Most School Board Members Unopposed

Most School Board Members Unopposed

The Central School Board, which serves as the “board of directors” of the Central Community School System will be up for reelection on Tuesday, Nov. 4.  But at the close of qualifying on Aug. 22, only three of the seven school board members drew opposition.  The others will be automatically elected for another four-year term.

The Central School System, which began operations in July 2007, is now one of the top five school systems in the state, and the three board members with opposition are expected to base their campaigns on the success of the system.

The four school board members elected without opposition are

• Jim Lloyd from District 1

• Roxanne Atkinson from District 2

• David Walker from District 3

• Jim Gardner from District 5

The contested races will be in the following districts:

• District 4 where Philip Ziegler is challenging Will Easley.  Ziegler, who is involved in sales, says he would like Central schools to phase out of Common Core.  Easley, who serves as vice president of the school board, is the founder and retired president of Trade Construction on Joor Road.  Easley, one of the early supporters of the appointment of Mike Faulk as superintendent, has focused on keeping the school on a firm financial footing, holding down taxes, and promoting vocational training.

• District 6 where Nick Carmena is challenging Ruby Foil.  Carmena, who manages his family’s company, says he would like to make the Central school system one of the best in the nation.  Foil is a retired teacher and long-time principal at schools such as Bellingrath Hills Elementary.  She has expertise in school budgeting and has been a voice for teachers on the board.  Along with Easley and former board member Morris Anderson, Foil was one of the first supporters of Mike Faulk.

• District 7 where Felicia Braud is challenging Sharon Browning.  Braud, who has served as a volunteer firefighter, wants pay raises for faculty and staff.  Browning, who served as president of the school board during the construction of the $55 million Central School Complex, was an English teacher and counselor at Central High for more than 30 years.  She was named East Baton Parish Teacher of the Year and Southeast Regional Teacher of the Year.

All of the candidates are Republicans, except Carmena, who has no party affiliation.

The election is Tuesday, Nov. 4.  Since there are only two candidates in each of the three contested school board races, there will be no runoff in the Dec. 6 election.

The campaign literature of the incumbent school board members is focusing on the accomplishments of the entire board over the past four years, including:

• Central is an A-rated school system

• Construction of the $55 million Central School Complex, which includes the new Central Intermediate School and Central Middle School

• Life Safety Code improvements at all other Central schools

• Won voter approval of a new 9th Grade Academy

• Cleaning up old Central Middle School site

• Acquisition of Greenwell Springs Hospital site for possible use as a new high school

• No sales or property increases in past four years

• No roll forward of property tax millages

• Maintaining a surplus of more than $10 million in order to secure the lowest rate on construction bonds

• ACT scores of 21.1 at the high school, well above national average

Opponents of the three are generally focusing on opposing Common Core, pay raises for school personnel, and further improving standards and test scores.

The Central City News will The publish an election guide on Thursday, Oct. 2 and a special edition Oct. 30.

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