• 30°

Election 2015 — School Board Drakes Branch District

Incumbent

Ned Locke

1.  What is the biggest issue facing the school division and how do you plan to address it?

I see public education as an investment in the future. My chief concern is the reduction in education funds coming from the state and the increasing requirements for localities to absorb this reduction in funding by increasing their local expenditures. 

Rural school systems such as ours are at a real disadvantage with the current formula used in Virginia to distribute school funds. 

We have worked for years to use our resources as efficiently as possible. We are starting next year’s budget planning, and are continuing to contact our legislators asking them to support increasing state funding for schools. 

2.  Two options have been presented in an effort to replace the county’s elementary schools, ranging from $14 to 26 million in cost. What option or plan do you support in upgrading the schools?

I favor building one elementary school which would consolidate our three existing schools.  None of our aging elementary schools are adequate for the educational or security needs of today’s students. We are spending the taxpayers’ money on maintenance and energy that could be put to better use for instruction. A new school is the best and quickest way to provide equal educational opportunities for all of our elementary students, regardless of where they live. 

It also provides the lowest long-term net costs for the county, due to potential savings in energy usage, transportation, fees for technology, etc.

3. What steps should the division take to increase student Standard of Learning scores?

We are blessed with wonderful teachers and staff, and are proud of our SOL test results.  In Region 8 (Charlotte & nearby counties) we led the way in four of the five content areas tested.  We met or exceeded the state average on over two-thirds of all the tests.  However, we realize that some areas do need improvement. We are working on protecting and maximizing instructional time through efficient and well-planned scheduling. We also invest in remediation efforts that reduce class sizes and increase instruction time in small groups taught by highly qualified teachers.

Gloria Talbott

1.  What is the biggest issue facing the school division and how do you plan to address it?

Not necessarily the biggest issue facing the school division but low morale appears to be an important issue at the present time.

Recently the morale of some of the employees of the school system seems to be at an all time low. 

Work needs to be done to boost morale of all employees through any means available.

2.  Two options have been presented in an effort to replace the county’s elementary schools, ranging from $14 to 26 million in cost. What option or plan do you support in upgrading the schools?

With the recent decision from the Board of Supervisors, the School Board will have to re-evaluate the options available and chose the best one for our young people and for our community. 

The fact is that funds will have to be acquired for any decision that is made and implemented.

3.  What steps should the division take to increase student Standard of Learning scores?

The SOL scores for Charlotte County are very good when compared to schools in our region. 

Improvement is what every teacher strives for every day.  Teaching a child is a community effort with teacher support, parent support, tutoring support, and mentoring support. 

The community needs to step up and be a part of the village to help our youth to be the best that they can be.