Published: Mar 16, 2013 03:00 PM
Modified: Mar 16, 2013 03:00 PM
CARY - Bill Fletcher said he has three main priorities to address as the new Cary-area representative on the Wake County school board: overcrowded schools, student assignment and academic rigor.
Fletcher, 63, served on the school board from 1993 to 2005. The Democrat-majority board appointed Fletcher, a Republican, this month to finish the term of Debra Goldman, who resigned to lead a nonprofit in Wilkes County. Q: What are your thoughts on balancing socio-economic diversity in schools?
We have a diverse society, and in order to be successful in a diverse society, we need diverse schools, Fletcher said.
He said he wants to prevent high-poverty schools. Teachers have a tougher burden, he said, when students enter kindergarten without basic skills. Q: As the board crafts a new student-assignment policy, what should be the focus?
One of my top three things for Cary is going to be stability for assignment, which in my experience is (more important) than proximity, Fletcher said.
As a real-estate agent, he said, he understands that families want to know where their children will attend school. He said hes in a favor of a policy that would offer base schools tied to addresses and also give parents a choice of schools with special programs. Q: Some western Wake County schools are overcrowded. Are mobile classrooms the best solution?
During his fist time on the board, Fletcher said, western Wake had more than half of the countys mobile classrooms.
I think the pods are a legitimate temporary solution to not having built enough schools for the last two decades, he said.
Theyre better, he said, than moving students off-campus for ninth-grade centers. Q: How important is it to put a bond referendum on the ballot? (Early talks of a bond suggest the need for more than $1 billion to build schools.)
I think the answer to whether we need it is yes, Fletcher said. As to whether now is the right time for it, Im not sure. ... Ive got some more learning to do. Q: Wake County Commissioners want to take over ownership of schools. What do you think about that?
Not a good idea, Fletcher said. The school district has effectively built and managed construction projects over the last 25 years, bringing projects in under budget.
The current system, he said, is a healthy method of checks and balances with the county. Q: Commissioners also want to change the way school board members are elected and create four at-large, countywide seats.
I think its a poor idea, Fletcher said. Its a solution looking for a problem we dont have. Q: Does western Wake County need more charter schools?
Charter schools are a viable option, Fletcher said. But he said hes not in favor of using tax dollars to build charters. Q: Will you seek election when your term ends in November?
I have no idea. Today its not part of my agenda. Q: How can parents tell you what matters to them?
Fletcher said he will be at Caribou Coffee at 109 S.W. Maynard Road in Cary at 2 p.m. Thursday, March 21. Anyone is willing to drop in and just have a little chat, he said.