Name as it appears on the ballot: Vickie Feaster Fornville
Party affiliation: Democrat
Campaign website: vickieforschoolboard.com
Occupation & employer: Special Programs Coordinator-Orange County Department Social Services
Years lived in the area: 51
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 am running for school board because Chapel Hill is my home, and I have a responsibility to help take care of it. I am asking our community to entrust me with this position because I am the right candidate. I am Chapel Hill. I have been volunteering in CHCCS for over 30 years. I have served on PTAs at all three school levels, including co-vice president at McDougle Middle. I have served on School Improvement Teams for seven years, four of which I was a co-chair. I attended six schools in CHCCS. I know what it is to be a student in this district. I want to take the local community’s voice back to the school board. I have served this community since I was delivering the Village Advocate as a child.
Prior to retiring, I worked as a probation parole officer, here in Orange County. I worked with court-impacted students from all of our high schools, community members with severe persistent mental illness as well as substance abuse issues. I am trained in Youth Mental Health First Aid and Restorative Justice. I understand what it is to collaborate and compromise in order to accomplish goals. I will continue to listen to our community. I want to make sure their voices are heard, as we work together for all students to have the opportunity to succeed in this district.
I prioritize students and families. If I am elected to the board or even if I’m not, I would like to see the board work on policies that are intentional in advancing students’ holistic wellness and acheivement. I would also like to see more work being done around family and community engagement. CHCCS needs to partner with families and our community. We can do more together than we can alone.
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?
First of all I would say, “the direction of the school district” is going to be different depending on whose compass you are using. As for me, I think the district is starting to move forward in a positive manner. There is much work to be done. If elected I will advocate for expanding Pre-K and making breakfast and lunch free for all students
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 three main issues that I believe need to be addressed are increasing family and community engagement, centering holistic student achievement and student wellness.
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?
In the current budget I think the school bus driver and other non-certified staff pay should have been prioritized differently. I think the budget supports all students. The budget afterall is how the schools stay open. I don’t think the budget supports lower income families the same as it supports affluent families. There are major staffing and infrastructure needs in our district. I won’t say that the budget meets all of those needs but I also won’t say that I think that is all the fault of the current board. These issues didn’t just start and they won’t go away in one budget cycle.
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 has the obligation to comply with the state Supreme Court order in the Leandro Case. Our students have the right to a sound education. The public education system in North Carolina should be lawfully fully funded by the General Assembly. The General Assembly should address policies that will allow for culturally inclusive curriculums, decrease standardized testing and increase teacher and staff pay.
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?
To address the achievement/opportunity gap between students of color and white students, the district needs to do a great deal of work. I by no means have all the answers, but I do have lots of questions and some suggestions. Increase programs like Blue Ribbon Mentor Advocate and AVID. Affinity groups need to be at all schools. We need to look at the policies that determine how students are identified for academically gifted programs as well as placement in honors and AP classes. We also need to create additional pathways for student success and achievement.
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?
The school district should work with the local municipalities and private businesses to help ensure there is housing available that is affordable for their teachers and staff.
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?
School boards should be very intentional in putting policies and practices in place that will make sure that our classrooms and libraries have the necessary books needed to provide a sound educational experience for all students.
9) Do police officers (School Resource Officers) have a role in schools? Please explain your answer.
To provide full disclosure, I come from a public safety background. I am a retired probation parole officer. Now with that being said, School Resource Officers may have a role in schools. Their primary goal should be public safety. All of our students, staff and school visitors are part of the public, so their safety is paramount. What the role is for SROs should be discussed and made very clear through policy and training prior to those SROs going into the schools. The role of SROs should not be to hyper police students in the building.
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?
The school district should look at ways that they can create full time jobs for drivers as an option. Starting to build a substitute driver pool for when drivers are out would be beneficial as well.
11) If there is anything else you would like to address, please do so here.
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