Lynn Locklear, school board candidate, District 6

1. What uniquely qualifies you to serve as a member of the Board of Education?

The primary role of school board members is policy making. As an Army colonel and senior Army civilian (now Retired), I have extensive experience and background developing mobilization, deployment and global force management policy for the Department of the Army and Joint Command levels. The breadth of policies impacted approximately 1 million soldiers (active, reserve, and National Guard). Policies supported U.S. Army operations to provide forces to combatant commands conducting war-fighting operations around the globe. I have successfully led hundreds of soldiers from platoon to brigade demonstrating leadership qualities that achieve results. Unique qualifications are strategic planning, requirements identification, establishing priorities, data analysis, establishing evaluation criteria, determining courses of action, superb communication skills, team building, collaboration with stakeholders, arbitration and negotiation skills to achieve the best results.

2. As a challenger, what do you see as the No. 1 failing of the current school board in general? What would you do to try and correct that failing?

A primary fault of the school board is over reach from its policy making role and too much influence with jobs and contracts. The school enterprise must be an educational enterprise and not a jobs program. I plan to remain in the policy making lane and allow others to do their jobs and hold them accountable for outcomes. There is no room for hiring decisions based on friendships and relatives. Contracts must be competitively bid with all having an equal opportunity. No playing favorites of any sort. Best qualified rules in all matters.

3. Safety is always a concern for our schools, but more so after the killing of 17 people at a Florida school in February. What would you recommend to make our schools more safe?

Work to place a resource officer at every school and do a security assessment of all schools with the intent to harden them based on recommendations and findings.

4. Our local school system is one of two in North Carolina that allows the use of corporal punishment, resulting in an embarrassing statistic, that most children who are paddled in North Carolina are minority and from Robeson County. Do you favor its use? Why or why not?

I am OK with parents having the option but would be open to hearing the arguments against. There is Biblical evidence that supports what we call corporal punishment. In a nutshell the Bible teaches there are consequences for our behavior. I see nothing wrong with reinforcing this concept by employing corporal punishment as a form of discipline in the school with the parents support. I would also add that the concept of promoting students who do not do their work (social promotion) derived from this sort of thinking. There are consequences in life and the more we emphasize this the better off we are in developing young people of character.

5. Our schools have been in short supply of textbooks in recent years, with some arguing that more books need to be purchased, and some saying that books become dated quickly, and arguing instead for greater use of E-books that stay current. What do you favor?

Without a doubt textbooks. Research suggest that textbooks have a much greater impact on student achievement than E-books. Universities and colleges require textbooks as well as computers. As a board member I will support textbooks and consider integration of E-books as some point in the upper grades. By managing our money better, we can afford giving all children a textbook for key classes such as math, science, and language arts.

6. Our school system ranks next to last in the state for local funding by the Robeson County Board of Commissioners, about $1,000 short of the state average. How would you work to overcome that?

PSRC averages over $9,000 per student, which is one of the highest rates of funding for students in N.C. The board must do a better job establishing priorities and managing budgeting and execution processes more effectively. Only after tightening our own belt can we then conduct a careful review of budget levels and reach a good decision with regard to the need for additional funding, especially teacher incentive pay. Building good working relationships with the commissioners may lead to an increase from the commissioners.

7. Our school board has a reputation for micromanagement, and not staying within its jurisdiction of being a policy maker and allowing administrators to implement that policy. Do you agree with that assessment? What would you see as your role as a board member?

Yes, see response to question No. 1. The role of a board member is to develop polices in coordination with stakeholders and allow administrators to implement stated policies. Assessment and feedback from administrators and other stakeholders is criteria to assure policies meet goals and objectives. Update policies as new information becomes available. The educational enterprise must be a learning organization.

8. The school system is currently without a central office. There has been much conversation about the new one, where it might be located, and should an existing building be used or one built from the ground up. What are your thoughts?

Let the unbiased data analysis and facts drive the decision while seeking the most cost effective and efficient solution. Achieving this objective starts with the development of evaluation criteria to compare options. What we do not need is county commissioners arbitrarily attempting to waste taxpayer money buying the Native Angels building which the school board already determined did not meet their needs. I also believe a review of employee staffing within the central office would result in a shift of staff back to the schools.

9. Our school system lags far behind those across the state in every education metric except the graduation rate. Do you think this is something that can be significantly improved, and if so, how would you work to achieve that?

Textbooks for every student third to 12th grade would benefit students, parents and teachers. Investments in textbooks is essential to students having a basic education when they graduate. The basics of reading, writing, and arithmetic are the foundation for educational success. Lastly, we need a full-time resource officer and additional classroom space at St. Pauls Elementary. Why did art students take class in the hallway? Was it due to a lack of leadership and oversight by the school board member for District 6?

Ask yourself a question and answer it.

Locklear did not do so.

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