Name as it appears on the ballot: Jane S. Gabin
Party affiliation: Democratic
Campaign website: Gabin4SchoolBoard.com
Occupation & employer: Independent Educational Consultant. I’m completely independent – semi retired. No one pays me a salary. You can learn more about me by going to JaneGabin.com
Years lived in the area: 48
1. In 300 words or less, please give us—and our readers—your elevator pitch: Why are you running? Why should voters entrust you with this position? What are your priorities, and what would you want to see the school board do differently or better over the course of your term?
I want to ensure that ALL students are guaranteed a high-quality education here. My experience as an educator, and parent of two children who have gone through our schools, tells me that this district is very good for some. Has everything been tried to diminish the achievement gap? No. Smaller class size is the answer to underachievement. Classes as small as those at Phoenix Academy! I have taught in the local school system (currently as a sub since 2015) and I have a doctorate from UNC-Chapel Hill. I always face challenges successfully and am proud of my achievements, and the friendships I have forged with many wonderful people over the years!
2. Given the direction of the school district, would you say things are on the right course? If not, for what specific changes will you advocate if elected?
We are not there yet. The schools look gorgeous – but we still have a vast achievement gap. We are spending money on the wrong things. We need more teachers and smaller classes!
3. What are the three main issues that you believe the Chapel Hill Carrboro City Schools Board of Education needs to address in the upcoming year?
The same issues as in years past: 1. The racial achievement gap; 2. Large classes; 3. Insultingly low teacher pay (I know this is controlled by the state, so it needs to be raised by local assessment)
4. Describe something you think the school board should have prioritized differently in the current budget. Do you think the budget supports students from lower income families as well as from affluent families? Does the budget meet the district’s infrastructure and staffing needs?
The budget tries to cover many things, and covers them well for the most part. But smaller classes would increase the contact between all staff members and the students, thereby reaching ALL students. And no, the budget doesn’t cover the extra educational needs of lower income families. What I propose is a way to create smaller classes by requiring all qualified administrators to teach one class. This has happened in the past! One of my son’s best memories of East Chapel Hill HS is his senior English class – taught by the principal, the late Dave Thaden. My proposal would not only place less of a burden upon each teacher, it would also keep administrators in touch with students.
5) Does the General Assembly have a constitutional obligation to comply with the state Supreme Court order in the Leandro case to fully fund public schools and give every child in North Carolina a sound basic education? What other policies should lawmakers enact at the state level to strengthen public education?
Yes, the General Assembly must comply with Leandro.
6) Despite boasting a 94.8 percent graduation rate last academic year, and ranking in the top four percent of all public school districts in the nation, an achievement/opportunity gap still exists between white students and students of color. What specific policies should CHCCS pursue to close this gap?
Who says the local system ranks in the “top four percent all public school districts”? NC ranks 32 among the 50 United States (depends on one’s source). If you go by World Population Review, NC ranks 43. That’s nothing to boast about. Our students are 60% proficient in math and 66% proficient in reading. That’s nothing to boast about, either. Green Level HS in Apex has a reading proficiency score of 87%. And Vestavia Hills HS in Alabama has a rate of 83%. We have a way to go before we can claim bragging rights.
7) Despite working for CHCCS, many teachers and staff can’t afford to live in Chapel Hill or Carrboro. What role should the school district have in ensuring that affordable housing is available for its workforce?
There should be land that is controlled locally (let’s say by UNC) that is dedicated to housing for teachers. This has been done in Buncombe County, for example. Or other land: what about that huge spread in front of Lincoln Center? Something along Seawell School Road? Or High School Road? Or on Old NC 86? Or a section along Old Mason Farm Road? Have the owners of this land been approached by the school system?
8) Recently, groups of parents with students in North Carolina public schools have mounted efforts to ban certain books from school classrooms and libraries. How should school boards handle these efforts?
There should be NO BOOKS BANNED. None. Our school librarians are doing an excellent job of keeping their shelves open.
9) Do police officers (School Resource Officers) have a role in schools? Please explain your answer.
Maybe one officer should be on hand for security purposes. But our schools need more counselors, tutors, and aides. That’s where the needs are!
10) CHCCS was able to hire drivers for all bus routes this academic year, but, as with other school districts in the state, it has had a hard time filling transportation vacancies in the past. What steps should the district take to ensure that there are enough bus drivers for all routes in order to get students to school on time going forward?
Pay them more. And guarantee work in the summer, so they don’t have to rely on scrounging.
11) If there is anything else you would like to address, please do so here.
We need universal pre-K, smaller classes, early identification of the strengths of each student, no tracking, and equal chances of getting into honors and AP classes.
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