MOUNT VERNON — The Mount Vernon Education Association and the Mount Vernon School Employees Association took to task five of the six candidates for the Mount Vernon Board of Education on Thursday night, asking questions related to Issue 2, Race to the Top and subcontracting.
In order to provide the audience with the best picture of each candidate, the candidates were kept in a separate room so that they could not hear the questions or their competitors’ answers to the four questions.
The questions, and the candidates’ responses are as follows:
1. How do you foresee Issue 2 impacting your role as a school board member?
“I don’t see it impacting my role as a school board member unless it is passed,” said Margie Bennett. “Then I don’t know that it will impact our role significantly because our teachers have been very professional and have bargained in good faith. So, I know that will continue and we would treat them with the same respect and courtesy as if that had not passed.”
“Issue 2 is going to affect all of us,” said Cheryl Feasel. “We need to realize we have the right in this country to make choices and what I want everyone to do is go forward and use the democratic process to vote and remember we are here, we can have choices.”
Jeff Cline said that he is currently reading up on Issue 2. As a former union employee, he said he has seen good and bad in unions. “I think there are probably things that can be done with unions. … I want to investigate a little more before I make a decision on that.”
“I support the unions,” said Marie Curie. “As a school employee I support the union. My husband is in a union.”
“Regardless of whether Issue 2 passes or fails, I believe that a school board, if they are going to be attracting and retaining the best teachers … you have to offer competitive salaries and good benefits. Otherwise your best people will flee to greener pastures when a neighboring school district is offering better salaries and better benefits,” said Steve Kelley. “When you are looking at finding ways to make your budget work, the last place you want to go is teacher salaries and benefits.”