Sept. 26, 2023
Fourteen people are on the Nov. 7 ballot for three at-large seats on the Mecklenburg Board of Education. The Forum split the group, with six of the first seven heard Sept. 19, and six of the other seven heard this morning. In the second group,Tigress McDaniel did not attend this morning.
Lenora Shipp is the only incumbent running and she focused her comments on what the board has already set in motion to address the many issues raised during this session.
Examples of ways in which the candidates saw CMS has having failed to meet their students’ needs ranged widely. There was teacher pay and retention, resegregation of schools, low achievement, allegations of undisclosed redirection of funds to administrative expenses and coverups of health issues in school buildings.
The morning’s panel was split on the wisdom of asking voters to approve a $2.5 billion school building construction and renovation bond fund. Objections mentioned included the tax rate hikes likely required by passage of the bonds, and that construction and renovation plans were designed by CMS administrations no longer on the scene.
With the size of the panel, time was limited, so candidates mostly dispensed with narrations of their background, education and previous public service. But perhaps viewers of the video below will gain some understanding of how these candidates react to issues of the day, and how they deal with one another.
Every election or so, the community has an opportunity to reassess the CMS Board of Education’s stewardship. Last year’s election turned out most of the district representatives. This year’s will return at most one of the three at-large members. There is a serious problem with such widespread and rapid turnover, and in her summary statement Shipp obliquely named it.
“I’ve now had four years on the ground and I now understand governance,” she told the in-person and livestream audience. “It didn’t happen overnight. It took me [until] now to say this is what we need to do.”