Chandra Short, school board candidate, District 2

Chandra Short

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

I believe my passion for Robeson County and our children’s education, along with me being a product of Robeson County Public School system, uniquely qualifies me to serve on the school board. Because I have a son who attends the a public school, I can bring the parent’s perspective allowing me to give reliable feedback that can assist the board in problem-solving. I’m the best candidate for District 2 school board. In relocating back to Maxton to help my family take care of my grandma, the odds were stacked against me. I was a single mom, no driver’s license, no car, no employment because I was not licensed to practice cosmetology in this state. I had to turn to the resources in this county, Temporary Assistance for Needy Families and Electronic Benefits Transfer, to help sustain myself until I could do better. I took the transportation bus that the county provided for free to Robeson Community College for the work keys training. I went away to school, got my Cosmetology License, returned to Maxton, worked, and got my driver’s license and a car. I am proof that hard work pays off. Robeson County is full of hardworking families that can relate because we have the same struggles. I can give them hope and help bridge the gap by creating a dialogue between the community, the administrators, the parents and the children in District 2.

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?

I think the No. 1 failure of the school board is they have lost their focus. It is and always will be about the children. Times are changing times; school board members have to be transparent while working collectively to better our school system. That’s why I’m running for school board. I am not afraid to get down in the trenches and roll up my sleeves and get to work. I believe in results.

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?

Safety for our students and staff is my No. 1 priority so I would like to see more school safety presence in the schools. I would install a locked door device that students and teachers can use to secure the classroom door if a lockdown occurs. I would also have safety drills for students and staff on what to do if an emergency occurs in the school.

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 do not favor corporal punishment in the school system. I believe children can be held accountable in other ways than hitting. If a child needs to be disciplined, studies show taking away privileges has better results then corporal punishment.

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?

I’m from the old school so I’m in favor of textbooks. All the information is just a page turn away. All you have to do is open the book. Our children get overexposure when it comes to technology between the cell phones, iPads, laptop, Playstations, etc. Even your television is a smart TV. In changing times, the fundamentals are still essential in our children’s education.

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?

Funding is allocated according to performance. As you know, the Public Schools of Robeson County are scoring low on the performance scale, so the funding coming into our district is low. However, we are not the only ones who’ve been faced with these challenges. In doing my research, studies show that investing all extra resources into programs to help advance low-income district is the best way to help our students succeed. If elected to the school board district, I plan to collaborate with school board members from other areas who have seen results and piggyback off their ideas and work towards getting additional funding for our students.

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?

I do agree that our school board has a reputation of micromanagement and not staying within its jurisdiction. As a school board member, my role will be to make policies and trust that the administration will do their jobs and implement those policies.

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?

Having a central office is essential to handle the business of the county, however, building one from the ground up, I do not support. I suggest the property in Maxton that was created for recreation. It’s not being used by the community however the lights and water are on. I think funds are not being managed properly. I’d like to see some fiscal accountability from the school board. If we used what we have already, we could use the funding that becomes available for the advancement of the students.

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?

I feel that the Robeson County Public School system lags far behind because our schools are not graded A or B. We have C and D and F schools so there is no way our students will be able to go out and perform on A level because the structuring of the educational institution is not A level. We need to refocus our methods of teaching and supporting the teachers because everyone learns differently. At the end of the quarter, students and guidance counselors should meet to assess what direction the student is going, holding the student accountable as well for there education.

Ask yourself a question and answer it.

Short did not do so.