Watch video of WFJA’s interview with Republican Todd Ashley Miller, who is seeking one of four at large seats on the Lee County Board of Education. Voters can choose up to four candidates. Republican incumbent Sherry Lynn Womack and challengers Sandra Bowen and Eric Davidson, and Democratic Chairman Patrick Kelly, incumbent Lynn Smith, and challengers Tom Frye and Jamey Laudate are also seeking seats. Below, read answers submitted by Miller to questions asked by The Rant Monthly for publication in August, September and October.
Briefly introduce yourself and describe why you’re seeking election to the Board of Education:
MILLER: My Name is Dr. Todd Ashley Miller, d.d. I am 38 years old and a family of 4. I have put 1 child though the education system here and over the years have been disappointed with the outcome. I could no longer sit aside and watch as the education in our county fail our children especially after I received written conformation that the high school was allowing children to buy passing grades.
If you’re a challenger, what is the first initiative you’ll undertake as a member of the board and how will it work to the benefit of students in Lee County? If you’re an incumbent, which initiative have you taken during your tenure, and how has it been beneficial to students in Lee County?
MILLER: My first initiative as a board member will be to conduct a full investigation on accountability in our education system so that we can adjust our program to put us in an upward growth so that we are no longer aiming for the minimal standards (which I have come to see that we are failing to achieve) and aim or excellence.
More than 1,100 new jobs have come or are coming very soon to Lee County, a factor which will almost certainly lead to some level of increased population growth in the next four years. What should the school board be doing now to prepare for this growth and the subsequent need for increased educational resources?
MILLER: Regardless if we will have a population growth or not, we should move to make Lee County a more desirable place for people to want to live. How do we do this? We do this by improving the education system. I would push to either adjust our current budget or request additional funding to increase teacher funds in core classes. As the COVID-19 has shown us we will NEED to improve our ability to reach students in class as well as at home.
Do you support the passage of the $24 million parks and recreation bond to pay for the construction of a multi-field sports complex in Lee County? Why or why not?
MILLER: I do not Support a “$24 Million Dollar” fund to build a “multi-field sports complex” at this time. That is $24 Million dollars that would be better spent on our education system, especially seeing how we need a working remote learning plat form. After we have made some needed changes to our education system. Afterwards I then would be all for this Multi-field sports complex for an sports education is also a valuable learning resource for students.
K-8 children will begin returning to school in person as early as Oct. 5, with high school students likely to return some time not long after that. What are your thoughts on balancing the safety of students, families, teachers and staff with the fact that many situations require parents to be away from their children for work?
MILLER: With winter coming upon us we will see an increase of students who may become ill from a multitude of reasons, such as: cold, flu, etc.. We should make it mandatory that all personnel must wear a face mask to be in or on school property. We should establish a station at every entry door to check temperatures of everyone entering our schools. We must enforce the school policies about illnesses that students and staff must have a doctor’s note allowing them return to school/work after their checkups.
If a return to in-person learning led to a high number of new COVID-19 cases, would you be willing to consider going back to a more virtual setting?
MILLER: This is an era of mass technology and the ability to reach each other in an instance at our fingertips, regardless if we have an increase of new COVID-19 cases or not we should implement a virtual setting for in class education. This would not only assist with the current issues we face but be the cornerstone for future issues.
Instead of having to close schools for weather; or students missing classes or assignments due to illnesses students would be able to continue their much needed education. Virtual Learning is not new. So we do not need to recreate the wheel but implement what already works into our education system.