Triple-Team Campaign Coverage for 2/15/08

Kudos and thank yous to Paul Clark at The Rhino Times, Katisha Hayes at the Enterprise and Morgan Josey-Glover at the News & Record for the unprecedented “triple-team” coverage in today’s/this week’s editions.


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GUILFORD COUNTY – Several school board representatives have said they are making careful decisions about whether to run for re-election.
Filing for the 2008 elections started on Monday. The year’s filing period ends noon Feb. 29.

So far, two people have filed for the six seats open on the Guilford County Board of Education.

Kris Cooke, who has served on the board since 1997 and represents Dis­trict 7, filed on Monday as well as David Crawford, who is seeking the at-large seat held by veteran school board mem­ber Dot Kearns.
Kearns said Thursday afternoon she was not ready to make a statement on whether she is running for re-election. Kearns, a former two-term county com­missioner, said a number of her constit­uents have urged her to serve one more term.

Erik Huey, an unofficial at-large can­didate who has been campaigning since December 2006, said he will hold out until the end of the month to file. In the meantime, Huey is considering whether to vie for the seat in District 5, which Anita Sharpe is retiring from after near­ly 20 years of service.
“I’m a realist and a political newcom­er,” Huey said. “To run an at-large race would be expensive, although this cam­paign is not about money. I’m looking to serve children in either capacity in the district seat or at-large seat. I’m examin­ing both alternatives.”

Among the school board seats up for election are Districts 1, 3, and 9.
District 1 representative Walter Childs is taking the time to survey the commu­nity for feedback but has not decided whether he will run again. “I’m just seeing whether I have been effective or not,” Childs said Thursday.
Amos Quick, who has served District 9 for four years and currently is the board’s vice chairman, is “overwhelm­ingly certain” he will seek re-election.


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Candidates file for school board seats

By Morgan Josey Glover
Staff Writer
Friday, Feb. 15, 2008

Two Greensboro residents have emerged so far as candidates for six open seats on the Guilford County Board of Education.

Kris Cooke, who currently represents District 7, and David Crawford filed with the board of elections Monday. Filing ends Feb. 29.

Cooke, 61, has served on the board since 1997. She said she wants to help the board pass $457 million worth of school bonds this year.

“I just feel like there’s a lot of work that I still want to accomplish,” Cooke said.

Crawford, who has unsuccessfully run for City Council seats in Winston-Salem and Greensboro, has filed for the at-large seat occupied by Dot Kearns of High Point.

Crawford, 42, is a community volunteer who formerly owned a computer store.

Other than expressing a general dissatisfaction with the state of Guilford County Schools, Crawford said he would like to see students attend classes year-round. He said he didn’t know if his chances of beating Kearns in an election were strong.

“Dot Kearns is not a bad candidate,” Crawford said. “I actually like her.”

Kearns, 76, who has served on the board since 1992, said she has not decided if she will seek re-election.

“I’ve certainly given it thought and talked about it with some folks,” she said.

If Kearns does run, she could face at least two competitors. Erik Huey, a former reporter and teacher living in Jamestown, said he would file for either the at-large or District 5 seats. So far, Huey is sizing up his competition.

“I am waiting to see how the filing goes,” said Huey, who announced his planned candidacy in November 2006. “We’ve got a lot of things that we want to do. We want to see what the easiest path to victory is.”

Huey, 36, has spoken at several school board meetings and is a critic of the district’s spending, construction of schools and management of student behavior.

Anita Sharpe, 56, has represented District 5 for the past 17 years.

Sharpe said she will retire from the board to spend more time with her job and grandchildren.

Walter Childs, 60, said he has not made a decision about whether to run again for the District 1 seat.

Childs is surveying constituents to see if he has done an effective job representing the district, he said.

“If I have not (served effectively) I’ll help them find someone,” Childs said. “I don’t believe in staying in something if you don’t have the support of the district.”

Darlene Garrett, 53, of District 3 was out of town this week but said in an e-mail that she planned to file once she returns next week.

Amos Quick, 39, said he is “98 percent to 99 percent sure” he will seek his second term representing District 9.

Quick said he awaits an OK from his daughters, Jasmine and Raven, who will graduate from high school in 2009 and 2010.

“It’s very important to me that I spend time with them,” Quick said.


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School Board Race Gets Underway, Slowly

by Paul Clark
Staff Writer

February 14, 2008
Filing for the May primary and November general election opened on Monday, and it appears the election will bring some changes to the Guilford County Board of Education.

Longtime District 5 school board member Anita Sharpe is bowing out; District 7 school board member Kris Cooke has filed to run for reelection; a new candidate already filed, and another has stated his intention to run. Filing is open until Feb. 29.

David Crawford, who last year ran a bizarre, on-again, off-again campaign for Greensboro City Council against Mike Barber, and announced he had filed to run against Sixth District Rep. Howard Coble, on Monday filed as a candidate for the seat now held by at-large school board member Dot Kearns.

A total of six seats on the school board will come up for reelection this year: the District 1 seat currently held by school board member Walter Childs, the District 3 seat of Darlene Garrett, the District 5 seat of Sharpe, the District 7 seat of Cooke, the District 9 seat of Amos Quick, and Dot Kearns’ at-large seat.

Garrett and Quick will likely run for reelection, Sharpe has said she will not, and Childs and Kearns have not yet signaled their intentions.

Sharpe said clearly that she will not run for reelection.

“I just think it’s time,” Sharpe said. Board Chairman “Alan Duncan says he’s going to change my mind, but I don’t think it’s going to happen,” she said.

Sharpe’s decision throws her seat, representing southeastern Guilford County, into play.

A second contender, Erik Huey, said he will run, but has not yet filed. Huey created his campaign committee in a filing with the county on Sept. 7, 2007, and announced he would run for Kearns’ at-large seat. This week he said he will probably file in the last week before the Feb. 29 filing deadline, but has not yet made the strategic decision whether to continue to run at large, possibly against incumbent and political powerhouse Kearns, or to run for the open seat in District 5.

“I have literally been bombarded with calls and emails asking me to run for the District 5 seat instead of the at-large seat,” Huey said.

Huey’s campaign shows signs of organization.

For months he has run a popular blog on Guilford County Schools issues, held press conferences and spoken at school board meetings. His website is loaded with position papers and press releases.

Huey, a former teacher in Guilford and Randolph counties, journalist and public-relations specialist, said a run for Sharpe’s district seat is tempting, given Kearns’ political strength.

“I would love to take her on,” Huey said of Kearns, a former chairman of the Guilford County Board of Commissioners. “At the same time, I’m a realist. I’m coming in as a political newcomer.”

Terrina Picarello, president of the executive board of the Guilford County Council of PTAs, said Huey seemed to be mounting a strong effort.

“I think Erik Huey has been definitely active,” said Picarello. “But running against Dot Kearns is like running against Coke or Nike. That name, Dot Kearns, is a really strong, iconic brand. I think if she wants to run again, she will keep her seat.”

Picarello said Sharpe’s exit from the board will be “a great loss.”

“A lot of people focused on her ability to crunch numbers and ask hard questions,” Picarello said. “She was never afraid to go up against Dr. Grier or other board members.”

Yesterday, Huey sent out an email survey to supporters, asking them which seat he should run for.

“I know I have picked up a lot of support countywide, and I would not want to disappoint those supporters if I were to run in a district race instead of at-large,” Huey wrote to supporters.

On his positions, Huey, who describes himself as a conservative, said he is against the proposed $412 million bond for school construction and that the reconstruction of Eastern Guilford High School should never have been included in the $457 million bond first proposed by the school board. He called for outsourcing all of the Guilford County Schools real estate and construction functions.

Huey said that Grimsley High School, where students were suspended after a fight on Dec. 14, “needs a lot of love” right now, but that he supported a no-tolerance policy for school discipline.

“As far as granting amnesty as some are suggesting, I don’t support that,” he said.

The only current school board member to file on Monday, Cooke said she has begun many projects in 10 years on the board and wants to see them through to completion.

“I feel like I’ve got experience,” Cooke said. “I’ve worked hard. I still want to be part of the solution.”

Cooke said one of her goals is a safe learning environment, and called for making clear through discipline that “certain behavior is just not acceptable.”

Cooke supported the $412 million school construction referendum.

“The need is there,” she said. “That doesn’t even cover what we really need.”

School board member Amos Quick said he was 98 percent certain he would run again. “I’m almost certain I will,” he said.

Quick is, in any case, acting like a candidate. He said he visited four schools in his district Monday to sound them out on what they want in a new superintendent.

Quick said he did not vote for the proposed school bond because of questions about the financing of Eastern Guilford High School and about the county’s distribution of schools.

“Not all the population is growing where we’re placing them,” Quick said.

Guilford County Schools is doing large projects at some schools while ignoring needed work at others, according to Quick. For example, the proposed bond would fund work at Allen Middle School in his district, which he supports, but ignores leaking roofs and gymnasium problems at Bluford and Hampton Academy elementary schools, he said. There are many similar examples in other districts, he said.

Kearns said she had not made up her mind on running yet. Childs could not be reached for comment.

In another transition for the education community, Picarello has given notice that she will resign as president of the PTA executive board after March 15, when the board will hold a meeting on the proposed school construction bond.

“I’m working to the end,” said Picarello, who is moving with her family to Phoenix, Arizona. The executive board will get a temporary replacement until June 30, when a permanent replacement will be chosen.

Crawford, who was out of town and could not be reached for comment, is a new entrant into school board politics. A campaign spokesman could not at first remember which board Crawford was running for this year, but said, in a voicemail, “Unlike the last campaign, this one, he’s really running. The other one, he was just goofing off.”

Crawford’s campaign site is a MySpace page that misspells the word “primaries” and, until Wednesday, still bore the label, “Crawford for City Council.”

According to the campaign site, “Crawford For City Council” is a straight, 5’6″ white male, zodiac sign Gemini, who is on MySpace for networking, dating, serious relationships and friends.

“Crawford for City Council” does have friends – 766 of them, according to MySpace.

Crawford’s intentions are on MySpace. His page does, in fact, read “Crawford for City Council 2009.”

Crawford has announced a desire to run for US Rep. Howard Coble’s Sixth District seat in the House of Representatives. It’s right there on MySpace, under “Crawford for Congress.”

Crawford faxed a release summarizing his positions, which opposed the concept of year-round schools because they chip into summer vacations; called for more community involvement in school decision-making processes; and said the school board should not raise taxes to balance the budget now or in the future. The school board does not have taxing authority.

“A majority of the current board shifted power and responsibility to the superintendent and arrogantly ignores the desires of parents, teachers and taxpayers,” Crawford said in his position paper. “I don’t think there is any doubt that we need fresh leadership on the school board.”


E.C. )


One Response

  1. This Crawford character sounds more like a County Commissioner!

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