City dominates school board races

Oct. 15 – GUILFORD COUNTY – Voters in High Point will play a major role in determining which candidates will win seats on the Guilford County School Board in the fall general election.

Candidates are running for five of the nine seats on the board that oversees Guilford County schools, and three represent districts that include High Point voters. In a race in Greensboro, incumbent Democratic President Deena Hayes has no opponent on the ballot.

School elections take place against a backdrop of debate over the vitality of the school district and its leadership. Proponents and critics offer two distinct views of Guilford County schools and very different interpretations of where the school district is now and how it should be shaped for the future.

Advocates of the current leadership say that despite all its challenges, the school system is on a trajectory for students. They cite the $1.7 billion school facility bond package that voters approved in the May 17 primary election, a landmark move that aims to improve every school in the district.

They also say Guilford County schools are taking action to address student learning loss during the coronavirus pandemic and are implementing innovative safety measures to keep schools safe.

Critics of the current leadership counter that the district suffers from a lack of leadership. They argue that the school’s current leadership has imposed unnecessary COVID-19 mask mandates, ignored parents’ wishes on topics such as teaching about race and history, and has failed. produce a comprehensive school safety strategy.

Four Republican candidates are running as a slate under the banner “New Vision, New Direction” and want to overhaul school district management. Candidates are associated with the Take Back Our Schools-GCS movement.

The Democrats hold a 6-3 advantage over the school board.

General elections are held on November 8, with early voting taking place from October 20 to November 21. 5. Here are the three races involving High Point voters:

—First-term Democratic incumbent Khem Irby takes on Republican Tim Andrew in the District 6 race. The district covers northern High Point and southwest Guilford County.

Irby said she prides herself on her record of community service and attention to key issues. On her campaign website, she lists priorities such as improving learning outcomes for every child, recruiting and retaining quality teachers and staff, investing in school safety programs and mental health and meeting facility needs.

Irby was part of the leadership during the pandemic in 2020 that offered alternative degrees that were well received by students and parents when traditional beginnings could not take place.

“I have worked to advocate for increased funding for our schools,” Irby says on his campaign website, and goes on to cite achievements such as raising the local teachers’ salary supplement and minimum wage. of the district and the passing of $2 billion in school bonds.

Andrew’s platform emphasizes accountability, transparency, responsiveness and independence of mind. Among the issues he cites on his campaign website are an emphasis on teaching the fundamentals, addressing barriers faced by teachers in the classroom, financial accountability and transparency with parents.

“School board members should be trusted public representatives for our schools and all that they impact,” Andrew tells the site. Andrew is a retired US Marine Corps officer with a professional background in project management.

— Republican Crissy Pratt and Democrat Amanda Cook face off in District 2. The seat is currently held by longtime Republican board member Anita Sharpe, who is not seeking re-election. The district covers the west and northwest of High Point.

Pratt, a lifelong educator, on her campaign website highlights issues such as revising the disciplinary policy to require a prompt and fair response when students break the rules, removing artificially inflated grades, providing age-appropriate reading materials and the promotion of parental involvement.

“The purpose of a school system is to educate students and prepare them to be functional adults, and right now Guilford County schools are failing to do that,” Pratt says on the website.

Cook, who has extensive experience as an educator, touts her background as a teacher, as well as advising and advocating for other teachers. On his campaign website, Cook highlights issues such as supporting and respecting teachers and classified employees, who face heavy workloads.

Cook also says she wants to make sure school lunch choices promote health and learning. She also wants to bring new ideas to transportation and address driver compensation and benefits.

“The Guilford County School Board has only limited power, but what power we have to galvanize and unify our community, we absolutely should use,” Cook said.

—Republican Demetria Carter and Democrat Alan Sherouse are running for the lone countywide seat. The seat is currently held by Democrat Winston McGregor, who is not seeking re-election.

On her Facebook campaign page, Carter said she opposes political indoctrination in the classroom. She also argues that student reading and math scores show the district is failing to provide a strong basic education. Carter also wants more parental involvement and more attention to school safety.

Carter graduated from Duke University Law School with professional training as a retired federal employee specializing in government contracts.

On his campaign website, Sherouse highlights a platform that includes achieving equity and closing the graduation gap between African American and white students, empowering and trusting teachers, forming effective partnerships between educators, parents, and students, affirming students of all backgrounds, and promoting learning in the classroom that offers an honest account of history.

Sherouse is trained as a religious leader and community advocate. He attended Wake Forest University School of Theology.

[email protected] — 336-888-3528 — @HPEpaul

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