Saturday, April 13, 2024

2018 Election: Don Hayes, candidate for re-election, New Hanover County Board of Education

Don Hayes has served six terms on the Board of Education and is seeking re-election. Hayes is a registered Republican.

Don Hayes is a current New Hanover County Schools' Board of Education member. (Port City Daily photo /COURTESY NEW HANOVER COUNTY BOARD OF ELECTIONS)
Don Hayes is a current Board of Education member for New Hanover County Schools. (Port City Daily photo /COURTESY NEW HANOVER COUNTY BOARD OF ELECTIONS)

NEW HANOVER COUNTY—Don Hayes is a current Board of Education member for New Hanover County Schools.

Hayes has served six terms and is in his 24th year on the board. He is seeking re-election. Hayes is a registered Republican. Hayes lives off River Road on Cypress Island Drive and is a parent of one. During the primary this spring, Hayes earned the third-most votes, securing a spot on the ballot.

Below are Hayes’ answers to Port City Daily’s questions.

Author’s note: Port City Daily checked in with Hayes to confirm his answers, as provided this spring, still applied. He did not respond, therefore, his answers remain the same.

What do you see as highest priority issue New Hanover County Schools face?

Continuing to implement the recommendations from our safety audit to make our schools and our children safe as possible

Do you find the operating budget to be appropriate? Would you like to see it increased, decreased or stay the same?

Due to growth and safety concerns I would like to see the budget increased.

Author’s note: Port City Daily initially identified the “operating budget” in our candidate survey questions as the total budget. The question has been simplified in its published form.

Michael Earl Kelly has been charged with at least 14 counts of indecent liberties with a minor. He taught at Isaac Bear Early College since the school’s inception. If information becomes available that NHCS staff members were aware of any of Kelly’s abuses, how would you plan to hold those individuals accountable?

We have a very close working relationship with law enforcement in New Hanover County. If information were to be withheld that violated the law, then in conjunction with law enforcement, we would prosecute those individuals to the fullest extent of the law.

Author’s note: Since Port City Daily’s questionnaire was shared with candidates, Michael Earl Kelly has been charged with an additional 27 charges related to sex crimes against children.

Do you feel that New Hanover County elementary schools have a fair and just socioeconomic study body composition? Its middle schools? Its high schools?

The vast majority of parents in New Hanover County want their children in a school as close to home as possible. The board has honored their request and then we fund those schools based upon the needs represented. Higher-need schools or higher-needs schools receive higher funding.

Do you support the NHCS board’s decision to delay school redistricting? Why or why not?

I believe very strongly improving in providing as much choice as possible in where children attend school. We have many different programs, year-round, magnets, open enrollment, specialty, early colleges, SEA-TECH and signature programs in our schools. If these choices don’t balance the numbers out, then redistricting would become necessary.

What is your opinion of having a board comprised of multiple individuals having served 15 or more years? What are the strengths or weaknesses of having a majority veteran board?

Veteran board members are evidently supported by the parents in New Hanover County that are involved in their children’s education. We have a good cross-section of individuals on our board and the veteran members have an advantage of being familiar with the history of our system. As a former history teacher, I know that if we don’t learn from our history then we are bound to repeat it.

What strategy do you support in managing school overcrowding?

Choices for parents and our students in school choice to balance the numbers. However, due to growth, you eventually have to put fort bond proposals to build additional facilities.

What are your thoughts on Charter schools?

Charter schools are public schools which provide another choice for parents. The charter school movement has grown because in many instances the public schools have not responded adequately to parental concerns.

RiverLights is apparently receiving a new elementary school. Do you believe this is a fair prioritization of resources?

I don’t know that RiverLights is receiving a new elementary school. There has been talk about land being donated that would allow Mary C. Williams to be expanded due to the growth in the area.

You can check out all of the candidates under our elections tab.

Johanna Ferebee can be reached at or @j__ferebee on Twitter

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