Voters in Fayette County Board of Education's District 4 have the choice of two strong candidates, incumbent Amanda Main Ferguson and challenger Rick Queen.
We give the edge to Queen, a Realtor, who has spent nine years on site-based councils that run schools.
His experience at hiring principals, setting curriculum and policy at Cassidy Elementary, Morton Middle and Henry Clay High schools is trench work that could strengthen the school board and better guide the superintendent. He has also volunteered in reading programs and worked with special-needs students.
Queen, a Lexington native and father of four, said his priorities would be closing achievement gaps and ensuring that the district gets its share of every available dollar from government and other sources. He is also concerned about overcrowding in high schools and the need to retain the more experienced teachers.
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When Ferguson ran in a crowded field in 2006, she impressed as an engaged parent and a Cassidy Elementary volunteer passionate about ensuring every child gets an excellent education. We believe she still has that commitment. Her tenure on the board, however, has been marred by absences, especially at a public meeting to evaluate the school superintendent.
We do appreciate her willingness to sometimes be a dissenting voice on the board, such as opposing outsourcing legal work. If not for the unique perspective Queen brings, she would be a strong choice.
Under Kentucky's school reform, a lot of power to set a school's direction resides in the site-based councils, which consist of principals, teachers and parents. Having a school board member who really understands both the potential and challenges of that clout could only benefit the entire school system.
The unendorsed candidate may submit a 250-word response by noon Friday.