Name as it appears on the ballot: Alfreda Wilson
Full legal name, if different:
Date of birth: Jan. 4, 1964
Home address: 7325 Bassett Hall Court, Raleigh, NC 27616
Mailing address, if different from home:
Campaign Web site: www.electalfredawilson.com
Occupation & employer: Parent, Independent Contractor/Monumental Life Insurance Company
Home phone: 919-995-0995
1. If elected, what are your top priorities for the school board?
The educational needs of the Wake County children (our children) will always be my top priority as a school board member. In order to best address the needs of the children, however, we must address the appearance of poor planning by the school board, improve communication and public awareness during the planning stages, keeping in mind that parents are an essential and integral part of our school system.
2. What is there in your record as a public official or other experiencee.g., career, community servicethat 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.
I work with WCPSS daily as a proud parent and volunteer of four sons. I understand the responsiveness and understanding a Wake County Board of Education representative must have in order to effectively address parental concerns and challenges. As a public servant, employed through the federal and state governments, I managed, trained and created effective programs. I currently successfully manage a large insurance agency. Although I do spend the majority of my volunteer work at the schools, I have organized, coordinated and managed multiple successful Red Cross Blood drives and have served on a variety of church committees. My public service record does not demonstrate, nor does it show, experience in wasting taxpayers money, squabbling over the use of general warranty and quit claim deeds, money that is so desperately needed to funded programs in our schools.
3. The Independents mission is to help build a just community in the Triangle. How would your election to the board help further that goal?
It is my desire to be a member of a Board of Education that is accountable and recognized for its planning efforts, responsive to county citizens and user-friendly for the families and taxpayers of Wake County. The quality of education provided by Wake County Public Schools seems to be clouded by the many obstacles and issues we face that do not address the academic needs of our children. We must provide an educational system in which parents, taxpayers and educators of Wake County are comfortable and proud to be a part of.
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 diversity is an important piece in our school system and one that the Board of Education does an excellent job of trying to maintain; however, it should not be the sole priority when making student assignments. The current reassignment and transfer policies implemented may put so much emphasis on socio-economic diversity that other criteria are overlooked. While it is important to strive for diversity at each school, as a school board member I will take into consideration many other factors before socio-economic diversity becomes the determining factor. It is imperative that the results of the school boards decisions further unite the community, not divide it.
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?
I support the year-round program if implemented on a voluntary basis. As I understand, there is an assumption that the board has a plan to make all new elementary and middle schools year-round. All four of our sons have attended year-round schools and it has been a very positive experience for my family. I understand that the year-round calendar is not for every family. Hence, we must expand and promote the voluntary year-round school program, offer a fresh variety of magnet programs and provide support for family preference.
6. Hows the board handling the annual reassignment issue, in your opinion?
While reassignments are necessary in addressing overcrowding issues, I believe longer range planning is in order. Knowing and acknowledging the plans of builders and developers in addition to housing trends could greatly enhance reassignment design and lessen the need for annual reassignment of the same areas. Although children are said to be resilient, theres a lot to be said about familiarity and stability.
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?
Funding for our schools is critical. We must continue to fund renovations of older schools as well as the construction of new schools to adequately manage student growth in Wake County. We also must find practical ways to provide this funding. While I do not have an official stance on which funding solution is best for Wake County, I do believe the Board of Education must be more willing to work with builders, developers and the various community leaders in site selections, funding construction of our schools and in finding the best ways to provide additional funding.
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 dont happen unless the school board asks. As a board member, can you foresee supporting bond issues of that magnitude? Why or why not?
As I have supported past school bonds, I can foresee myself supporting future bonds; however, I am not at liberty to say at this point as to what magnitude I would be willing to support. It is the citizens of Wake County who will ultimately set the magnitude of any bond.
9. The school boards goal of having 95 percent of all students achieving at grade level seems to be just out of reach, with past gains now halted. Whats your view of this goal, and how (or whether) to try to reach it?
I believe this is a noble goal that may be attainable. In order to reasonably achieve this goal, however, the Board of Education must ensure that appropriate resources are provided to students.
10. What steps, if any, would you advocate to improve educational outcomes for at-risk students and to reduce dropout rates?
Students drop out of school for a variety of reasons. Many students lose interest in school, as the curriculum is not suited to their perceived needs or career path. We must do our best to recruit and retain quality minority teachers and educators, role models and mentors to which these teens can relate as well as provide hands-on programs to enhance academic interests in order to foster a childs willingness to graduate from high school. I would advocate for and encourage programs that target at-risk students encouraging them to acquire an education.