Thursday, May 01, 2008

Terron Sims

The following are the responses school board candidate Terron Sims (http://www.terronsims.com/) gave to the HeraldTrib's survey. –ST

Question 1: Little was changed after last year's process to alleviate overcrowding in a few north Arlington elementary schools. Many parents were angry that county-wide programs at Arlington Traditional School and Drew Model School were removed from the charge that the Elementary Crowding and Capacity Committee considered when looking for solutions to overcrowding. The school board has pledged to continue the process of looking at capacity issues.

Will the school board have to consider admissions priorities or moving/relocating ATS and Drew while looking at overcrowding issues in the coming year or two, why or why not?

It is possible that the school board would have to consider admission policies or relocating ATS and the Montessori program in order to handle the northern Arlington overcrowding issue, but I would not make an off the cuff decision to say Yes or No to such an action without studying all of the facts and data surrounding our school population.

I have stated in several debates and interviews that I would reform the boundary committee, but make it much smaller (no more than 11 persons). Based upon the school board's criteria, the committee would generate 3-5 solutions, using its own utility, brief the solutions to the effected PTAs, and then to the board. Upon the briefing, the board will make a decide upon one of the 5 suggested actions.

Question 2: What specific initiatives would you develop or enhance to ensure capital projects stay on time and at—or under—budget?

Based upon the timeline from formulation of the project to project completion, I would place oversight to ensure that APS is working with as close to real dollars as possible. What I do not want to see is a 2009 prjection for a 2020 project. That is too far out and disables us from properly estimating the costs of a project.

Question 3: Most of you have on your web site, in one form or another, concerns with the "achievement gap" between whites and minorities in the schools. Please consider the achievement gap in terms of a budgeting priority. Of the money that the school board controls (i.e., not "entitlement" monies from the state or federal government that must go toward specific programs), which program would you defend as having the highest priority in a shrinking budget and why?

Money is not always the answer. My two means of eliminating the achievement is vry cost effective: The Parent Outreach Program (P.O.P.) and the official partnership with the local Chambers of Commerce.

For P.O.P., I would use the Carlin Springs model where all of its funding came from grants and donations from local businesses. I plan to impart the same methodology for all of the schools that need the program. The partnership with the local Chambers comes free of charge. Their proffessionally mentoring our students will not cost APS.

Question 4: Democrats will endorse only two of you on May 1 and 3. If you are one of the four not endorsed, will you stay in the race? If so, what is your strategy beyond that date, given the strength conferred with the endorsement to the two winners?

If I happen to not gain the Democratic endorsement, I will not continue to run. I am a member of the Democratic Party and thus, will support my party throughout the remainder of the election cycle. At the same time, I will remain active in the community: volunteering my time to help our kids. That is what I have always done and what I will continue to do: win or lose.

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