Charter school announces application deadline (N&R)

From the N&R:

GREENSBORO – The Triad Math and Science Academy, Guilford County’s newest charter school, will accept student applications for the 2008-09 academic year until May 10. On that date it will hold a lottery to fill up its anticipated 268 seats in grades kindergarten through six.

Academy officials also signed this week a lease on a 25,000 square foot building at 900 Sixteenth Street to house the program. The academy, which received final state approval in March, is estimated to cost about $1.7 million in state and local funds. Charter schools are similar to public schools in that they are taxpayer-supported and free, but the state provides more leeway in teacher certification and programming.

For more information and to apply, visit the Web site http://www.tmsacharter.org.
– Morgan Josey Glover

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E.C. )

Budget & Bonds

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Special GCS Board meeting this evening at 6pm to discuss next year’s budget.

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Links to two pro-Bonds stories in today’s N&R.

Former Gov. Hunt endorses the Bonds. N&R excerpt:

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GREENSBORO – Former Gov. Jim Hunt wore his “Vote Yes for Kids” badge with pride today as he asked Guilford County voters to support $457 million in school construction bonds on Tuesday.

“Folks, it’s hard to have good jobs these days,” said Hunt, speaking at a press conference at Allen Middle School. “And the best way to have good jobs is to have good schools.”

The Bonds for Schools Committee invited Hunt about a week ago to speak in support of the bonds, said coordinator Anita Bachmann. The grassroots pro-bond group has received endorsements from numerous individuals, businesses and civic organizations, but Hunt is the most high-profile supporter so far, she said. The event was attended by local elected officials, school adminstrators and Allen students.

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Parents want YOU to vote for the Bonds. N&R excerpt:

With the May 6 election just days away, some concerned parents and community members want area residents to “Vote Yes for Kids.”

Voters will have a chance to vote for two school-related bonds that total $457 million.

“The only reason for doing this is to provide safe seats for children,” said Frank Kendall, a volunteer with the Guilford Education Alliance.

One of the bonds is for $45 million to rebuild Eastern Guilford High School, while the remaining $412 million will go toward future construction and repairs.

“The bonds will build five schools and renovate 13 more,” Kendall said.

He said the Guilford County commissioners passed bonds in 2000 and 2003, before the cost to build new schools greatly increased.

“We’re being affected by the global economy,” he said.

As the cost of raw materials and the cost to transport them has soared, so has the cost of construction.

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E.C. )

Seven More Days

http://victorydyo.com/qm2/qm2.php?t=sign-political-126&p=Signs&c=Political&m1=E.C.&c1=Navy&fs1=28&f1=frankgothhi&s1=&b1=NONE&i1=NONE&x1=150&y1=110&m2=Huey&c2=Navy&fs2=92&f2=frankgothhi&s2=&b2=NONE&i2=NONE&x2=0&y2=190&m3=School%20Board%20%28at-large%29&c3=White&fs3=28&f3=times&s3=&b3=NONE&i3=NONE&x3=0&y3=245&m4=www.hueyforguilfordschoolboard.org&c4=White&fs4=16&f4=timesi&s4=&b4=NONE&i4=NONE&x4=0&y4=275&dc1=Navy&dc2=White&dc3=&dc4=&nc1=Navy&nc2=White&nc3=&nc4=

We’ve come down to the last seven days.

In one week, you the voters of Guilford County will make your choices in the at-large School Board race (along with other races). Next week’s ballot is important, and obviously, national media is descending on North Carolina in anticipation of what the results are.

You already know what’s at stake. But next week can go one of two ways…we’ll either be victorious next week and will march into the Summer in a whole new School Board race, or it will be the end of the campaign. But it will never be the end of the campaign to take back our schools and engage in a communicative dialogue for better public education.

Now’s the time for you to be heard. Signs are still being stuck in the ground countywide. I’m still accepting donations in anticipation of a victory (or a second place showing) next Tuesday. I’m assembling a pool of who’s available to work a poll next Tuesday. I will participate in a forum this Thursday, May 1 at 6pm at the GSO Historical Museum downtown, sponsored by the Concerned Citizens of Northeast Greensboro. And schedule-permitting, I would like to possibly have one more virtual town-hall meeting prior to election day (stay tuned).

And election night…I haven’t yet made plans…stay tuned as well.

It’s been one heck of a campaign, and I’ve enjoyed every minute of it. But it’s not over yet! We have seven more days to get our progressive message of change in our schools-hope for our children-putting our children first across to every segment of Guilford County. I hope I can count on you for that support. It is needed. Thank you to all of you who are in support of this effort. Whether you’ve been on board since 2006 or have jumped on board recently, all of us share a common vision…to reform our schools, to put our children first and to restore hope in our system. It can be done. It WILL be done. And it all starts with your vote next Tuesday.

More importantly, it starts with you punching Erik “E.C.” Huey on your ballot.

Thank you again.

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E.C. )

Not-a-fan Mail

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This earlier in the month, via a response to a March posting on Greensboro Politics:

V Martin on April 5th, 2008 6:53 pm

I have watched Mr. Huey’s campaign strategy for almost a year. I do not see him as a principaled candidate or leader. His tactics are inflammatory and reactionary. Whenever there is a controversial issue that is as complex and as diverse as there are people in Guilford County, he fans the flames. Prior to Garth Hebert coming on the board, the school board kept their disagreements and differences candid and face to face, the honorable way. Garth resorts to getting stroked by the residents of an underground network of people with little or no alternatives to filter their frustrations and lack of control over their own lives. I find it very difficult to respect Mr. Huey’s approach. He will have to get along with others, be willing to be wrong and open to new information……Something he cleary cannot do. He lacks political maturity and just doesn;t seem like the kind of candidate that our commuity needs at this time.

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I’m inflammatory…that’s a new one.

See whenever I’ve received mail and messages like this in the past (I still get them periodically) and I have attempted to engage in dialogue with the writers of these letters, they would never want to write back or have a conversation with me direct.

If anything, I think my stances have been proactive because for too long, our School Board has been reactive.

V. Martin attacks “an underground network of people…who exhibit a lack of control over their own lives.” That’s quite a low-blow to attack these individuals who you don’t even know…many of whom are parents, teachers and citizens who are concerned about public education in Guilford County. And thank God for progressive sitting school board members who have the courage to put our children first above all else.

V. Martin says: “He will have to get along with others, be willing to be wrong and open to new information.” How do you know I’m incapable of doing just that? You attack me on a blog, yet you don’t know me, you don’t know what kind of person I am or the person I’m capable of. I think if you will accept my offer to meet you in person over coffee, I think I will change your mind.

V. Martin says: “He lacks political maturity and just doesn;t seem like the kind of candidate that our commuity needs at this time.” Politics have no place on our elected school board, therefore on the contrary, I think I’m exactly the right kind of individual our Board needs at this time.

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E.C. )

Who’s the REAL “progressive” candidate?

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I had to laugh out loud when I read this in this past Friday’s Rhino Times:

…[Dot] Kearns, a Democrat who has held political office since 1972, including a seat on the school board, the Guilford County Board of Commissioners and the former High Point school board, said that, although she is not formally endorsing a potential replacement, she supports [Michael] McKinney.

http://www.gcsnc.com/images/kearns1.jpg” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors. “I am going to vote for Mike McKinney,” Kearns said. “I think we need geographic representation, and he’s from High Point, and I think he’s a very qualified candidate. He seems to me to be a very progressive candidate. He favors the passage of school bonds, which some of the other candidates do not.”

Kearns said McKinney has lived and been active in both Greensboro and High Point. “I think people know him in both cities and have a good opinion of him,” she said.

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Two things to break down here…let’s go back to this Kearns quote:

“I think we need geographic representation, and he’s from High Point…”

Yes, we need geographic representation, yes, McKinney’s from High Point…but remember, the at-large seat is COUNTYWIDE! That means representing children in High Point…and elsewhere in Guilford County.

Another:

“…He seems to me to be a very progressive candidate. He favors the passage of school bonds, which some of the other candidates do not.”

So…supporting the bond issue makes a candidate progressive? No.

Taking a public stand on issues affecting our children makes a candidate progressive. And my campaign has been doing just that since December, 2006.

So when you cast your ballot next Tuesday, remember who the real progressive candidate is in this race.

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E.C. )

Crawford Supporters Sound Off

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One of them wrote this e-mail to me:

Sir, I go to GTCC in Jamestown. For fun me and 5 People went to the early voting location in JamesTown, We went from 11 a.m. till 2 a.m. we ask people who thay was voting for, 79 % of the people we ask said Crawford!You know if he wins with that high of a turn over it would be no way any one but him could win! As you know Crawford had over 1500 last year for his city council run so 10 to 1 the same people will vote for him this year! Crawford run last year so there is not a person who will not vote who dose not know his name unlike the 4 in the run also. Due to this Crawford looks to be the top dog out of the 5 in the run for School board.

I reposted this letter from “GTCC Mike” as I received it, unedited.

Now here’s my response to this message…and I’ll direct you to an excerpt from an article in the Rhino Times from this past Friday:

Crawford made a series of fairly odd, rambling presentations in which he hit on some favorite themes, including unionizing teachers, which is illegal in North Carolina, and extending the hours of school libraries.

“I’m kind of new to politics, on and off,” said Crawford, in reference to his so-far unsuccessful hobby of running for public office. Crawford filed last year to run for the Greensboro City Council but dropped out of that race and announced his intention to run for 6th District Congressman Howard Coble’s seat and for City Council in 2009.

Crawford’s public utterances so far have induced cringes in the other candidates who have shared the stage with him. They included a statement at the Northern High forum that it is sometimes necessary to hit children.

Crawford’s candidacy, already of questionable seriousness because of his on-again, off-again performance in the City Council race, further disintegrated recently when local blogger Roch Smith Jr. wrote that parts of Crawford’s position paper for the school board race were lifted verbatim from the website of Cobb County, Georgia school board member John Crooks. Crawford blamed the duplication on a mistake by a former campaign worker.

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The Rhino’s words, not mine.

Mr. Crawford’s a nice guy, and I’m happy you’re supporting him. I wish him well next Tuesday. But the voters will speak next week.

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E.C. )

Co-Cos Thumb Their Noses at the Schools

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(Rhino Times)

Another year…another GCS budget that’s DOA with the County Commissioners.

Apparently, that’s the sentiment among some on the County Board. Here we go again.

N&R Excerpt:

The school district is proposing a $650 million spending plan. About a third of that —$180.9 million — would come from Guilford County.

The schools budget, as originally submitted by Co-Superintendents Sharon Ozment and Eric Becoats, includes a $15.8 million increase in local spending. About half of that would go to pay higher salaries local officials think the state will require.

Schools asked for the same increase last year. They received about $8 million, which is the increase some commissioners say Guilford schools will see in the 2008-09 budget.

“They’d be lucky if they get half of that in this budget,” said Republican Commissioner Billy Yow of the school board request.

Departments asking for more than what they want or expect is nothing new.

“I’ve been on the board for 15 years, and every year they come in with double the amount that they really need,” Democrat Melvin “Skip” Alston said.

Alston anticipates cuts to be spread across all departments in the 2008-09 county budget.

“I’m calling for no salary increase for employees,” he said.

Of eight commissioners reached Thursday, all said they don’t expect the school board’s request to be fully funded.

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E.C. )