Name as it appears on the ballot:  Roxie Cash  

Age: 69

Party affiliation: Republican

Campaign website: NA

Occupation & employer:  WakeMed pharmacist

1. What do you believe are the three most important issues facing the Board of Education? 

What are your priorities for addressing these issues?

My priority is diversity in our schools and healthy schools.  We have been trying to review the schools that can achieve this and better fund the ones that need funding.  However it has been pushed way back over the last several years and little progress made.  There have been attempts but so much gets in the way with other issues.  This is why I was asked to run for the board by people in the community that had worked with me in the ‘90s when I was previously on the board.  

2. Second issue for me is bringing different opinions to the table in the community to help us solve the issues in the schools.  Leadership in our schools need a channel to be a part of the solution.  I respect more than anyone a principal of a large school or campus.  I respect all principals actually.  They need to be heard.

3. Reaching children at the pre K level or before.  Kindergarten is a start with help and funding but to truly close the gap, it has come much sooner.  Public schools should be funded for that and be responsible for it.

2. What in your record as a public official or other experience demonstrates your ability to be an effective Board of Education member? This might include career or community service; be specific about its relevance to this office.

I still believe that my 8 years from 1991 to 1999 on the Board of Education have molded me the most for this role.  It was a time when WCPSS, even though smaller, stood for really healthy schools.  An amazing magnet program that was not just programs but served a purpose for the entire community.

I have been involved with many community groups.  I have worked with Overflowing Hands very closely over the entire time since the pandemic in feeding communities that have never been reached by the WCPSS or other non profit groups.  I hope to continue that and it helps me see where we are not in our schools reaching far enough. 

As a pharmacist, at the start of my career in NC, I opened the pharmacy for the Wake County Health Dept. on Sunnybrook.  I had an opportunity to see so much that molds me for working with children in our schools.  And towards the end of my career, I was hired to set up the hospital pharmacy and oncology program at Central Prison on Western Blvd.  I learned more from the prisoners that were in maximum security than I ever imagined about their lives outside of prison as young children growing up in poverty and single parent homes.

I have been on the Resilience committees, the mayoral Compassion committee.

I  really like to be involved in almost anything in my community and build relationships with people that do  not make it to a public hearing in front of the board.

3. Research suggests that North Carolina’s schools are becoming more segregated by race and economic status. What do you think is driving this trend, and do you think this is an issue WCPSS needs to address? Please explain your answer. 

  So many things.  Choice of charter schools, of course.  Charter schools not following the rules that were put into place when I was on the Board of Education in the ‘90s.  They started then and established some good goals actually.  Those rules still stand, but are not being followed.  But that is just a piece of it.  I believe our building program has not helped in building so many new schools in some areas.  Our magnet program lost its purpose.

Because charter schools are available people just choose to go rather than argue with public schools about what is not working for them. 

If we do not take the charter school movement much more seriously as a subject we need to address, then it will be a mistake.  Community groups do fight this movement but get little support from WCPSS.  However, we do need so much more funding for legislative mandates from our legislature to address the needs of a public school. For example, we get almost no funding for AIG programs which are very important to many families that leave and go to private or charter.  I believe that public schools get a little defiant when those families talk about what they need in their classes to keep them in that public school. Most of those families are not entitled families but hard working people that believe in public schools.

However, we put them in a box with entitlement and therefore they leave because even though they love public schools, they need to take care of the education of their child first.

4. What effects do you believe the popularity of charter schools is having on the school system? Is it exacerbating segregation or draining resources from neighborhood schools, as some critics contend?

I discussed this in the previous question.  It is, of course, leading to segregation and certainly draining our resources.  That resource of parents who will work in schools and help when they can is a huge people resource that we are losing.  And, of course the per pupil expenditure given by the state to a charter school is very unfair considering the challenges that they are willing to take on such as special ed that the public school will, happily, accept. The funding formula is so wrong. 

5. In light of the ongoing threat of COVID-19, do you believe it is safe for students to return to the classroom? What policies or protocols should be put in place to ensure the health and safety of students? If remote learning must continue in some form in the future, what can be done to ensure students are still receiving a quality education? 

I believe that it is safe to return students in a safe and thoughtful way.  There have been so many protocols put out on thie by WCPSS that I cannot begin to put them in this space.

Remote learning is not going to be a quality education for the very young children in K-3 for so many reasons.  Teachers are trying so hard and doing a good job.  But young children in childcare will fall behind.  That is not our fault but we are willing to work on the challenge.

Covid is the bad guy here.  

I believe that quality education for older children is possible but I feel state support for extra allotments of teaching positions is critical.   Teaching virtually is not an easy task.

6. Do you support the placement of school resource officers in Wake schools? If so, what do you think their role should be? If not, what do you propose as an alternative?

I support keeping SROs and working with the school system to come up with a supportive role for other positions in the school to help students prior to an SRO even being involved.

It is not an either or !  Principals in our high schools need to be a part of the solution.

Principals are usually the ones who give the expectations to the SRO.  They need to all be on the same page and use them appropriately

7.  Black students make up about a quarter of Wake County public school students, yet, according to the Southern Coalition for Social Justice, are nearly eight times more likely to be suspended than their white peers. Are racial disparities an issue you think the board of education needs to address?

  Yes but I believe community responsibility needs to partner with the schools or it will not have long term impact or even enough impact to make the changes needed

8. Identify and explain one principled stand you would be willing to take if elected that you suspect might cost you some points with voters.

There are so many.  But one would be more multi track schools in high growth areas rather than building new schools for the growth.  It only intensifies segregation and takes money from the building program that could be redirected to renovations of older buildings.

This was the approach years ago when multi track was started in Wake County.

I think reassignment is necessary for healthy schools if done in a planned way.

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