NEW HANOVER COUNTY — Jennah Bosch, a Democrat, is campaigning for one of four open seats on the New Hanover County Board of Education.
Port City Daily has sent a questionnaire to every candidate running in local elections in the tri-county region. The paywall is dropped on profiles to help voters make informed decisions ahead of casting their ballots.
As a reminder, the early voting period runs from Apr. 28 to May 14. The voter registration deadline is Apr. 22. Voters may partake in same-day registration throughout the two-week early voting period (check if your registration is active at your current address).
Primary Election Day is May 17. Voters will choose which candidates from their registered party they want to move forward in the formal election. Those who are registered as unaffiliated can choose which party’s primary they want to vote in.
Bosch’s stances on issues are discussed below. All answers are included in full and the candidate’s opinions and statements are not a reflection of Port City Daily. Responses are edited only for grammar, spelling and clarity.
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Port City Daily (PCD): What is your top priority and how would you address it?
Jennah Bosch (JB): My top priority is to shed more light on the all-encompassing umbrella that is mental health. I feel bringing mental health to the forefront will help the students and teachers navigate through to make a better environment for learning and teaching, increase grades and classroom productivity, help the students forge more deep and lasting bonds with friends and peers, put a halt to the ever growing number of teachers leaving the profession, decrease the number of students who are lost in the system and entering the juvenile justice system, and allowing for our students to have positive experiences in school which will in turn help guide them in a more prolific future.
I will advocate for a mental health worker in every school to help the students and teachers alike with what they are feeling, and even how to deal with what they are seeing in the schools. When a student has positive mental health, they will in turn have better concentration and dependability within the classrooms, on the sports field, and even at home. Supporting the students and teacher in this endeavor will have a lasting effect not only on the students and teachers helped and supported, but also on our community as the students grow, graduate, and become employed members of our society.
PCD: Mask mandates. Canceled proms and sports. Virtual schooling: How would you describe the current and past leadership’s management of Covid-19? Moving toward an endemic phase, what is your stance on how the board should weigh public health into its decisions?
JB: I do not believe that concentrating on current and past leadership’s management of Covid-19 will have any positive results moving forward. I feel we should follow science, while taking into consideration the stances of our teachers and parents and doing what is best for our children, both physically and mentally.
PCD: What is your opinion on the district’s current salaries and staff morale? What changes would you advocate for, if any, and how so?
JB: It is great we are paying our teachers the state’s highest supplemental wage. However, that does not mean it is a livable wage when New Hanover County has one of the highest costs of living in NC. Then when you add in the substitute teachers, teacher’s assistants, bus drivers, custodians, and lunchroom workers, that livable wage becomes even lower.
These workers often work part time; therefore, they get no benefits, and they are essentially unemployed during school year breaks and summer. It is important to support the staff that supports our students. If there are no bus drivers, how do our students get to school? If there are no lunch workers, who feeds our students lunch? If there are no custodians, who keeps our school clean and ready for our students to learn? I feel that support from all administration is a terrific way to help boost morale.
An increase in salary is one show of support. It shows that administration values the staff and believes in what they do. Proper training on new curriculums, mental health workers to guide during challenging times and to train on how to better support students and health and wellness days for the staff is another great way to help increase morale.
PCD: Some community members have expressed a desire to see less invasive measures taken in a school setting. Where do you stand on suspensions and seclusion rooms?
JB: The school board just unanimously voted to stop suspensions of students less than 8 years old, except in instances of drugs, guns, or violence. It is amazing and I am proud of them for finally coming together to support his common goal! I feel that with prospering training and support, the staff can find alternate ways of discipline other than suspension (again, other than instances of drugs, guns, or violence). Redirection of the student’s infraction with mental health workers, projects and even jobs within the school is one way that could help the student not only learn from their infractions but make a positive impact on their school while feeling they are a positive part of their surroundings. I am against seclusion rooms.
PCD: Do you think community members, parents and staff members have a platform to be adequately heard? How can the district improve?
JB: The community as a whole is not being heard. The board needs to make the meeting accessible to all, whether in person or via some other technology. This also means not having meetings so early in the day when most people are still at work or school. The board needs to have full transparency. There needs to be one meeting a month where the call to audience is the main topic. The community has a voice, it is the job of the board to listen to their voice, with respect and open minds and transparency. The animosity felt, and heard, during the call to audience puts everyone on edge, and it keeps some parents from bringing their students to the meetings, even when those students are being recognized for their excellence.
PCD: What needs to be done to make schools safer?
JB: We need mental health workers in every school. We need to support our counselors and social workers that are already in place. We need to be sure that all are properly trained on what to look for and how to handle differing situations. We need to be sure our students are comfortable voicing their thoughts, ideas, and concerns, as well as anything they may have witnessed or been involved in. We need to be sure that is a centralized reporting system throughout the district so that each school is aware of situations with students and teachers alike.
PCD: How comfortable are you with the way the district uses local funds?
JB: Not very. There is too much spending withing, and not enough given and put into our schools, our students, and our staff. The taxpayer’s money, grants received, and monies given by different programs should surround the schools and its staff to make an immediate, direct, and positive impact on our students and their future.
PCD: Is there an additional issue or issues you think need(s) to be addressed during your term, should you win?
JB: There needs to be more [camaraderie], respect, and teamwork within the board. They are currently a fractured entity, and it shows in all they do and speak. By bringing the board back to a common ground, the students, teachers, staff, and schools-the public will see them in a more positive light and be more willing to give constructive criticism and suggestions, as opposed to negative epithets and animosity.
We need to be sure there is more vocational training available, so that students who do not go to college have a better handle and understanding of what else they can do with their future.
There needs to be more emphasis on foreign language that can support our community, such as sign language.
When I win, I will advocate to support our students, teachers, staff, and schools so the future of our students is paved with a road void of roadblocks, speed traps, and sinkholes.
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