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School Board Questionnaire: Ronnie Campbell

Patch asked candidates for School Board to complete a questionnaire to shed some light on where candidates stand in issues important to Alexandria City Public Schools. Here's what they had to say.

Patch School Board Candidate Questionnaire

District C Candidate Ronnie Campbell

Age: 56
Occupation: Sales Service Associate for the United States Postal Srvice
Incumbent or non-incumbent: Incumbent
If incumbent, how many years have you served on the board? Since 2006
How long have you been an Alexandria resident? Approximately 26 years
Which neighborhood do you live in? West End Alexandria
Website, Facebook page or other contact information: RonnieCares.com

What unique perspective, experience or expertise would you bring to the School Board?

I have served over six years on the current School Board. I have been a parent of an ACPS student for almost 19 years and currently have children since in the system. This gives me inside knowledge and experience of what is working and what needs work. I have been an involved parent, advocate and volunteer in our community and school system for 10-15 years. I have served on numerous committees and boards.

What are top challenges facing ACPS and how do you plan to engage the community to address them?

Our number one challenge besides raising achievement for all student would have to be our increasing enrollment with limited resources as far as facilities are concerned. Some of our school building need repairs and we need at least two new schools to accommodate the increased enrollment.

What role do the members of the School Board play in ensuring transparency and accountability at the ACPS Central Office?

That is our responsibility. The board has one employee the Superintendent. The Board needs to ensure that the Superintendent is held accountable for all actions concerning ACPS. Information that is public needs to be shared with the public. When information is not readily available and freely given to the public it is not transparent. This is an area that needs change.

What is your opinion of the superintendent’s job performance?

The School Board annually reviews the Superintendent's performance. Although legally I cannot comment on closed session specifics I will say that he has been given both praise and criticism. Understanding the magnitude of his position there are areas that need improvement.

How can a School Board member improve communication between ACPS and parents/caregivers?

The best way in my opinion is to be involved in the community especially the school community. They need to attend school PTA meetings not just their liaison appointed PTA meeting and events when ever possible. Listen to their concerns report back on issues of concern. Also give updates on what is happening. Stay in contact with parents and administrators.

What are some of your ACPS budget priorities? For example, do you favor spending more money to keep class sizes low or a longer school year or day? Are there certain areas that should be trimmed financially?

The School board needs to ensure appropriate programs are in place to challenge all of our student from our socioeconomically challenged, students with Special needs, English Language Learners and not to leave out our brightest students.

Our facilities need to taken care of by being proactive instead of reactive. We cannot wait for a HVAC to break down in the middle of the winter season to get it repaired or replaced.

At least two new schools are needed as soon as possible to accommodate the enrollment we currently have and to keep our classroom sizing as small as possible.

We need to continue to take care of our teachers and staff. We need to not only be hiring the highest quality teachers but be committed to support them.

We need to re evaluate programs in place and promote new and innovative ideas to reach and raise achievement levels for our students with Special needs.

The next School Board likely will need to address the possibility of boundary adjustments and attendance zone changes. What are your guiding principles regarding economic or racial segregation, neighborhood schools, magnet schools, class and school sizes, busing policies and other considerations?

In a school system such as ours there is no reason to have racial segregation in our neighborhood schools. I am proud that our school system and community put such a high value on keeping class sizes small. That is definitely a benefit of our public schools.

What role does a School Board member play in helping raise academic achievement for all students and close the achievement gap?

The School Board's role is a very important one. They approve program changes as well as new programs of study and set the tasks for the Superintendent to lead the school system. For example if the new School Board chose to not pay our teachers as well as they are now to save money we would not be able to keep our best teachers they would go where they would be appreciated. Also, we would have a hard time recruiting new teachers. If you want to raise achievement for our student you must be able to attract and retain the best and continue to stay competitive with the districts around us. This is just one example.

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