism?
A. I think the school board should look at policy, procedure and experience before allowing husband/wife to step into a position he/she is not qualified. I think this sort of manipulation compromises, diminish and weakens education at the highest level. This cripples our educational system and take away what our students and teachers are striving for, excellence.
2. In 2015, more than 200 teachers left the Beaufort County School District. What should the school district do to attract and retain qualified teachers?
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A. The Beaufort County School District should strive for excellence. They should make sure our teachers are equipped with strategies and continuous learning that promote success. In addition, make sure our teachers are keeping up with the cost of living, particularly in this area.
3. There has been a huge achievement gap between white and black students for the last 15 years. What remedies would you advocate to close the gap that have not been tried before?
A. I would like to see the following: 1. Increase the Graduation Rate by closing the Achievement Gap through early (educational) intervention and engagement in programs that supports education; and 2. Assist youth in navigating their future using technology to improve career pathways for better employment outcomes.
4. Should the performing arts center at Whale Branch Early College High School be funded by “8 percent money” or be included in a referendum to taxpayers?
A. The Whale Branch Early College High School should have been build using the bond referendum that was passed in 2000. Why should students at the Whale Branch Early College be deprive when all other High Schools in Beaufort County are afforded a wide array of opportunities to explore their gifts.
5. If elected to the school board, what would be your top three priorities?
First: Closing the Achievement Gap through early intervention.
Second: I would like to assist our youth in navigating their future using technology to improve career pathways for better employment outcomes.
Third: I would like to see a skills center built so that student have a place to go after school to improve their educational skills, explore their gifts and obtain job training.
6. The modification of the nepotism policy by the superintendent to facilitate the hiring of his wife was initially responsible for the lack of public trust in the Beaufort County School District. The subsequent actions of the majority of school board members, including their positive performance appraisals of the superintendent, have continued to fuel mistrust in the school board. How would you propose to “win back” the public’s trust?
A. To win back the public’s trust you must be honest, truthful and forthcoming with the facts. Without honesty, truthfulness and factual information, there is no “public’s trust.”
7. Would you support the school board hiring its own attorney since attorney Drew Davis is supposed to represent the school district yet he reports directly to Superintendent Jeff Moss? If not, why not?
A. Yes, I will support the school board hiring its own attorney so that there will be no bias when interpreting the facts.
8. Two months ago, the Board imposed an illegal, public Censure on a Board member for having publicly disagreed with Board decisions and other board matters. Do you think it’s appropriate for members to speak their mind to the public?
A. The School Board Members must be reminded that they represent the community in which they serve. If this censure was illegal than this board has some work to do.
9. Every candidate offers unique experience. How would your experience benefit the school district by serving on the board?
A. Having worked in the Beaufort County School System for over 28 years and served as a teacher and administrator gives me a voice for students, teachers and community.
10. It appears that a majority of the board members are committed to “business as usual.” If you are a “change” candidate, how would you go about effecting change?
A. Let’s put the focus back on the community we serve.