Perkinson: ‘Important issues’

Published 8:18 pm Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Sleepy Hole Borough School Board candidates

EDITOR’S NOTE: The Suffolk News-Herald has invited candidates for all of the city’s contested offices to submit 400-word columns soliciting the votes of Suffolk citizens on Election Day. A different race will be highlighted on this page each day through Thursday. All of the candidates were notified of the opportunity at the same time via email, and follow-up telephone calls were made to verify receipt of the emails. Today’s page features the School Board special election in the Sleepy Hole Borough, which pits incumbent James Perkinson against challengers Charles Leavell and David Mitnick. All three candidates’ columns appear below. Tomorrow’s installment will include columns from each of the candidates for the City Council seat from the Suffolk Borough.

By James Perkinson

I have a B.S. degree and an M.Ed. degree in secondary education, and I have been employed in public education for over 45 years. I am currently employed as the Dean of Business, Public Services and Technologies at the Chesapeake Campus of Tidewater Community College.


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I have been a Suffolk resident since 1976 and married for 46 years to Betty “Kitty” Perkinson. We have three children who are all graduates of Suffolk Public Schools. I served on the School Board for 12 years from 1996 to 2008, where I served six years as vice chairman of the board and served on all of our committees.

As the current interim school board representative for the Sleepy Hole Borough, I have identified several important issues.

Improve student achievement and increase school accreditation.

Each of our school principals has been charged to examine prior test results to identify areas needing improvement and areas where the school excelled. The results of these examinations will be used to develop improvement plans.

Prepare students for life.

Additional opportunities for our students to receive transferrable college credits while in high school must be offered. Additional advanced placement classes and dual credit classes are needed. This expansion, plus additional opportunities in afternoon programs can increase student options.

The classes that lead to industry certifications can be offered as dual credit classes, thus giving the students college credits and industry certifications. These classes can be used to help develop tracks to various college programs.

Enhance special programs.

Early childhood education, Quest and gifted education programs can be updated to provide more beneficial experiences to our children. Our students must be prepared to begin school or they normally stay behind others in their class.

Our special programs can be used to challenge the participants and enhance their educational experience. The system’s volunteerism program is in need of review and updating.

Increase teacher retention.

Our teachers are doing an excellent job with our students. Suffolk is one of the few school systems with more students receiving advanced diplomas than standard diplomas. We need to provide adequate raises to keep these teachers in the system and provide them with additional support. We need to develop better communication and cooperation with our City Council representatives.


We need to review our transportation schedule to improve the bus routes. We need to increase the transportation fleet and expand the number of bus drivers.