Opinion

Douglas for school board

In the race for the District 3 seat on the Rock Hill school board, we endorse incumbent Mildred Douglas.

Douglas, who teaches math at Monroe Middle School in North Carolina, is seeking her third four-year term on the board. She is opposed by Deborah Broome, an internal auditor for Winthrop University.

The Rock Hill school board and others statewide have been buffeted in recent months by changes in school funding resulting from the passage of property tax reforms by the state Legislature. A slumping economy has made matters even worse.

Douglas has been an enthusiastic supporter of several new programs designed to meet a variety of needs in the district. She fears that, with a drop in available money, those programs may be cut back or placed on hold.

Nonetheless, she said that basic goals remain the same -- reducing the dropout rate; helping students graduate from high school in four years; providing alternatives for students who don't thrive in a traditional setting; and offering new challenges and opportunities for gifted students.

She has been a supporter of the Summer Bridge for ninth- graders, which helps freshmen make the transition to high school. She notes that students often choose to drop out in the ninth grade and that if they can be convinced to stay, they are less likely to drop out later.

Douglas praises the districts Renaissance Academy, which offers students who are expelled from school the chance to continue earning high school credits. She fears, however, that programs like this will be curtailed.

She also is enthusiastic about turning Sunset Park Elementary School into a magnet school that focuses on the arts. This will include not only a new curricula beginning in the 2009-2010 school year but also a facelift for the front entrance of the school.

As a two-term veteran, Douglas, we think, has experience in dealing with the many challenges facing the district and coping with the ups and downs of funding.

Broome, her opponent in this race, has three children who attend schools in the district and has been active in their school activities. She is running as an advocate for all children in the district, particularly those with special needs.

She is concerned about the threat of violence in schools and the lack of reading comprehension among many middle schoolers. She also believes her accounting expertise would be an advantage on the board.

While she appears passionate in her desire to help enrich the lives of students, we think Douglas' experience as a teacher and proven judgment make her the better candidate in this race.

IN SUMMARY

District 3 board member Douglas has experience as a teacher and a two-term incumbent.

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