Michael Hood has been sharing his research into the Orange County Schools and education issues with school board members for the last five years, running unsuccessfully for a seat in 2014.
His findings – combined with his 35-plus years in computer industry research and development – qualify him to make the necessary budget decisions, he said, and to help local schools and students be more successful.
While Hood, 65, is a Durham resident, he lives in Orange County and is running against Hillsborough resident John Hamilton for an unexpired, two-year term on the county Board of Education. Board member Rosa Williams held the seat until she died in February 2015. Her replacement, former board Chairwoman Debbie Piscitelli, resigned in November.
The winner of the March 15 nonpartisan primary will serve through 2018. Early voting begins March 3.
See the full interview at chapelhillnews.com:
What steps do you think the school board can take to address nearly $100 million in school repairs and renovations not covered by the county’s $125 million bond?
Hood: Currently 85 percent of OCS budget goes to salaries and benefits for staff, which leaves very little to invest for major capital expenses. The board members will have to prioritize the capital needs and address current program expenditures to ensure that all available funds are used wisely. My background in project management in the private sector in product development will be useful in addressing this problem.
Anytime you’re running a project, there’s everything that you would like to have, then there’s a list of what you actually going to need, and then you’re going to have to prioritize and put it in a statement that basically says we’re going to have to prioritize the spending of the remaining 15 percent of the funds that we have available.
We’ve got programs that have basically shut down, but we’re still allocating money in the budget, because government entities do baseline budgeting – this is what I got last year and I need more, like the federal government.
What ideas would you bring to the board that no one else is proposing?
Hood: One of my objectives is to address the security of our students, staff and facilities. The 2006 shooting at Orange High School could be repeated, as the campus is no more secure now than in 2006. We need to continue the support of our school resource officers and to fully implement the recommendations of the Safe Havens security audit as quickly as possible.
In the San Bernardino terrorist shooting, the police responded to the 911 call in four minutes; resulting in 14 dead and 22 wounded and the shooters gone. The prevention of the act is much more desirable than the response to the aftermath.
Address: 4415 Renfrew Drive, Durham
Contact: email@example.com; 919-383-5043
Career: Retired computer industry professional
Political activities: 2014 Orange County Schools Board of Education candidate
Community activities: Actively researched school data and presented findings to board for five years; former co-chair, PTA Science and Technology Committee at Hillsborough Elementary School; former member, Orange High School Athletic Booster Club
John D. Hamilton
Hillsborough resident John D. Hamilton, 77, also is running for former member Rosa Williams’ unexpired, two-year school board term.
The professor emeritus of medicine in the infectious diseases division at Duke University is the former chief of the Durham Veterans Affairs Infectious Diseases Section. He was promoted to chief of the adult Duke Infectious Diseases and International Health Division in 1994 and retired from Duke in 2012.
Hamilton did not respond to questions about his campaign. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 919-760-9425.