Feb 7 2006
11:47 am
By: Oren Incandenza  shortURL

Buried in the middle of Sandra Clark's column in Monday's Halls Shopper [http://www.hallsnews.com/columns/clark.htm] was a brief discussion of the race for Knox County School Board, District 7, between incumbent Diane Dozier and challenger Rex Stooksbury.  What's interesting about this is that the main justification for voting for Stooksbury seems to be "he's a good guy," while the main justification for Dozier is that she can bring home the bacon.  No one appears to be asking any questions beyond that level.

Here are some suggested questions that someone should be asking, and I would hope commenters might have more:

1. What exactly have you accomplished in your life up to now that qualifies you for this job?

2. When, if ever, did you last teach in a classroom on a regular basis?  If it's been more than five years, how do you know what your teachers and students need?  And how would you propose to keep up with that if (re-)elected?

3. Stooksbury was principal of Central High in the 1980s.  How did the school perform on testing and other objective metrics when he was there?  Did it improve, slip, or stagnate during his tenure?  Explain.

4. How have the schools in Dozier's district, including CHS, performed on testing and other objective metrics during her tenure on the board since 1998?  Have they improved, slipped, or stagnated?  Explain.

5. Why can't Knox County muster the funds, or perhaps the gumption to match the starting teachers' salaries of neighboring counties?  What would you actively do to change that?  (And muttering about the state's funding formula and inequities thereof is at best a partial answer, so skip it and tell us what else you'd propose and do.)  As former personnel director for the county schools, Stooksbury should have some specific knowledge of this topic, and Dozier should as well given her last seven-plus years on the board.

6. Would it make more fiscal sense to re-zone the county and balance the populations of the high schools before investing millions in a new high school?  Why or why not?  If this is at all a matter of political will, then why would you decline to exercise your will on this issue?

7. Do you insist that the new high school have athletic fields in place before it opens?  Why or why not?  Would it not be reasonable to wait and budget for the fields' construction a couple of years later, when the school is fully populated?

Just some thoughts.  I haven't made up my mind yet and if the candidates honestly answer these and other questions, maybe it'll be easier to do so.


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