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Chatham school board candidate Angela Milsaps responses to Democratic party questionaire

Posted Monday, October 27, 2014

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Pittsboro, NC - The Chatham County Democratic Party sent a questionnaire on education issues to all candidates for the Chatham County School Board. School Board candidate for district 4 Angela Millsaps has given the Chatham Journal permission to reprint her responses here.

1.Why are you interested in serving on the Chatham Board of Education?

I am interested in serving on the Board of Education because I have a passion for Chatham County Schools. I believe in the best possible education for all students and would like to be a part of that process in Chatham County. I believe the job will be two-fold: first as a representative of District 4 and then to take my knowledge/experiences in the schools and community of District 4 to the Board where as a team the best decisions can be made for all our our great schools across the county. I have lived in Siler City most of my life. As a part of the community and my 10 years of volunteering in the schools, I have had the opportunity to connect with parents, teachers and students. Because of our connections, they have bestowed their confidence on me as someone who will hear them; help find answers to concerns and defend what is best for all children. I have been a member of the Siler City Lions Club for 24 years and have worked with other Lions across our county. Those connections as well as the connections that I have made with over 50 other agencies/organizations across our county has allowed me to meet/connect with many people and learn more about their communities and the agencies that they represent. Chatham County Schools has much to be proud of but as with any entity there is always room for growth and improvement. I believe that I bring many talents to the table but most importantly, I will bring the interests/concerns of parents, teachers and students as well as other community stakeholders.

2.What do you see are the major issues facing public education this year?

First and foremost is being sure that every student has the opportunity to graduate with the best set of academic and social skills possible. Those skills should carry them forward whether to college or a trade. 2) Locally, the Board continues to find ways to creatively and effectively work within the limits of monies and regulations placed on education by the state and federal governments. 3) Teachers need to know that they are valued. Not only do they need to be supported monetarily but also as respected voices when decisions are being made concerning the classroom.

3.How do you perceive the county’s role in influencing state education policy, particularly as it related to the funding of schools and policies affecting teacher working conditions?

First have a working knowledge (not an opinion or political slant) of what actually goes on in the classroom and listen to the teachers as well as parents and students. Then that knowledge will allow them to be the best advocates possible.

4.What is your position on:

a) Online virtual charter schools: There are times when online classes are needed especially if a student has exceeded all opportunities provided in a subject by their local

school. However, I do not believe that an online school benefits the student long-

term. Education is not only about academics. Direct social interaction is important in developing the necessary social skills to live and work in the world.

b)Vouchers and education tax credits: Too much of state and federal monies are being taken from public schools. Most private institutions have scholarships and financial aid resources.

c)Current funding for public schools: Again, too much of state and federal monies are being taken from public shools.

d)Merit Pay for Teachers: All teachers must be held accountable. If they are performing and funds are available, they should be rewarded.

e)A-F grading system for schools: Accountability is important but I do not believe that any grading system is fool-proof nor do they tell the whole story of any school.

f)Employee transfer policy: This policy is multi-faceted. In Chatham County, voluntary transfers are accepted between the end of the school year and to a designated time decided upon by the

County Leadership Team. That date was July 15 this year. Administrative transfers (those initiated by the District) are most often made based on need. For example, prior to the 2014- 2015 school year, Teacher Assistants were transferred to other schools where there was need in order to maintain employment. Had the transfers not been made, jobs would have been lost.

g)Local Supplements: In Chatham County, supplements for certified employees are based on years of experience and level of degree. Non-certified employee supplements are done as a flat rate.

h)Tenure - due process: All teachers must be held accountable. Tenure should be a benefit and not a guarantee. School systems should not be required to keep a low performing teacher due to tenure.

i)Diversity goals: Chatham County is a very diverse county. Diversity in our schools benefits students academically and socially.
5. How do you describe your values?

I believe in the best education possible for all students. I believe in honesty and teaching our children to be honest and upstanding citizens.

I believe all persons have value and potential. I also believe in communities working together to provide safe and healthy environments for all citizens. I believe in the Christian values and morals taught to me by my parents.
6. What are your thoughts about the NCGA’s legislative policy and education?

Politics should be taken out of education. School systems can benefit from ideas and strageties from anyone who has as their best interest the education of well-rounded and academically prepared students to be the best citizens possible.

7. What are your thoughts about the current GOP’s majority’s policies regarding public education?

Politics should be taken out of education. School systems can benefit from ideas and strageties from anyone who has as their best interest the education of well-rounded and academically prepared students to be the best citizens possible.

8. What should the Chatham Board of Education be doing today in order to meet the expected historic growth of the county?

The Board should continue to be informed of the changes that are occurring through available studies, birth rates, etc. They should continue to be an active participant in all long range planning committees. Continuing to be forward thinkers is important as they explore the many opportunities that growth and increased revenue will mean for our school system

9. In determining where to locate new schools in the county, what would be your top five considerations?

1) Sustainable growth; 2) building/land conditions of existing schools and their campuses; 3) Sustainable revenue; 4) Populations of existing schools and 5) Availability of suitable, sustainable land for a school campus

10. Our lowest performing schools (in terms of standardized test scores) are also those schools with the highest concentration of both socio economically disadvantaged students and English Language Learners. What strategies, including student assignment changes, would you recommend to ensure progress for those at-risk students and a supportive teaching environment for staff?

The first step would be to study/access each school based on its own merits and climate. Every school is different and requires different solutions/strategies. Then based on those findings, evaluation of all possible resources in and out of the school system is important. These resources should provide teacher/classroom support as well as student mentoring and parent education. Skilled volunteers and higher performing students could serve as mentors. Organizations such as the Boys and Girls Club and Communities in Schools provide resources outside of school for students and their families. Having community stakeholders become involved strengthens any school no matter its makeup. Financially, there are foundations and grant opportunities for programs for students. I would also suggest connecting teachers with as many continuing education opportunities as possible with little expense incurred by them.

Respectfully submitted by Angela Millsaps

District 4 Candidate for the Board of Education


amillsaps@fumcsilercity,org

919-742-6116

 
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Chatham school board candidate Angela Milsaps responses to Democratic party questionaire
 
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