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Among the seven candidates for the two contested spots in Franklin County, five are vying for the at-large seat.
Gina Haley Kennett
Thursday, October 24, 2013
Seven candidates are running for two seats on the Franklin County School Board after a tumultuous year that saw the board take desperate measures during budget negotiations with the board of supervisors.
Another three incumbents are making uncontested bids for re-election.
Vice Chairman G.B. Washburn, who has represented the Snow Creek District for four terms, is being challenged by Brian Hamilton.
Hamilton, 37, said he has considered a run before but was motivated to jump in by events of the past four years.
He said he would put an emphasis on communicating with constituents.
Among his priorities, he said, would be a step-by-step investment plan to boost the quality of each grade level and eventually improve the graduation rate.
Washburn, who sits on the new joint budget committee, has consistently shown an interest in the county’s agriculture heritage and the role of athletics in schools. He was among the group that voted against eliminating middle school sports earlier this year, a measure that was passed. The sports later were reinstated.
Running unopposed are Chairwoman Sarah Alexander of the Rocky Mount District, Thad Montgomery of the Boone District, and Julie Nix of the Blue Ridge District. Nix was appointed in June to fill the unexpired term of former board chairman Ed Jamison, who resigned in May in protest of the proposed budget cuts.
All of the candidates are running as independents.
Meanwhile, five candidates have thrown their hats into the ring for the at-large seat being vacated by William Helm, who is not seeking re-election.
He also wants to use his background in technology to lower costs, improve educational opportunities by collaborating with other school systems and receive feedback from constituents.
She has made a point of engaging with parents and community members, she said, and believes there should be an added focus on widening preschool attendance and boosting graduation rates.
As a member of the school board, she would push to equip teachers and schools to meet each student’s educational needs.
She would also demand more accurate budget projections and accountability from school administration.
He said he would steer the budgeting conversation, when necessary, away from demands for more and toward finding optimal uses for the funding.
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