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McDuffie BOE, District 5 Runoff - Dec. 2

Greg Derry

Please define your qualities/experience that you feel make you most eligible to be a school board member.

My ability to listen to others while gathering relevant information is important. Another quality, which will serve me well on the school board is my ability to keep an open and level head during the times of conflict. However, I believe the single most important quality I possess, which will best serve our school board is that of creative problem solving. There are and will always be difficult and complicated issues facing our school system. We should look for and consider ways of achieving positive results, which have not been explored before.

The school system has already been informed by state officials that another one percent cut in revenue will take place next year. How do you propose dealing with additional cuts in the budget?

Based on the data I've come across on our system and other school systems, it appears we could trim from our front office and cross-train the remaining staff without compromising our capacity to educate.

How would you balance spending money for repairing/upgrading/providing necessities for school buildings with spending money on improving athletic facilities?

Our athletic facilities, as far as I know, are in good functional condition and provide a safe and clean environment for our youngsters to compete and our fans to spectate. I'm of the opinion that the buildings housing our teachers and kids should receive primary concern, at this time.

List two changes you would like to see the school system make.

One immediate change I would like to see is in our disciplinary policy. We have hard working teachers and students who are daily placed in harms way, while those students who directly challenge their teacher and authority are often times allowed to return to the classroom. The instant a student becomes 'verbally rebellious' he/she should be removed from the classroom so instruction can continue and all students see that this behavior will not be tolerated.

Another change I would like to see is to truly place value on our hard-working educators. Many people say that teachers and police men are the heroes of today and I truly believe that. I would also like to see an annual 'teacher banquet' where all teachers are honored by the community, this too could take the form of a system-wide fund raising event. Other ways we could honor our educators is through 'teacher trading cards.' These could be sold to students and parents for scrapbooks or keep sakes. The teacher with the highest monthly sales receives a free meal at a local restaurant where he/she is honored with their photo and a write up on the restaurant wall.

Your last pitch - anything else you'd like to tell the voters.

I know from personal experience that the absence of parental interest or encouragement often time leads to falling grades. The competing interests our young people encounter will over shadow education. We must encourage our young folks to personally invest in their future by striving during their first 12 years of education. Some young folks will go through all 12 years without the great benefit of watching a living role model in their own home. Somehow, we must sell these kids on the hope that comes from a sound education. Whether their post graduation route is vocational, collegiate, or employment, they must be prepared for the day after graduation. I care deeply for young people and want to be on our school board to help craft policies, which will best enable them to succeed in whatever they undertake after high school.

Frank Locklear

Please define your qualities/experience that you feel make you most eligible to be a school board member.

I am a business owner with years of experience in managing projects, working with boards and committees, balancing budgets and making sure projects are completed satisfactorily. I am a graduate of Thomson High School, a native of McDuffie County and I have a special affinity for the school system of McDuffie County.

The school system has already been informed by state officials that another one percent cut in revenue will take place next year. How do you propose dealing with additional cuts in the budget?

One of the main things we can do, if we know there is another cut in funding coming, is to be good stewards now of what we have and finding ways to trim budgets during this year and be aware of areas that can be cut next year. The last area I would consider cutting would be in the classroom, things that affect the quality of the education we are providing to the students. One thing we cannot do is continue to expect the taxpayer to pick up the tab for any budget shortfalls that may come. The board and superintendent must control spending. According to our new president elect, all of us may sacrifice in the future and so it may be in the school system.

How would you balance spending money for repairing/upgrading/providing necessities for school buildings with spending money on improving athletic facilities?

Balance is the key word here. In order to provide a well rounded education, I believe we need education, fine arts and athletics. We need safe, secure facilities for all of these. I believe first consideration must always go to the classroom and school buildings. But we must also provide safe environments for the physical portions of the students' experience. This includes playing fields, gymnasiums and the football stadium. Safe school buses and qualified drivers are also important.

List two changes you would like to see the school system make.

I would like to see the school board appoint a public relations person. I do not advocate this being a new hire, but would like to see someone in the board building, all ready on the payroll that has good communication skills and a pleasant personality being the liaison between the school board/school system and the community. This person would be tasked with making sure the community is aware of the issues and actions coming before the board, achievements, accomplishments and other items of concern to the community at large. Also, I would like to see a change made in how the school system is funded in our county. Property taxes are not the solution to every source of needed revenue. It would be much more equitable to have support from sales taxes. A local option sales tax for the school system would help relieve some of the burden property owners now feel while letting those parents with students in the system but no property tax burdens participate in the funding of their children's education.

Your last pitch - anything else you'd like to tell the voters.

I have enjoyed meeting many of the voters in District 5 and apologize that I did not get to everyone. I thank those that supported me in the general election and hope they and others will return to the polls and vote for me again in the runoff. Thank you all very much.



Web posted on Thursday, November 27, 2008













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