Hinton: City funding ‘a trust issue’

Published 10:55 pm Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Seeking a return to the School Board, Thelma Hinton, 57, says she has well-rounded experience and understands the breadth of issues.

Hinton served on the School Board from 2009 to 2012 — as vice chair during the latter half — before being redistricted out of the Nansemond Borough.

From the late 1980s to late 1990s, Hinton said, she worked part time in home health care for geriatric patients with the Suffolk Health Department, and full-time for Hillcrest nursing home (now Kindred Nansemond Pointe).

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Hinton obtained her bachelor’s degree in social work from Norfolk State University and interned with the Sickle Cell Anemia Society. She currently mentors a friend’s two foster children, while taking care of her own disabled son.

“Students just don’t come to school with academic problems,” Hinton said. “When I served on the Public-Personnel Committee, we dealt with children who had things happen to them.”

Hinton also cited her 10 years’ service on the Suffolk Redevelopment and Housing Authority board.

“I always have had a burning desire to get a little bit further in my education,” she said. “Once I had my degree in social work, I felt I could bring a very unique perspective to the board.”

Hinton says citizens encouraged her to run again for the School Board. She said it was a difficult decision, “knowing I would be running against the chair.”

She says the district’s funding issue with the city is “a trust issue.”

“I have heard from taxpayers, as well as City Council people, that they want results,” Hinton said. “They are building homes, but they want our schools to be accredited.”

Hinton said she would focus on better pay for teachers. “Teachers are suffering,” she said. “That bothers me.”

Teachers need greater appreciation, Hinton said, adding that combining some services with the city could fund better raises.

But any raises given should be across the board, she added.

“I have always said if you don’t have enough to go around, then we don’t give anyone (raises).”

Regarding School Superintendent Deran Whitney, she said, “I will look at the full assessment, and then make my tough decision,” she said.

Hinton says she would prefer children attend school in or close to their neighborhoods, with the district’s best teaching talent focused on the schools most needing it. She cited Booker T. Washington, Elephant’s Fork and Mack Benn Jr. elementary schools.

Hinton said she would ensure adequate funding for instruction would be focused on areas that need it.

“We need to make sure that we get parents involved as well,” she said. “I would love to see more community centers open as a learning center, where our children can go.”