Four candidates are running for an open at-large seat on the Rock Hill school board. The Herald is publishing their answers to questions about issues facing the school district.
The candidates are Dan Ballou, a civil trial lawyer; Terry Hutchinson, an automotive technician; Tyrie Rowell, a Charlotte Mecklenburg Schools after school program administrator; and Wayne Wingate, a former bagel shop owner.
More Rock Hill schools have opened enrollment to students across the district as magnet campuses and schools of choice. Superintendent Lynn Moody has predicted that one day the entire district might be choice. Is that a good idea? Why?
Ballou: As the parent of kids who went to a school of choice, I do think its a good idea. It may not be for everybody, but thats what choice is about. It gave us an opportunity to investigate other opportunities for our children and create a base of naturally involved parents.
I am not in favor of vouchers or tax credits (for parents who choose private school). I am in favor of choice in the district through innovation. They can provide very different learning environments for kids.
Should every school be a school of choice? If its got a unique curriculum, thats a good idea. What we found is even where youve got schools of choice, you get a healthy mix of students from a different zone and neighborhood kids.
Hutchinson: Absolutely, its a good idea. It gives parents the opportunity to choose where they want their child to go to school. Thats what America is about. The parent has the right and ability to send their children to the school that they choose.
Rowell: It gives a variety for the kids around, but its a touchy choice. We should keep it where we are now and see what parents are saying. It shouldnt be just an administrative choice. Thats something I want our parents to be able to take a survey and say, Yes, we want to be a district of choice, or, No, we dont.
Lets let our parents make that decision.
Wingate: Choice is a good idea. Ive been on the choice committee. These choices have come from the schools themselves. These choices havent been pushed down; it was bottom up. And bottom up works best, not top down.
The only caution I have is we need to make sure when were providing these choices that we dont neglect the basics. Whenever we do these things and have these kinds of specializations in schools, we have to make sure theyre integrated into the core curriculum.
Its nothing that Ive observed. Its just a yellow flag. We have just got to make sure we dont get so excited about Chinese, French, the arts or whichever program that we forget the basics.
District-wide is good as long as parents are providing transportation.
Compiled by Shawn Cetrone