Stacey Sault: 2021 candidate for Cary District 26 School Board
Five candidates are running for four seats on the Cary District 26 School Board in the April 6, 2021, election.
Occupation: Stay-at-home mom
Civic Involvement: None listed
Q: Why are you running for this office, whether for reelection or election the first time? Is there a particular issue that motivates you, and if so, what is it?
A: My children are what motivated me to run for office for my first time. Having grown up in the district myself, I have seen it go through its ups and downs and now having my own children in the district, I only want to see it succeed more than ever. I want not only my children to have the best education, but also all the other children in our district. I genuinely believe with the right leadership our community can continue to grow and be better every year.
Q: How would you grade the current school board on its response to the pandemic? Why?
A: Currently I would give them a B.
This pandemic is unlike anything anyone has ever been through before and despite the challenges we all faced, they have done a fair job accommodating the changing environment. There are issues with delivery of services and technology choices that I believe could have been handled better. For example -- with respect to communication, I hear from parents that there have been many unanswered emails and questions. I have heard of many issues with school lunch delivery problems, with the quality of the food being inconsistent, and in some cases, expired.
As a parent, the Districts multiple in-person and remote choice changes have been confusing. There should have been some forethought on how such a change would affect the teachers plans, parents, especially those who work and rely on others to watch their children, and students. Going back in October for a week seemed unnecessarily hard on teachers, students, and parents when it did not need to happen as the numbers were rising anyway.
Q: How do you view your role in confronting the pandemic: provide leadership even if unpopular, give a voice to constituents -- even ones with whom you disagree, or defer to state authorities?
A: Leadership needs to be provided while giving a voice to the constituents. We have leadership now, but they are not listening to the voices of those who elected them. We must follow the state guidelines on the pandemic, but we also need to consider the voices of our parents and teachers. If our parents and teachers do not feel supported then it does not matter what the state authorities say.
Q: Did your district continue to adequately serve students during the disruptions caused by the pandemic? If so, please cite an example of how it successfully adjusted to continue providing services. If not, please cite a specific example of what could have been done better.
A: In the beginning, I do not believe E-learning was successful. As time went on though, I do believe the faculty and staff took the appropriate measures over the summer and revamped the E-learning process to make it as successful as it can be.
Unfortunately, though, they did not think about all those who would need devices. The kindergartners did not receive their devices until several weeks into the school year, leaving parents without the proper tools. They left their youngest group of new students to have families figure it out themselves. We cannot leave anyone behind from our youngest students to the oldest.
Q: Do you have a plan on how to safely and effectively conduct classes in the spring? What have you learned from the fall semester that you would change in the spring?
A: For safely conducting classes into the spring, I believe we still need to follow the guidelines of masking and distancing. Until the community spread decreases and more people get vaccinated, I do not believe we can just "go back to normal."
If I were elected, and we could not return to fully in person, I would like to work on providing more synchronous learning. I believe students need the interaction and guidance from their teachers daily.
There also needs to be less changing of schedules. I have heard from parents and teachers who raised some valid concerns about how the revised schedules did not seem to accommodate their concerns. There was a lack of consistent messaging coming from the District as to why the schedules were being changed.
Q: What is your position on allowing high school sports to continue during the pandemic? Be specific.
A: I believe sports can be done safely with the proper precautions. Mask, temperature checks, distancing as much as possible are all ways that have shown to slow the spread. If the coaches and staff are holding these standards, then students should be allowed to compete again. My own children have been in their sport through the last year and the team follows these precautions closely and, so far, there have been no instances of COVID in our sport.