Sunday, February 25, 2024

2022 Election: Dorian Cromartie vies for a seat on NHCS board

Democrat Dorian Cromartie hopes to win a seat on the New Hanover County Board of Education in 2022.

NEW HANOVER COUNTY — Democrat Dorian Cromartie hopes to win one of the four seats open on the New Hanover County Board of Education in 2022.

Port City Daily has sent a questionnaire to every candidate running in local elections in the tri-county region.

Cromartie’s stances on issues are discussed below. All answers are included in full; the candidate’s opinions and statements are not a reflection of Port City Daily. Responses are edited only for grammar, spelling and clarity.

The paywall is dropped on candidate questionnaires to help voters make informed decisions ahead of Election Day.

To prepare, here are a few dates for readers to keep in mind:

  • Absentee ballots will be available Sept. 9 and have a Nov. 1 deadline.
  • Registration to vote will open until Oct. 14; afterward, according to the state board of elections, same-day registration only will be available during one-stop early voting. 
  • Early voting begins Oct. 20 and remains open through Nov. 5 (3:30 p.m.).
  • Election Day polls open Nov. 8, 6:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m.

Locations to vote early in New Hanover County include CFCC Health Sciences and Learning Center (415 2nd. St.), Carolina Beach Municipal Building (1121 Lake Park Blvd.), CFCC North Campus (4500 Blue Clay Rd.), Northeast Library/Board of Elections (1241-A Military Cutoff Rd.), and the Senior Center (2222 S. College Rd.).

Once early voting closes, voters will need to go to the location listed on the voter registration card.

To see a sample ballot for the upcoming election, fill in voter registration info here.

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Port City Daily (PCD): Tell us your top three concerns within the school district and how do you plan to address them? 
Dorian Cromartie (DC): Safe schools, adequate pay and resources for teachers, and the raising of the bar for expectations for excellence and achievement.

PCD: The school board has stalled on a decision to end the practice of seclusion in schools for months. What indicators are you looking for to end the policy? Can you commit to ending the practice by a certain date?
DC: We should use current data that supports the fact that there are negative impacts to the use of seclusion rooms for children. We must implement positive practices, adequate support staff and specialists in each school’s plan. Alternative methods of behavior issues must be researched. I commit to terminating the practice as soon as the board can get it on the agenda after I am elected.

PCD: How should the district address two years of learning loss due to Covid-19?
DC: Summer school and afterschool programs that need to be made easily accessible for all students. All barriers preventing students from achieving their full potential should be erased. We also may need to explore before school programs and a class before Pre-K.

PCD: There are 60 SROS across NHC schools. Is this effective for school safety? Why or why not? Should there be more measures implemented?
DC: The contract between the NHCS and the NHCSD needs to be tightened and narrowed to limit the use of SRO’s in school. We must ensure they are being used only in extreme instances when needed to prevent violence in school. There should be other preventive practices in each school and not allow SRO’s to be reactionary to issues other than serious ones in a classroom. 

PCD: The school board has faced many calls to ban books in schools and offer more parental oversight of curriculum. How do you promote a relationship of trust between educators and parents and ensure both parties’ roles are respected? 
DC: While parental oversight over the child’s curriculum and other resources in the school is needed, the school system should research what is being used successfully  and follow the guidance of professionals who are the authorities as to what books and curriculum should be followed to ensure the adequate development, at the right age, of the student’s knowledge. Likewise, we need to be transparent as to what is being taught in school, with parents always kept in the loop. 

PCD: Research has shown the district’s “neighborhood schools” districting policy has increased segregation along racial and socioeconomic lines reflected in Wilmington’s residential segregation. Do you think the district should redistrict using different techniques, why or why not?
DC: Every parent wants their child to go to a neighborhood school. The board’s duty is to ensure there are equal resources at each school and that the uniqueness of each school’s population is taken into consideration.

For instance, there may be a school with a high population of students where English is a second language. Efforts must be in place to ensure these students have what they need in order to succeed and to keep up with students in other schools in the system.

As long as our housing is segregated in New Hanover, the neighborhood concept will remain one that creates segregated schools. Resources need to be equally available for every student.

PCD: Do you think schools are adequately staffed? Why or why not? Do you think teachers and staff are adequately paid? Why or why not?
DC: The state needs to fully staff the Leandro Plan NOW. Teachers, staff, nor bus drivers are adequately compensated for the time, resources and energy required to perform their duties. I would favor putting at least one teacher’s aide in each classroom in the system. These people are all essential, including janitors, cafeteria workers, and need to be paid as such.

PCD: Current board members, please, answer this: What is one action you’ve taken as a board member you would do differently and why? Potential new board members, please, answer this: What would you bring to the board that is missing right now?
DC: I believe I’m the best candidate because I was fortunate enough to have been educated in the New Hanover school system and saw what this county is capable of in providing a quality education. My education adequately prepared me for life and my career.

I am young, energetic and can identify with some of the issues students are experiencing. I acknowledge the views of others should be respected and that discipline is key to avoid the disruptions we have witnessed with the current school board.

This is all about the children. They deserve school board members who will put their best interest ahead of everything else and one that does not get so sidetracked the decisions for each monthly meeting are often derailed. I am an African American man who needs to be at the table to ensure minorities trust that their best interests are being discussed. 

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Shea Carver
Shea Carver
Shea Carver is the editor in chief at Port City Daily. A UNCW alumna, Shea worked in the print media business in Wilmington for 22 years before joining the PCD team in October 2020. She specializes in arts coverage — music, film, literature, theatre — the dining scene, and can often be tapped on where to go, what to do and who to see in Wilmington. When she isn’t hanging with her pup, Shadow Wolf, tending the garden or spinning vinyl, she’s attending concerts and live theater.

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