Six running for school board

Winners of the three open seats on the Cabarrus County Board of Education this fall will face both old and new issues.

They'll visit both issues that affect education nationwide and those that are specific to Cabarrus County.

Six candidates are running for the school board in the Nov. 2 nonpartisan election. Among them are three incumbents, a former board member and two candidates who have never held elected office.

Board members Carolyn Carpenter, Andrea Palo and board chairman Wayne Williams are campaigning for re-election. Lynn Shue, a board member from 2000 to 2008, is running to rejoin the board after a two-year absence.

New candidates Chuck Hill and Blake Kiger are running for the first time.

Williams has served on the Board of Education since 1996. Palo was first elected in 2006. Carpenter has served since 2002.

The three winners will join board members Holly Blackwelder, a former board chair, Cindy Fertenbaugh and Tim Furr.

President Barack Obama's push for education reform calls for fixing the flaws of his predecessor's No Child Left Behind program. Less reliance on standard benchmark testing and more emphasis on preparing all students for future success, not just those who plan to attend college, could bring about changes in school programs.

The Cabarrus schools, like most school systems in these economically uncertain days, struggles to stretch its educational dollars around various funding cuts. The recent decision by the N.C. Court of Appeals to strike down the county's Adequate Public Facilities Ordinance may eliminate a significant source of revenue for school construction projects.

The ordinance forced developers of residential subdivisions to pay a per-lot fee if public facilities - mainly schools - were not adequate to serve the residents who would live there.

Issues that continue to nag the Cabarrus County Schools include student reassignment, which prompted packed public hearings, parent surveys and the creation of a superintendent's task force last year. Such issues most likely will appear on meeting agendas for the newly elected board members as well.