Candidates stump for votes

Published 12:00 am Thursday, November 2, 2006

MURFREESBORO – Seven people are trying to claim three seats and the citizens of Hertford County will have to turn four of them away.

The News Herald hosted a forum Oct. 24 to allow candidates running for three Hertford County Public School Board positions to meet and greet the public.

Candidates Marcus Williams, John D. Horton, Dennis Deloatch, Rev. Patrick Young, Susan Barnes Williams and Ron Baker all attended the forum held on the campus of Chowan University at the Howard C. Vaughan Auditorium.

Carolyn Mitchell Vaughan, an Ahoskie resident who is also seeking to be elected to the board, was not able to attend the event.

The candidates were each given two minutes to offer opening remarks to the crowd of approximately 50 people.

Afterwards, each candidate took turns answering six pre-screened questions.

The questions were generated by readers who mailed in responses to a request for public input by the News Herald, as well as some generated by the News Herald staff.

After the question and answer period, the candidates were then given three additional minutes to give closing statements.

The following are excerpts from the candidate’s closing remarks.

The candidates are listed in the order which they responded.

Reverend Patrick Young (Incumbent): &uot;We have a mission mandate at the Hertford County Public school system and that is to move forward with a better future for the students of our county. We need to have people who are concerned about and care about our children. I am always open and available for parents, staff and even more importantly whoever the new superintendent will be. Prison systems in urban America are already using test scores from third grade students to determine how many prisons to build in the future. That is why it is incumbent upon us to make sure that our students learn.

Susan Barnes Williams: &uot;I do not have experience as an elected official, but what I do have is 21 years as a mom and I have children in the Hertford County school system. This election is not about personal feelings or any differences among adults. This is all about the children. We are at a critical stage. Our test scores are awful and there is no need to point fingers. We have to come together and decide how to turn it around.&uot;

Ron Baker (Incumbent): This is an election where the majority of the board is up for reelection, yet there does not seem to be enough interest and involvement from parents. We’ve accomplished quite a bit in the way of school additions and technological advances. Our school uniform policy has nearly cut the out of school high school suspensions in half. We have indeed fallen short of the mark, and there is still work to be done. But we cannot think that throwing money at the problem is going to fix the problem.&uot;

Marcus Williams: &uot;We need to keep our children first. Look at your School Board and ask yourself has much changed with all the so-called experience that we have. Look at each member and what they bring to the table. Remember that it is not personal. When our children leave Hertford County, what kind of education will they have? What kind of people will they be? More importantly ask yourself if we are using the resources that we have properly?&uot;

John D. Horton (Incumbent): &uot;I have 20 years of service in education. In 1986, my first year as a board member, I had 15 hours of training before I was ever seated to the board. Today I have over 500 hours of training. Don’t take that lightly; experience counts. You need to make sure that your elect someone that knows what they are doing. You have to entrust you schools to someone who has some idea of what to do. We are not where we need to be, but without the proper experience we could easily be worse.&uot;

Dennis Deloatch; &uot;We have not done the job and that includes myself. We know what needs to be done. The question is when will we get serious enough to make the changes that are needed. The system can be fixed, but it will take time. It will take us at least another year or two to get where we need to be. We have improved quite a bit over the last four years; the numbers reflect that improvement. This is about the children, not about us, but the children.&uot;

Be sure to read Part II of the report from this forum appearing in Saturday’s News Herald.