Name as it appears on the ballot: Stan Morris
Campaign Web Site:
Occupation & Employer: Operations Officer, American Red Cross
Years lived in Orange County: approximately 10 years
1) What do you believe are the three most important issues facing the Orange Co. school system? If elected, what are your top three priorities in addressing those issues?
2) What in your record as a public official or other experience demonstrates your ability to be effective on the board? This might include career or community service; be specific about its relevance to this office.
Over my 25 year career, I have worked with the private sector, public sector and nonprofits to improve mission outcomes and realize operational efficiencies. I am on the board for Habitat for Humanity and have worked with executives and boards in my career with the Medical Foundation of NC and at the American Red Cross. I am a consensus builder and astute at ensuring fiscal concerns are addressed. This experience will enable me to work effectively with other members of the School Board and with the members of the County Commissioners.
3) How do you define yourself politically and how does your political philosophy show itself in your past achievements and present campaign platform?
I am a registered Democrat. As the Board of Education is non-partisan race, I believe that political party should not be determining factor in policy decisions.
4) How many Orange County Board of Education meetings have you attended in the past two years?
I have one meeting. I know several of the members of the Board of Education and have stayed informed of the issues through them and the staff of the school where my children attend.
5) Academically and intellectually gifted (AIG) and exceptional children present particular educational challenges to the district. How well is the district meeting the needs of these children? How could the district better meet their needs? What are the obstacles to these goals and how can they be surpassed?
I believe there is more we could be doing to address the needs of this population by ensuring we have the best trained staff dedicated to this cause and then allowing them to use there experience and skill to improve the outcomes. Given the lack of federal, state and county funds, this is one area ripe the exploration of nontraditional resources. Many businesses, civic organizations and foundations are willing to contribute and, if informed of the opportunity, can make a significant difference. If on the Board, this is one area that I would promote for community involvement.
6) What are your thoughts on the Raising Achievement and Closing the Gap report presented to the Board of Education in November? As a board member, how would you address the achievement gap?
I agree with the Boards directive to build actionable recommendations by forming committees to address the points established in the report. As a Board member, I would work to develop the recommendations into policy as quickly as possible.
7) The Orange County Board of Education recently decided to address an imbalance in economic diversity between Central Elementary and Hillsborough Elementary by setting a cap on the number of students from a given attendance zone who can be enrolled in HES. The board also chose to use federal Title One School Improvement money (available to the district because neither CES nor Efland-Cheeks Elementary made Adequate Yearly Progress in math last year) on pre-K programs. Both decisions have proven controversial. Do you agree with the boards actions?
I applaud the Board for its deliberative actions addressing this issue. It is a difficult situation that had to be resolved. As a Board member, I would continue to monitor the resolution and measure its results against the intended objectives.
8) Three Cedar Ridge High School students were sent to an in-school suspension classroom after refusing to take the Armed Forces Vocational Aptitude Battery in February. That school requires all juniors to take the test; Principal Gary Thornburg was quoted as saying, I dont have a lot of patience with people who refuse to do so. Do you think any Orange County students should be required to take the AFVAB? Should the district make a greater effort to protect the privacy of families who do not want their information made available to military recruiters?
Orange County students are not required to take the AFVAB. If the three individuals were disciplined for their refusal and not for behavioral reasons, then the matter should be address by the appropriate body. The privacy of all information not otherwise public should be evaluated and only released under specific circumstances when appropriate.
9) What method would you use to determine how resources should be allocated within the school system? Do you believe that resources are well now? If not, what would you change?
The students experience would be the ultimate measure. Each student should have an equal opportunity at achieving success. Creating that balance among our student population is a constant challenge, one that must be continually monitored. I believe the Board has acted to address these challenges and I would advocate that this challenge be one of its top priorities going forward.
10) In 2005, a report identified inequities between the Orange County and Chapel Hill-Carrboro school systems. How well do you believe those inequities have been addressed or remedied in the three years since? What more should be done, and how?
The Orange County School District is autonomous and separate from the Chapel Hill-Carrboro school system. Our challenge is to be the best school system we can be given the resources with which we have to work. We should compare ourselves to all 114 other school systems in the State and seek to be at the top of that list, regardless the rank of any other District.
11) How would you like to see school funding and other county needs met: Property taxes? Impact fees? Other revenue-raising or cost-cutting methods? Do you personally support the land transfer tax as a county funding option?
As a representative of the voters of Orange County, I will work to utilize the funds available in the most judicious and efficient manner to serve all the students of the Orange County School District. I will advocate for the all the funding necessary to implement those programs that are vital to success and will seek alternative mean of revenue and in kind contributions in the accomplishment of our mission. The Board of Education doesnt determine tax policy.
12) The Independents mission is to help build a just community in the Triangle. How would your election to office help further that goal?
By the integrity of my actions if elected to the Board. As a Rotarian, I like the Four Way Test. It is a guide to my actions everyday.
13) Identify a principled stand you have taken or would be willing to take if elected, even if you suspect might cost you popularity with voters.
I try to act as if I am creating principles every day by my behavior. As it has been noted, our actions speak so loudly, others cant hear what we say. I stand on my actions to date and am willing to let the people of Orange County determine their adequacy to the office I seek.