September 19, 2017

Responses to League of Women Voters Voter Guide (vote411.org)

By James Barrett

Vote411.org listing of CHCCS candidates

  • Please explain why you are running for this office and what experiences you have had that prepare you this job.
    • Our schools are headed in the right direction with the right administrative leadership, but we need effective board members to continue to hold the district to high standards for all students and ensure accountability and transparency. After 6 years on the board, 2 as chair, I have deep knowledge of the issues and potential solutions. My IT background overseeing multimillion-dollar budgets, 2 decades of volunteering with youth, and experience as a Justice United founder all inform my thinking.
  • List 3 issues you consider to be important that should be addressed within the next two years.
    • Strong implementation of the equity plan to enable better outcomes for all students, so that every student–no matter what level–learns and grows, measurably, every day, every year.
    • Focus on innovative, engaging instruction
    • Continue progress on transparency in our budget process. So far, we have added a 2-pager explaining how our money is used (tinyurl.com/chccsbudget). We should enhance this to clearly show individual program expenses, and ensure budget decisions reflect student needs.
  • What 3 ways do you see that funds can be allocated for your stated (in Question 2) priorities?
    • The biggest change we need to make is an overhaul of our budget process, in which we will align our spending very clearly with the needs of every student. Such priority-based budgeting that takes into account varying levels of need would force administrators and the board to think even more carefully about how we follow through on our stated priorities.
  • What do you see as some of the strengths of the Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools?
    • We maintain a strong commitment to having a diverse student population in every school. We have an engaged community that strongly supports public education and the goals we hold for every student. We have great teachers who care for all students. And we have strong district leadership laser-focused on equity, innovation, and ensuring that every student is learning, every day.
  • What is equity in classroom and how can we achieve it?
    • Equity means ensuring that each student has all the proper support needed to reach their full potential, regardless of race, class, socioeconomics, gender, ethnicity, sexual orientation, cognitive/physical ability, language fluency, or religion. Our plan for achieving this, passed by the board this year, has many components that I believe will lead to success; it can be accessed at tinyurl.com/chccsequity.

 

Position/philosophy statement: Chapel Hill/Carrboro schools are poised for more positive change—if the school board continues to push our community’s values. So I’m running for re-election to continue to hold the district accountable on its promises.


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