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WYDaily sent an identical questionnaire to each candidate running for the District 4 seat on the York County School Board.
Incumbent R. Page Minter faces newcomer Stephen Roane in the race. Minter’s answers are unedited and presented below.
The election takes place Nov. 3.
Read a completed questionnaire from Roane here.
1. What are the three major issues facing the school district right now? How would you address those issues?
- Employee Compensation
- I would address this issue with the ongoing lobbying of our state legislators to restore the lost funding from the state in recent years addressing compensation. I would also push for a rigorous review of the employee benefits packages to enhance the benefits as well as reduce cost if possible.
- Population growth in the county
- I would address this issue by closely monitoring the present and projected student enrollment and the schools ability to serve the increased growth. For the school/s impacted by increased enrollment a determination would need to be made as to whether it was considered temporary or permanent for the next step/s. If it were temporary, more than likely mobile learning cottages would be used to address it. If it were permanent the approach would be to add class rooms to a school pending available grounds, adjusting attendance zones in area were school space is underutilizes, and finally the building of a new school.
- Bus Replacement
- I would address this issue with a stringent review of the buses on the line for replacement for their worthiness to remain in service for a short while. If the total funds to replace a bus/s were not available I would encourage that a lease purchase plan be considered to obtain a bus/s.
2. Population data suggests several school zones face an overcrowding problem in the coming years if adjustments are not made. Beyond the new elementary schools slated to be built in the Magruder and York zones, what strategies would you support to address the issue? Why?
- Leaning Cottages (Mobile Units) if the growth was deemed temporary
- Adjusting attendance zones depending on available underutilized space within our other schools reasonably located
- Renovation to schools to add addition class rooms provided that there are available grounds to do so
3. What budget items would you want to ensure are fully funded and not cut back as the York County School Division builds its fiscal 2017 budget?
- Employee compensation
- Career and Technical Educational Programs
- Technology Refurbishment
4. Later start times for high-schoolers is currently in serious consideration by both the York County School Board and the division’s administration. Do you support later start times for these students? Why or why not?
- I support the health benefits of a later start time, but my full support is pending on the following: That the board be advised by medical specialists and other school divisions that have already implemented later start times; that students, parents, the community, and businessmen are fully informed on the pros and cons of initiating a later time; knowing the financial impact it would have on the school division; and inputs from students, parents, the community, and business on how they would be impacted.
5. Which school improvement projects do you think need to be priority items for the school division? Why?
- Construction of a new Elementary School to address overcrowding and population growth
- Maintaining roofs on our building to kept the building dry
- Maintaining the HVAC Systems in all our building to promote a healthy and comfortably learning and working environment
6. Talk about the achievement gap in York Schools. Are the current strategies to close the gap working? Why or why not? What are your ideas to help progress in this area?
- As a division we are making great progress in closing the gap as evidenced by the following data:
- Middle School SOL Reading performance for Gap Group 2 (Black Students) has improved by double digits at all 4 middle schools over the past year
- Middle School SOL Math performance for Gap Group (Black Students) has improved at all schools.
- There were double digit gains in math performance at 3 of 4 middle schools for Gap Group 2 (Black Students)
- The difference between Black Student performance in high school Math SOL performance and All Students is less than 10 percentage points
- The difference between Black Student performance in high school Reading SOL performance and All Students is less than 9 percentage points
- The gap between all Black students in Middle School and Black students enrolled in advanced classes is 4.1 percent. Each Year for the past three years YCSD has reduced the gap. (Black students make up 13 percent of the general middle school population, this year Black students make up 8.9 percent of students enrolled in advanced classes)
- These gaps are less than neighboring school divisions
- To help progress in this area I would insist that administration be ever vigilant over student data to determine early on areas of gap and set in place measures to close them
7. How would you describe the working relationship between the school board and the Board of Supervisors? What can the school board do to improve or enhance this relationship?
- There is a mutual respect for each of our governing responsibilities.
- The school board can enhance the communication process with the supervisors by keeping them apprised on the status of the school division and its’ future needs to eliminate surprises.
8. How well do you feel the school board members work together? What do you feel you can bring to the school board’s dynamic?
- I feel that the School Board works very collaboratively together with respect for each other’s contributions to achieve the best possible educational opportunities for our students.
- I feel that I bring the following to the school board’s dynamic:
- A collaborative working relationship
- A willingness to listen and learn in all decision making processes
- In-service experience with an extensive historical back round
- A sincere dedication for the educational well-being of all students, the community, and what it means to the future for all of us.
- Advocacy for Career and Technical Education. My advocacy was recently recognized with me being inducted into the Virginia Career and Technical Education Hall of Fame