Three RJR Parents Run for WS/FCS School Board

Laura Doughton, Online Editor

By Laura Doughton

On November 6, all eligible voters in Forsyth County will have the opportunity to vote for the Winston Salem Forsyth County School Board. The school board is made up of nine members who serve four year terms.

   Depending on where a voter lives, they will either vote for the two seats on the board for District 1, or the four seats for District 2. In addition, all voters will be able to vote on the three at-large seats. There are five incumbents running, three from District 2 and two at-large.

   The school board makes decisions on policy, curriculum and budget for the school system, among other things. It is the job of the school board to make decisions that best reflect the needs of schools and students.

   While the school board is a part of local politics, it is not made up of politicians. For the most part the members are educators and parents who wish to become involved in the decisions made about education.

   Three Reynolds parents have decided to run for school board in hopes of being a part of those decisions. Both Deanna Kaplan and Tim Brooker are running for at-large seats while Leah Crowley is running in District 2.

   “I decided to run for the Board of Education to be a voice or representative for parents and students who live in the center of town,” Brooker said. “We have board members who live in Kernersville, Lewisville, and Clemmons and there is nothing wrong with that but I feel like our board should have representation from this area.”

   People have varying ideas about how impactful the school board is. Some, such as civics teacher Cristofer Wiley, hold the school board to a high standard.

   “You want to make sure that none of the students are shortchanged in terms of their education,” Wiley said. “With so many students, you want to make sure that everyone is held to a high standard and, to some degree, that’s not necessarily something you can leave to each individual.”

   Deanna Kaplan hopes to improve the quality of education accessible to students and hopes to be a part of the decision making process in the school system.

   “It [the school board] is the most important agency regarding children’s education in our jurisdiction,” Kaplan said. “Teacher salaries, supplements, teaching positions, resources, facilities and curriculum are determined and partially funded by the local school board. In other words, many of the enhanced educational opportunities are determinded by the Board of Education.”

   While the Board of Education directly impacts their education, not many students are aware of the school board election.

   “I’ve definitely seen signs for many of the candidates around town, and I’ve heard there have been some debate in regards to how much teachers are paid, but that’s most of what I know,” junior Zoe Brockenbrough said.

   With the election approaching it is important for voters to be aware of the issues that they are voting on.

   “My advice quite simply, and I’m biased as a civics teacher, but it would be for the voters to register, prepare to vote by being educated about the issues that are there, issues like neighborhood school and lots of big issues about equity that are going to be, in no uncertain terms, on the ballot,” Wiley said. “I would encourage anyone who can, anyone who is able to vote to do so, to be a part of creating the outcome that is best for us all.”