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VOTE411 Voter Guide

School Board District 5

The nine-member Board of Education is the governing body of Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools, with five primary responsibilities: 1. Employ the superintendent 2. Establish policy 3. Determine annual operating and capital budgets 4. Approve student assignment boundaries 5. Oversee the management of the school district’s major systems, including budget and finance, curriculum and instruction, personnel and auxiliary servicesThe CMS Board of Education includes six district representatives and three at-large representatives. District and at-large representatives are elected every two years on a rotating schedule. All members serve four-year terms.
  • Candidate picture

    Margaret Marshall (N) Accountant

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    Jim Peterson (N) Process Improvement and Operational Risk management

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    Jeremy A. Stephenson (N) Attorney

Change Candidates

Biographical Information

Do you have, or have you had in the past, children in the Charlotte Mecklenburg School system?

Do you support the school bond referendum on the ballot this election? Why or why not?

Are there any problems specific to your district that you want to address if elected? Please explain.

Please reflect on the goals of the student assignment plan to reduce concentrations of poverty and suggest what cooperative actions you would like to see the Board champion to further advance the goals.

How important do you feel the pre-kindergarten experience is, and what role does (or should) local government play?

Our neighborhoods and schools are largely segregated by race and socioeconomic status. Do schools with high concentrations of poverty need additional programs to help students succeed? If so, can you suggest programs that have evidence of success?

English Language Learners (ESLs) are now a significant percentage of the school population and also a high percentage of the drop-outs. What programs would you recommend to support those students as they are enrolled and as they progress through the system?

What do you see as the pluses and minuses of charter schools?

Why should or shouldn't public funds go to private schools?

Position/philosophy statement I believe that public schools are the best way to prepare our children for academic and life success
Current occupation Community Volunteer
Age 55
Campaign Phone (980) 231-1837
YouTube video
Yes. Two daughters graduated from MPHS.
Yes. Our county is in need of new schools in newly populated areas and replacement schools for our oldest facilities in more established areas. Over 90% of our schools are at or above capacity and every day we wait to expand and update our campuses makes is that much more expensive and difficult.
I want to make sure that the pairings and the new middle school assignments which occurred as a result of the redistricting this spring are implemented to the highest level of excellence. There has been a loss of trust in CMS as a result of the redistricting process and CMS needs to be very quick to adequately staff and think through these new projects while working to repair community trust. Communication with new and existing families will be key to making this happen.
The community has long looked at CMS as the only way to reduce concentrations of poverty. New conversations about affordable housing have the potential to mix the community more organically. I am hopeful that the expansion of the magnet program will help bring people of various neighborhoods together. While I don't see a return to a large scale busing plan for CMS, I do think that the expanded use of technology has the potential to link classrooms together in different parts of the county.
Expanding Pre-k is a key component of my platform. Research shows that when children show up for kindergarten unprepared they often never catch up. I am so pleased that the County has just allocated funded subsidies for all low income children on the wait list to attend p-k. Great first step!
First we need to make sure that electives and math classes that ensure college acceptance are a part of all our campuses. We also need to expand the number of mental health professionals these students have access to so the myriad of problems they face can be addressed. Replicating programs like McPie from McClintock help parents engage with the school and empower them to help their children.
Fixing our broken immigration system is job one. Expanding programs like Circle de Luz that give students access to opportunities they didn't know they had should be a priority. The larger community will need to engage deeper with these students to create job training and career options.
Charter schools can create innovative models that can be shared across the educational spectrum. However, many charters have been created as a private schools funded with public money since these schools don't need to provide transportation or food. These are difficult for the low income to fund.
As a taxpayer I am troubled that public funds go to private schools without any accountability. There is no comparative testing, no reporting of testing unless more than 50 students receive funding, and no curriculum standards. If funding is to occur then there should be standards.
Position/philosophy statement I believe in actual change for our students via my School Performance plan & Active board leadership
Current occupation My background is in Process Improvement and finding efficiencies. My skills are vital to the board.
Age 45
Campaign Phone (704) 453-8121
Twitter @JimPetersonCMS
Yes I have 3 currently going through CMS
Yes, we have a very high need to fix our infrastructure. CMS's annual budget does not address the waning infrastructure of our schools or the expansion needs. 75 CMS schools are more than 40 years old. 11 high schools were built before 1970. They all have multiple state health inspection violations!
My district 5 as well our other districts have elementary and middle schools performing at levels of 1's, 2's, and 3's out of a high score of 10. That means a large number of our kids are slipping through the cracks and not getting the foundational math and reading skills needed and promised by the leaders on our school board. I am going to change that. I will provide new leadership that is focused on our kid's needs. My focus is on foundations and then letting our kids excel in expectations!
My focus is on the goal to "Ensure Equitable Access to High-Quality Schools." Right now, CMS has a large number of very low performing schools. I believe our number one goal needs to make sure every school is performing at a high level. I am committed to Every Kid in Every School and providing a good education. Performance is my passion for the next 4 years on our School Board and I will deliver it starting with our lowest performing elementary schools. Strong foundations create strong futures!
Learning begins at a lot earlier time then kindergarten. In a digital age when most children start educations at 2 and 3 years of age, it is critical to provide a means for all children to start learning their basic skills prior to the first day of kindergarten. I believe this is a valuable offering
Yes, and I will raise the performance of every low performing school we have in CMS as my top goal. One such way is to create/expand on in school tutoring programs. Instead of kids having to pay high cost to external tutoring companies, I will bring it back in house helping our struggling children avoid the normal gaps and provide a means for teachers to earn extra needed dollars within CMS.
I just talked with a teacher who moved in from a foreign country many years ago. He teaches at CMS and has done so for a long time. Each year however, his approval process to teach is very complicated. We have many exceptional foreign-born teachers in Charlotte. I will fill our gaps and use them!
Charter schools bring choice of educational styles. I see the success in the schools that focus on building foundations first. I believe the School Board can take the Pros of successful charter schools and apply them to CMS. We must stop the flight away from CMS and focus on our own performance!
I don't believe public funds should go to private schools. While I certainly believe in the competition and choices of private schools, I believe with funding comes accountability. My vision for CMS is to create a competitive system that starts bringing families back to us from private and charter
Position/philosophy statement Every child in every school every day. Scale up the good, attack fiercely where needed most.
Current occupation Help HR Depts and business owners on legal compliance and defend them in court through jury trials.
Age 44
Campaign Phone (704) 574-3492
Twitter @Stephenson_cms
No; Lansdowne TD insufficient, Irwin too far. MRSA
Yes. Our capital needs are vast. Too many old buildings and even newer ones need fixing, and others overcrowded.
Revolving door of superintendents makes it very hard to build public buy-in and sustain results. CMS HR Dept. is a mess, and many main issues are HR at root. Schools with 19% reading proficiency is pull-the-fire-alarm emergency needing new thinking and new partners. I am big fan of progress at Olympic through outside business. Tens of thousands of vacant jobs, and more businesses reaching straight to CMS for talent pipeline; CMS CTE must lead our upward mobility conversation.
The mission of CMS is excellent education for every child in every school, and student assignment is a blunt tool, at best, towards that mission. Schools with 19% reading proficiency is horribly unacceptable but again, student assignment is not likely to move that needle. CMS needs to work with much broader coalitions to try to address issues outside the classroom in a holistic approach to meet children where they are.
It is critically important but CMS has little role other than offering space where available, which is in short supply. City, County, NCGA, and Federal Government all play roles, but so can business. Provide local tax incentive for companies providing employees day care.
Please visit Alignment SouthWest Charlotte as it connects Olympic and its feeder middle and elementary schools with businesses and churches; Lego Robotics for everyone! In 2005, Judge Manning called Olympic "academic genocie", but it has turned around. Please look at the Truancy Courts too.
We must meet students where they are. Our ESL population is growing most rapidly and CMS has largely been flat footed. Cultural competency? How about dual language. Again an HR/talent acquisition issue in hiring teachers and staff who can help these kids. My website es en Espansol.
As a Public Charter School parent, I directly see the need they fill. There are inadequate TD resources at our neighborhood home school, and CMS magnets are too far away. Scholars Academy serves a special population. Minus is without funding for transport or food, hard to serve all students.
An odd question for CMS Board with no say in such matters. I object to funding religious schools, and want transparency and oversight, but strongest advocates for vouchers are highly diverse politically and racially. logo


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