SPPACE 2009 Questionnaire

1. What is the number one issue facing our school district? How would you address this issue?

If you were to remove all of the “puffery” from the skillfully crafted pr statements put out by CMS, you would see that we are making slow progress in improving student achievement. The school board still wastes entirely too much money. . . more than enough in any year to build one or more new schools. We are in the education business. We are not in the security business though we have a security force; we are not in the entertainment business yet we have our own TV channel; we are not in the transportation business yet we have more buses on the road than any transit authority in North Carolina; we are not in the sports business although the board continues to approve expensive new athletic fields and stadiums at $5.5 million each (instead of much smaller “shared” fields and stadiums) while at the same time crying “more money.” It is, in a word, disgusting. Apparently, if someone utters the phrase, “it’s for the children,” then any thought of fiscal sanity is tossed aside like yesterday’s trash. I don’t think it used to be this complicated to provide a quality education for our kids – we really seem to have lost our way.

2. Do you support the methods outlined in the superintendent’s capital report for reducing school construction costs? What other suggestions would you offer?

More standardized design; soliciting more corporate contributions, i.e., The Goodrich Auto Training School; The Wachovia Financial Business Labs, etc.; sharing athletic fields and stadiums; selling the Ed Center and surrounding land, downsizing the bureaucracy, and leasing less costly, smaller quarters elsewhere.

3. Do you support giving the school board taxing authority?

If you think governments, in general, overuse their existing taxing authority, you would be stunned at the inane, utterly clueless, and annual tax increases enacted by this school board.

4. Do you support the use of land transfer taxes and/or impact fees as a means to raise revenue for schools?

You know, if I truly thought that we desperately needed the extra money to educate our children I could support taxes and any other help we might need to accomplish that. To date, however, I see waste, unnecessary spending on non-priority items, and no effort to make any common-sense reductions. Until I see a real willingness to address the waste, I will not support any tax increase.

5. Should student enrollment caps be put in place at overcrowded schools? Please explain your position.

Only if you build new schools for the overflow.
I used to be more diplomatic, but a majority of the school board can’t (or won’t) seem to grasp the simple notion that schools need to be built and renovated where the demand is greatest. It is a quaint idea to have some schools where they have always been even when those schools may only be at 60% of capacity, but if we really claim we need more money for new schools, why do we have to place new schools in “politically sensitive” areas rather than solely where the need is. For gosh sakes, we are supposed to be a school board, not an encounter group! Shouldn’t you, the voters and taxpayers, demand that we act like one?

6. Would you support the use of an accounting system that tracks per pupil expenses and student performance at the individual school level?

If the idea is to find out what our per student expenses are at various grade levels and schools for the purpose of finding ways of bringing better education to our children at less cost . . . yes. If we are doing it for the purpose of someone “keeping score” by saying that if you spent “so much money” at this school then we need to even it up by spending “so much money” at another school. . . no.

7. Do you support the school bond referendum? Please explain your position.

I support putting the bond package on the ballot for the voters this fall.
I will make a final decision on my personal support when I review the final dollar amount and final mix of projects the bond package will include.

SPPACE 2007 Questionnaire

Paid for by Kaye McGarry for School Board Committee

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