Monday, August 20, 2007

Questionnaire: News and Observer


Chapel Hill-Carrboro City School Board of Education


Mike Kelley




Physician scientist, Duke University and Durham Veterans Affairs Hospital


Monroe County Community College, A.S.
University of Michigan, B.S., M.D.


The Board of Education election is a non-partisan office. I was elected to the Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools Board of Education in 2003.


School board-related activities (2003-2007)
Co-Chair, Redistricting Committees, 2006 and 2007
Curriculum Advisory Committee
Drug Abuse Task Force
Health Advisory Committee
Technology Advisory Committee
Head Start Policy Council
Special Needs Advisory Committee
North Carolina School Board Association’s Legislative Committee
Liaison to School Governance Committees at East Chapel Hill High School, Chapel Hill High School, Culbreth Middle School, Scroggs Elementary School

Other activities
Member Rashkis interim School Governance Committee, 2003
Treasurer, Chapel Hill-Carrboro chapter of Partners for the Advancement of Gifted Education
Officer US Public Health Service for 8 years
Parent volunteer for Math Superstars at Estes Hills Elementary School
Science Day Symposium presenter at Culbreth Middle School
Hands-On-Science instructor
Instructor, National Science Foundation funded program for science teacher training
YMCA Indian Princess Program Tribe Chief

WHY SHOULD YOU BE ELECTED? (100 words maximum)

I have broad experience with our school system through my roles as parent of four children, volunteer, and board member for the last four years. This experience along with my professional skills allows me to make informed and reasoned decisions that are in the best interest of our students. I have consistently supported evidence-based educational strategies that are proven to increase achievement, worked collaboratively with elected and other officials to improve communications over my term, and advocated for more open and accessible board meetings that allow consideration of all stakeholders in the decision making process.

CONTACT INFORMATION (including Web site, if applicable):

Address: 205 Ukiah Lane, Chapel Hill, NC 27514
Home phone: 919-969-8734

Please answer these next questions in up to 250 words each:

1) What single area of education in the district needs the most work and why?

The main objective that remains in most need of continuing improvement is student achievement. State and federal proficiency levels will increase again next year and there are already some students who have not met existing levels of proficiency. Two of the elementary schools are in school improvement status under No Child Left Behind and one school received no recognition from the state’s ABC program. Without a significant jump in student achievement, too many students will not pass required benchmarks of achievement and ultimately graduate from high school. On a broader level, with each passing year, there is more information to learn and the knowledge our students need to assure our nation’s future success continues to expand. Thus, we need to accelerate education for all students.

2) How will you balance improving the school district with the county's tax constraints?

My duty as a school board member is to first assess the legitimate educational needs of the school district, taking into consideration input from various sources including public comment. Once the county’s tax constraint is clear, which in the past four years has occurred through budget approval by the county commissioners, prioritization of the various school needs is performed. The particular challenges of this past budget year should lead to revision of this process so that the tax constraints are available during the school system’s budget process. I will continue to advocate for broad community discussion of alternative budget arrangements, such as direct taxing authority for the school boards, as well as improved and earlier communication of budgetary drivers between the county and school system.

3) How could the board better plan for growth in the district?

The district uses several models that project student enrollment for 10 years in advance. These models have accurately predicted the need for new schools and predict for future schools including elementary school #11 and middle school #5 within the next decade. The school system is also a co-signer with the Towns of Chapel Hill and Carrboro and the county to the Schools Adequate Public Facilities Ordinance, which provides a commitment to fund new school construction in pace with development approved by the towns. The school system and county are currently reviewing the student generation ratios that indicate how many students are predicted to reside within a development. These ratios will likely need to be revised upward and the pertinent data should be reviewed carefully by the school board and discussed with the county commissioners. The school board should also improve communication with the towns in regard to growth to assure the towns are mindful of the adverse impacts of unregulated rapid development on student stability (redistricting occurs with the opening of each new school) and the financial implications of school construction.

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