Two-term Rock Hill school board incumbent Mildred Douglas says she's running again to see what happens with programs the school district has added during her tenure. Challenger Deborah Broome says her experience as an auditor will be an asset during the looming lean budget years.
Here's a look at both candidates running for the board's District 3 seat and where they stand on some issues:
• Age: 44
• Occupation: Internal Auditor at Winthrop University
• Home: Rock Hill
• Family: Married, three children
• Education: Master's in business administration from Winthrop University
• Political experience: None
• Age: 62
• Occupation: Teaches math and science to sixth-graders at Monroe Middle in Monroe, N.C.
• Home: Rock Hill
• Family: Married, four children
• Education: Master's in early childhood education
• Political experience: Two four-year terms on the Rock Hill school board
Top issues in Rock Hill school board District 3
What would be your top three priorities if elected to the school board, and how would you address them?
• Literacy. "I believe that's an area that's lacking now. You need to be able to read well so you can grasp other concepts. I want to know what programs are in place now. I want to know what's working and what's not. If you look at PACT (students' state test) scores, you see that in every grade we have children who are below basic. We need to focus on them and get them to at least basic." She said she wants to make sure programs are working in elementary grades, then expand them for middle and high schoolers.
• Special needs students and those with disabilities. "I want to make sure parents know what their rights are and that students' rights are protected and to make sure staff knows what the law says."
• Making the board more accessible to parents and teachers. She said the current school board makes it difficult for parents to address it. "I have personally experienced a delay tactic." She said it's been difficult to speak before the board in the past. She said members asked her several times to postpone her discussion. "It shouldn't matter why I wanted to go before the board. It's just not easy. I'm not out to bash the board, I just know it's not as user-friendly as it should be. As a board member, I'd try to put drop boxes in schools where parents could give feedback."
• "Look at the high school dropout rate to see if we can increase the number of students graduating. I would visit schools and look at data to see if strategies are working and need to be changed."
• "Looking at the budget to see if it needs to be tweaked. I would prioritize what we need and prepare for shortfalls from the state."
• Address the achievement gap. "I would look at the programs that are in place and decide whether they're working. I would meet with committees to devise new programs if needed."
The Rock Hill school district has for several years failed to hit all of its goals under the federal No Child Left Behind law. The district continues to face the law's most stringent sanctions and is revamping its curriculum. What can you as a school board member do to help in this matter?
• Broome: "As an internal auditor, I'm used to reading laws. I think I could be valuable in understanding what the law says we need to do, then give guidance. That's the way I perceive the role of the board."
• Douglas: "My thing would be to make sure the funds are there for these programs -- Saturday school for elementary students, the bridge program for ninth-graders, the growing gifted and talented magnet program at Sunset Park Elementary -- to help raise achievement."