Beverley S. Clark | Candidate Questionnaires | Indy Week
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Beverley S. Clark 

Candidate for Wake County Board of Education District 6

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Name as it appears on the ballot: Beverley S. Clark
Full legal name, if different: n/a
Date of birth: 9/24/56
Home address: 3513 Lubbock Dr. Raleigh, NC 27612
Mailing address, if different from home:
Campaign Web site:
Occupation & employer: non practicing lawyer
Home phone: 919-782-6246
Work phone:
Cell phone: 919-247-4207

1. If elected, what are your top priorities for the school board?

My top priority is to continue to work to assure that we have truly equal opportunities for all students to be successful in Wake County schools. To accomplish this, we must increase the rigor and expectations for all students, and we must not lose our focus on the importance of a healthy and diverse student body as a means to offering educational excellence. Wake County has a historical basis of creating equity among its schools by focusing on diverse student populations, quality teachers meeting all students’ needs, and having all schools share the challenge of educating those students with greater needs.

2. What is there in your record as a public official or other experience—e.g., career, community service—that demonstrates your ability to be effective as a board member? Please be as specific as possible about the relevance of your accomplishments to your goals for the board.

My legal career as well as my career in public service both reflect my interest in the environment, social justice, and education. I believe that my service on the Board of Education is one key example of that. My other activities. I have served as a mentor and a tutor, and am still mentoring a young man who is a sophomore at NC Central. I have served on numerous Boards, including the Friends of the NC Museum of Natural Science for 6 years, Communities in Schools, and multiple PTA Boards. As a lawyer, I served as the SE Regional attorney for the Nature Conservancy. In law school, I received the Captain Robert Miller Knox award “for outstanding contributions to the law school community.”

3. The Independent’s mission is to help build a just community in the Triangle. How would your election to the board help further that goal?

I am probably the most consistent and consistently outspoken member of the Board of Education with regard to educational equity. It is simply my passion. Educational opportunity is the foundation of a just community.

4. Wake schools are known for a commitment to economic diversity, but the goal of having no more than 40 percent of kids eligible for free and reduced meal plans in any school is slipping. Do you think the board should be more rigorous about adhering to its diversity goal? Less rigorous? Or is it getting things about right?

I believe that the board should be more rigorous about adhering to its diversity goal, although I do not think that it is possible to get it “just right” in a numerical sense. The key has got to be that we not only work on the economic balance of schools, but that we also assure that schools with less vocal parent populations have great facilities, a high percentage of Nationally Board certified teachers and great principals. Creating that strong learning environment will be key to providing increased opportunities for at risk students and keeping middle class students at those schools.

5. With 7,000-8,000 new students a year and money short, the board adopted a policy of making every new elementary school a year-round school. Do you support that policy? Or, if not, what alternatives would you support to meet the enrollment crunch?

Yes, the conversion criteria that the Board adopted were specifically focused to look at where the rapid growth is occurring; similarly, the new schools are primarily being built in areas of rapid growth so increasing the capacity of the school by making them YR makes sense. I will support YR schools as a component of future capital improvement plans, provided that the data that we are gathering this year confirms that they are cost-effective solution to extreme growth. I am not convinced that making all schools year-round would be cost-effective, but as we open new schools in areas of spiraling development, opening them as YR is logical.

6. How’s the board handling the annual reassignment issue, in your opinion?

In the years that I have been on the Board we have made major steps towards increasing the community involvement and community understanding of the assignment process. However, in the busy world we live in, the reality is that, regardless of the number of community meetings we have, most folks don’t really tune in until the assignment process affects them.

7. Some board members have spoken out in favor of impact fees on new development in Wake County or, alternatively, an Adequate Public Facilities ordinance that would limit residential growth to available school slots. Do you support either idea or both?

Yes, I support impact fees, Adequate Public Facilities Ordinances, and putting a transfer tax on an upcoming ballot. I believe that it is essential that we identify and implement mechanisms for “growth contributing” to its costs prior to putting another bond referendum on the ballot.

8. The Wake Commissioners estimate that $3 billion to $4 billion in additional school bond issues will be needed over the next eight years. But bonds don’t happen unless the school board asks. As a board member, can you foresee supporting bond issues of that magnitude? Why or why not?

It does no good to support school bonds without taking the necessary steps to assure passage of those bonds. I cannot foresee our community supporting bonds of that magnitude without there being some corresponding adjustment to the revenue structure e.g. impact fees or some other method of growth paying for itself.

9. The school board’s goal of having 95 percent of all students achieving at grade level seems to be just out of reach, with past gains now halted. What’s your view of this goal, and how (or whether) to try to reach it?

There are several components to the answer of why this goal is out of reach. The key factor in the progress made previously was that there was additional funding available to hire additional teachers to work more closely with students who were not at grade level. The school system has not continued to receive additional funds equal to the influx of children. Additionally, the current level of growth contributes to making such a goal out of reach. When 8,500 students being tested in the school system have only been benefiting from the quality of the WCPSS for 1 year then it is difficult to compensate for the possible shortfalls of their prior system. In other words, our data indicates that a student is more successful the longer they have been in the WCPSS. Additionally, given the increase in the number of high needs students in our population, the fact that our test scores have stayed steady is a great accomplishment.

10. What steps, if any, would you advocate to improve educational outcomes for at-risk students and to reduce dropout rates?

Given that the Board of Education will be receiving the results of the curriculum audit in the coming week, I am eager to learn of those recommendations and suggestions. Clearly, allocating our strongest teacher resources to students with the greatest need is a proven method. Great teachers can accomplish great things with all students.

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