OUR OPINION: Get to know your School Board Candidates

Published 8:00 am Friday, October 21, 2022

The District 1 and District 5 seats for the Vicksburg Warren School District Board of Trustees will be on the ballot during the Nov. 8 election.

With a newcomer and former trustee running for the District 5 seat currently held by Sally Bullard, who is not seeking re-election, and an incumbent and two newcomers facing off for the District 1 seat, The Post has decided to publish candidate questionnaires with the gentlemen in the running.

The first questionnaire, featuring District 1 candidates Bryan Pratt, Bill Jeffers and Kevin “Shane” Quimby, will be featured in the Friday, Oct. 28 edition of The Vicksburg Post. The second questionnaire, with responses from District 5 candidates Orlon Derrick Smith and Joe Loviza, will publish in the Oct. 29-30 Weekend edition.

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Ask any current school board member, and they’ll tell you their most recent term presented unprecedented challenges as the COVID-19 pandemic hit and changed the way education was delivered to students for nearly three school years. They were faced with tough choices, such as whether or not to go to remote instruction, how to measure student success by a “normal” measure in abnormal times and what to do to combat hours of instruction not received in the classroom.

They’ve also had their fair share of victories in the last few years, from the completion of the Academy of Innovation building to the successful renovations of nearly every other school building. Of course, we’re all waiting with bated breath to see when Warren Central High School will be completed.

Chief among those victories is the board’s leadership and advisement as the district earned — against all odds — a B letter grade from the Mississippi Department of Education.

No matter which way you slice it, the incoming trustees will have big shoes to fill on the school board.

But before anyone can take their new seats in the board room, they must first be duly elected. That’s where the reader comes into play.

It’s our hope that, as readers and voters, you take into consideration each candidate’s responses to the questionnaires. Does your candidate have a clear understanding of a trustee’s role within the school district? Does he want to advocate for policies with which you might disagree?

It’s easier than ever to be foolish and mark your ballot based on arbitrary features, but to give your vote the power it deserves, it is best to be informed.

This next set of new trustees will help lead VWSD students to a new era in education and, in turn, help our community to grow and prosper.