Friday, August 12, 2022

2022 Primary Election: William ‘Bill’ Flythe runs for Brunswick County school board

William “Bill” Flythe is a District 3 candidate for the Brunswick County Board of Education. (Courtesy photo)

BRUNSWICK COUNTY ⁠— William “Bill” Flythe is a District 3 candidate for the Brunswick 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 also 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.

Flythe’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 are the greatest issues schools are facing? How would you work to fix them?
William Flythe (WF): The greatest issues are: 1) Teacher shortage and pay; 2) Censorship of books and course content; and 3) COVID-19 responses. Solutions are given later in answers to the following questions.

PCD: How would you describe the current and past leadership’s management of the Covid-19 pandemic in schools?  What is your stance on how the board should weigh public health into its decisions?
WF: Although some board members reacted publicly in a negative manner to Governor Roy Cooper’s guidelines (Strong Schools NC Public Health Toolkit), I supported the mandate. The health and welfare of students and school staff should be of utmost importance. Board policy should be based upon the public health recommendations. The board violated its own policy on at least one occasion by changing its agenda and voting on a health-related issue that was presented in the “public comment” section of the same meeting.

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?
WF: Teacher salaries and benefits are low, relative to those in an adjoining state (South Carolina) and county (New Hanover). Poor fiscal decisions by the state and county over the past 10 to 12 years have led to a teacher shortage and low morale.

I would encourage our local legislators to increase teacher compensation (salaries and benefits) and bring back the Teaching Fellow Program. It would be suggested that Brunswick County schools consider a “teacher appreciation” program like “COP” (Collegiality Outreach Program) that the writer established while teaching at a local high school several years ago.

PCD: Are community members, parents and staff members adequately heard? How can the district improve?
WF: Parents and members of the community have been heard, but I am not sure about staff members. Based upon my experience as a PTA president, advisory council member, community volunteer (35 years with a STEM-related group), and science teacher, I suggest these groups and other partnerships be used to give teachers and parents a “voice.”

If you agree with me that members of the community should not have dictated what lab experiments were used in my chemistry classes, then the same courtesy should be extended to English teachers when they are creating a book list for students. Since many of these courses are not required for graduation, the general student population should not be penalized or handicapped because of an objection by a minority of students or parents.

PCD: What needs to be done to make schools safer? 
WF: Implementing the MTSS (Multi-Tiered Systems of Support) mandate that was proposed several years ago would address such issues as bullying, mental health, and homelessness. More nurses and social workers will have to be hired.

PCD: How comfortable are you with the way the district uses local funds? 
WF: I am generally comfortable with the way that the district uses local funds. However, I am not happy with the “formula” or policy in which funds are taken from public schools and given to private or charter schools that do not have to meet the same standards.

PCD: What do you think of Brunswick County Schools’ current facilities? Do we need to build new schools to manage population growth?
WF: The school system has excellent facilities because of the $150 million bond that I supported several years ago. Long-range planning skills developed during my five years on the Brunswick County Planning Board will be useful when explosive population growth will lead to the building new schools.

PCD: Is there an additional issue or issues you think need(s) to be addressed during your term, should you win?
WF: Attention will be given to closing the achievement gap between student groups. One strategy of BCS has been its support of a STEM organization that encourages minority students in grades 6 to 12 to consider careers in these areas.


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Alexandria Sands
Alexandria Sands is a journalist covering New Hanover County and education. Before Port City Daily, she reported for the award-winning State Port Pilot in Southport. She graduated from UNC Charlotte and wrote for several Charlotte publications while there. When not writing, Williams is most likely in the gym, reading or spending time with her Golden Pyrenees. Reach her at alexandria@localdailymedia.com or on Twitter @alexsands_

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