Editor’s note: All candidates who responded to the Q&A have their answers printed here. UCW only edits for grammar.
Q3: Due to a lack of funds, this year we’ve seen multiple capital projects delayed, in some cases over five years. In your opinion, what projects should be at the top of UCPS’ list and why?
Q4: Closing statements. What separates you as a candidate? Why are you the right person for the seat?
Q3: Capital projects required for the structural integrity and safety of our schools should take priority, as well as projects that bring facilities into compliance with federal and state laws and regulations. Projects such as replacing or upgrading fire alarm systems, replacing boilers, upgrading wiring, providing ADA access to playgrounds and replacing roofs are examples of priority efforts.
A secondary priority level is those projects that improve the classroom or the “educational environment” (for want of a better term), as well as maintenance that cannot be deferred. Examples are replacing blackboards, renovating classrooms and media centers, and improving lighting, as well as repairing brickwork and fixing drainage.
(Both priority levels have these projects at multiple schools, so I’ve taken the liberty of not listing each individual project.)
There are certain projects that should not be undertaken in this environment. These include renovating the weight room at Weddington High, renovating the stadium at Piedmont High (absent safety issues), or upgrading sound systems in gyms and auditoriums. Projects with no real safety or educational impact should not be undertaken in this environment, no matter how much we might want them.
Q4: My background, which includes an MBA in Finance, experience leading project teams and managing budgets, and data and process analysis, is very different from that of my opponents. I have not been employed by the school system, nor am I the incumbent. I bring an outside perspective to the board.
District 6 lacks effective representation. Both of my opponents, in their own words or deeds, show that they view a board member’s role as an “at-large” one, regardless of the district they’re supposed to represent. I will champion the needs of the district, working to ensure our schools are not inequitably targeted for cuts in funding or staff in the coming years.
I also will work to make the board and central office operate in a more transparent, accountable manner. The recent controversy over the ALTS program need not have happened. There should have been open debate and community involvement well before the program was announced and implemented. Those residents who spoke out on either side of the issue should have had input into the process. I will work to ensure residents have a voice, and will act as their advocate to the board.
In closing, if you are satisfied with the representation you’ve had over the last few years, vote for either one of my opponents. If you want someone to represent your district and champion its needs, I ask that you write-in my name on November 2.
Q3: I would like to see some work done on the transportation facility in a year or two. There are so many buses throughout the county and all of them cannot be serviced since the majority of them sit on school parking lots and not in a general housing lot within the clusters. That makes them vulnerable to theft and damage. The current bus lot in Monroe cannot keep all the county buses.
I think there will need to be additions made at Sun Valley High School. Since the land is in the process of being purchased, it would be more feasible to add onto the existing school and not have to go into a further expense of building another campus. This would make better sense since High School and Middle School “D” were postponed indefinitely and there is no need for them in the foreseeable future. The Cox Road property has already been given back to the county as surplus property as well.
Technology and infrastructure will also play a major role not only for the students but for the staff and parents. Be it in the form of a Promethean board or the Microsoft server, we rely on technology in our daily lives. This also will assist in helping the schools be more environmentally friendly thus reducing the waste of paper. We can receive information via the school district website or even through an email of the school newsletter and down to the Connect-ed phone calls.
Q4: I have no personal agenda. I have the full intention of being a voice for all students sitting behind a desk in a classroom. I have played an active role in my children’s schools since day one. I have been involved with the PTA/PTSO in several capacities for the past 10 years. I have sat on a site-based committee, a parent representative for the cluster forums and a parent representative on the CIPP committee for the Exceptional Children’s department. I also was on the parents advisory council for Smart Start in Mecklenburg County.
I know I can draw from my past experiences and leadership to help be a part of the board. I believe I have the ability to remove myself out of the equation and look at the bigger picture and work for the greater good. I am loyal, honest and have a strong sense of integrity. I would come onto the board with open eyes and a clear conscience and I fully intend to vote with a clear conscience. I believe in this school system and want to see it achieve its utmost potential.
Kimberly Morrison Hansley
Q3: The UCPS BOE approved the Comprehensive Facilities Plan on January 19, 2009. This plan was developed out of a Comprehensive Facilities Study of Union County Public Schools and facilities. I certainly would feel out of my element in trying to determine which projects should be at the top of the list. The plan is very detailed about which projects will be undertaken and when. However, any adjustments to this plan, I feel should, and probably would, be made based on the need to address areas that negatively impact the learning environment and safely of students. This is mostly likely to exist in some of the older schools.
Q4: The simplest way of looking at what separates me as a candidate is that I am the incumbent. My past four years of service have been during critical concerns facing the school district; growth, raising student achievement and addressing the impacts of the economic downturn on the school system.
I am the right person for District 6, because I am knowledgeable, focused and committed.
Knowledgeable: Over the past four years, I have taken advantage of as many learning opportunities possible to better function in the role of a board member.
Focused: In spite of distractions and challenges, I remained focused on what a board member’s first and greatest concern; the educational welfare of the students in Union County Public Schools.
Committed: When running for election four years ago I purposely and intentionally did not use “growth” as a campaign platform issue. It takes a knowledgeable, focused and committed person to stay true to oneself in doing what is right, even if it is not popular. My commitment to the citizens of Union County is to always do what is right for the students of Union County Public Schools, even if it’s not popular.