CMS District 2 Board of Education Candidates Share Their Views

Oct 26, 2017

The election for Charlotte Mecklenburg's school board will take place on Nov. 7.  There are six seats up for grabs in the district with incumbents seeking re-election in three of them. WFAE sent a list of questions to all of the school board candidates about their backgrounds and thoughts on a few issues the district is facing, including student assignment and school bonds.  

Here are their responses, some edited for brevity:

DISTRICT 2

Thelma Byers-Bailey

Occupation:  Retired family law attorney

CMS school board member Thelma Byers-Bailey
Credit submitted

  

Candidate history: I ran and won a seat on the CMS Board of Education for District 2, which I currently hold

 

What will be your priorities if elected?

My issue four years ago when I ran was the insensitive decisions the school board made when it closed schools in my district. That was a facilities issue then and my focus now is still facilities. As chair of the Facilities and Operations committee, I continue to be distressed over CMS' ability to build and open brand new schools that immediately need trailers because they are overcrowded.  I want to return to the board to make sure that fiasco does not continue to be the case with the schools on this next bond.

 

What is your position on the school bond issue?

I absolutely support our bond, not only because of the benefit to District 2 which finally receives some much-needed relief, but also because of the billions of dollars of need that CMS will have throughout the system if the bond does not pass.

 

How do you feel about the student assignment plan?

Our student assignment plan came in phases.  I am thrilled with Phase 1, which addressed diversity in our magnet schools.  I am disappointed with several aspects of Phase 2 which left our neighborhood schools segregated.

 

What needs to happen to improve low-performing schools and make CMS schools more racially and economically diverse?

I believe spreading our magnet programs and themes throughout our neighborhood schools is one solution that has the potential of making all our schools, places of choice.  As we implement more early childhood education efforts for all communities, I believe all our kindergarteners will arrive at the school house ready to learn without the need for remediation. In the meantime, we must do everything necessary to meet the needs of the students where they are and growing them at least two years for every one year of schooling.  We have schools that are doing that today. All our students are capable of learning.

Lenora Shipp

Occupation:  Retired teacher and principal

 

Lenora Shipp
Credit submitted

  

Candidate history: First-time running for an elected office

 

What will be your priorities if elected?

I will look at providing and advancing academic excellence for all students in CMS through diversity, equity and equality so that our students are career and college ready. I believe the anchors for our children’s success lie with the following: meeting the needs of all students; strengthening parent involvement; investing in effective faculty and staff; producing a climate for diversity and safe schools; and holding all stakeholders accountable for student achievement.

What is your position on the school bond issue?

I  support the school bond. We need school buildings that enable innovative teaching and learning. These bonds are extremely important in District 2 in the West and especially in the Southwest where there continues to be much growth and development.

 

How do you feel about the student assignment plan?

The new plan is a good start but did not go far enough. We still need to increase the level of diversity. We also need to look at the facilities in the neighborhoods to ensure that they are brought up to standards. I believe if equity and diversity are addressed and the playing field is equal in terms of having highly qualified teachers and staff, parents would probably not choose to opt out of these schools.

 

What needs to happen to improve low-performing schools and make CMS schools more racially and economically diverse?

It can happen by investing in policies and practices to hire and retain effective faculty; increasing pay and providing incentives for student growth and success; more support for administrators and teachers; reducing class size; strong instructional leadership; and embracing our community’s diversity and using it to enhance the educational environment.

Tags: