Appoquinimink school board election: Meadows challenging incumbent Wall

Voters head to the polls — or mail in their absentee ballots ahead of — July 21 for this year’s school board election. Downstate, there are seven contested elections. Learn a little bit more about the candidates below and check back for more districts this week.

To cast a ballot, voters must return an absentee affidavit four days before the election. The affidavit can be found at: elections.delaware.gov/services/voter/absentee/school.shtml.

The affidavit can be returned by mail, fax and an email to absenteencc@delaware.gov

Polls will be open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. at Bunker Hill Elementary School, at 1070 Bunker Hill Road, Middletown; Loss Elementary School, at 200 Brennan Blvd., Bear; Marion Proffitt Training Center, at 118 S. 6th St., Odessa; Middletown High School, at 120 Silver Lake Road, Middletown; Old State Elementary School, 580 Tony Marchio Drive, Townsend; Townsend Early Childhood Center, at 10 Brook Ramble Lane, Townsend; and Waters Middle School, at 1235 Cedar Lane Road, Middletown.

Wayne Meadows is challenging incumbent Michelle Wall for her at-large seat at the dais for Appoquinimink School District. The term is five years.

WAYNE MEADOWS

Why did you decide to run for school board?

Like any organization, the school board needs people with diverse experiences and viewpoints. Many in our district, including me, did not support the last referendum. The reason I did not support it was because I could not figure out why, over the previous ten years, enrollment in our schools increased by 27%, but spending went up 107%! Even if we take out all capital expenditures, spending growth far outpaced enrollment growth.

Wayne Meadows

My family and I are lucky that we can afford the tax increases. However, I am mindful of those in our district, including seniors on fixed incomes, who aren’t as lucky and cannot afford to get continual tax increases. I have heard from many seniors, who have been lifelong residents, that they are considering moving out of the district because they can’t afford to have their school tax raised continually.

Voters deserve to feel comfortable that the resources they have already provided to the district were used wisely to achieve our goal – graduating kids who are ready for college or the workforce – before being asked for additional resources. I believe it is not only the community’s right but their responsibility to question how their hard-earned money is being spent. However, the school board and the administration seemed to act with indignation and smugness that they were being questioned by members of the community.

What’s the biggest challenge facing your district, and how would you address it?

Keeping up with enrollment growth and finally fixing teacher compensation are certainly issues at the top of the list. However, I believe our biggest problem is we have lost sight of the real reason we have public schools. The schools are there to prepare kids for college or the workforce. Everything else the district does is ancillary to that goal.

According to the state, we only accomplish that 62.1% of the time. That means we are pushing 38% of our kids out of the school system without setting them up for success. That should make us all feel terrible. So should the fact that 35% of our 8th graders aren’t proficient in English, and 50% of our kids aren’t proficient in Math.

If your child is one of the 62% of children who are thriving, that is wonderful. However, we need to make sure that all children are being prepared for future success.

Sometimes we make ourselves feel better by telling ourselves we are doing better compared to other districts. However, that is little comfort to the 38% of 12th graders going out into the world unprepared. Recently US News and World Report ranked all High Schools in America. Our High Schools didn’t rank in the top 4,000 nationwide. Only one of them ranked in the top ten in Delaware (at number ten).
We must refocus on what’s important to not leave any child behind.

What are a few areas you’d like to focus on as a school board member?

If elected, I will work to:

  • Help leaders focus our spending on educating our children so they graduate ready for college and the workforce;
  • Encourage the board to interact with the larger community, not just those whose children currently attend one of our schools; and
  • Fight the bloat in the school budget.

What do you offer that your opponent may not?

I have a deep background starting, buying, and operating businesses that has trained me how to break problems down into bite-size chunks that can be easily digested to move the needle forward.

What relevant experience prepares you for this role?

I’m an entrepreneur who has had to make spending decisions and be creative to achieve goals. I believe I can be a valuable voice on the board to show we don’t need to choose between a great education, paying teachers and other staff fairly, and keeping costs under control.

MICHELLE WALL

Why did you decide to run for school board?

I am running for re-election to the school board to continue to champion education funding reform, work to close the salary gap for district staff, and to expand opportunities for all students.

Michelle Wall

When I ran for the school board 5 years ago, I ran to be a voice at the table promoting parent involvement to support teachers for the success of all students and my approach remains the same.

What’s the biggest challenge facing your district, and how would you address it?

The biggest issue facing the Appoquinimink school district is constantly finding the delicate balance between the resources of our community and doing what is best for kids. To do what is best for kids, a school board member, needs to be committed to continually working with members of the community and key stakeholders in the district to find this balance.

What are a few areas you’d like to focus on as a school board member?

Three things that I would like to continue to be focused on are 1) Education Funding Reform 2) Expanding Opportunities for all Students and 3) Equitable Staff Compensation.

The success of our district is based on a positive relationship between community members, teachers, parents, and students working together to achieve greatness. As a board member I am constantly trying to share with the community what is happening in our district.

I hold Bagels with a Board Member monthly, make efforts to have informational sessions about current issues and make myself available to meet with those who have concerns about the district. These are the steps that I have made in this volunteer role over the last five years, and will continue to make if reelected.

Please reach out to me via email Michelle.Wall@appo.k12.de.us, via Facebook at Michelle Wall Appoquinimink School Board Member, or join me for my next Bagels with Board Member to discuss your school district related concerns or to find ways to be involved.

What do you offer that your opponent may not?

I am a natural encourager, a trusted advocate, and an accessible community connector with a proven track record of commitment to the Appoquinimink school district as a parent, volunteer, and school board member.

What relevant experience prepares you for this role?

For the last five years, I have been a tireless advocate for our school district and our community as a school board member. I have served on the Delaware Early Childhood Council and the Delaware School Boards Legislative Committee where I have been a champion for education funding reform. I have worked hard to engage parents, support teachers, and expand opportunities for ALL kids in our district and this is what I plan to do as long as I have the opportunity to serve as a member of the Appoquinimink School Board.