Candidate C.B. Jones responds to ForHHS2 survey

Describe your background in education, Harrisonburg City Public Schools, and public education.
I am a parent of 4 children, all of which attend public schools. I have served on the school board & city council liaison committee for two years. I have a close working relationships with the school board and superintendent. Moreover, I attended public schools and graduated a year early with an advanced diploma. I am a graduate of JMU, a public university.

Do you think Harrisonburg needs a second high school?
yes

Give reasoning for your answer to Harrisonburg having a second high school.
The current school is overcrowded and in my opinion, unsafe. In case of an emergency evacuation, maintaining calm would be a major issue. In addition, it’s more optimal for children to learn in smaller class rooms; currently, classes are too large at HHS. Lastly, teachers and staff need more space to prepare, plan, and engage with our children at HHS. There is not enough working space for teachers and staff.

When would you like to see a second high school open in Harrisonburg?
As soon as possible (2021)

The current City Council voted to fund a second high school to open in 2023. What are your suggestions to alleviate overcrowding at HHS through the opening of a second high school?

  1. Open the school in 2021 or ASAP
  2. Build an annex to alleviate some of the pressure now! There are dozens of ways to repurpose an extra building on the campus or across the street of HHS.
  3. Have a public meeting with school board to get their top solutions on how to operate between now and HHS2 being built. Fund the top ideas from that meeting.
  4. Fully fund the school board budget presentations between now and the completion of HHS2.

Even though Bluestone Elementary is more than 50% larger than our other city elementary schools, our middle schools are near capacity and will become overcrowded during the tenure of our newly elected city council members. How will you address our city’s educational growth while still supporting the other needs of our community?
We have to be willing to build annexes to make room for our students. If new construction is more feasible and fiscally sound in the long run, we need to build more. We need to be willing to meet often as a community to tackle the tough questions. When it comes to public education we have to become more proactive versus reactive. We cannot be cheap when it comes to our children.

How familiar are you with the work completed by the Space Study Committee created by the Harrisonburg City School Board?
Very familiar — I have an in-depth understanding of the process and conclusions reached by this committee.

Please summarize your knowledge of the Space Study Committee and their recommendations.
I served on the committee. The major take away was that the majority of the group would like to see HHS2 built. Many other options were vetted and explored.

Please summarize your knowledge of our group, ForHHS2.
ForHHS2 seeks to gather information and disseminate information from all parties involved in the pubic education circle in our city. In addition, ForHHS2 seeks to create awareness about the needs at the current high school. Moreover, ForHHS2 seeks to solve overcrowding by advocating for the building of a new second high school as quickly as possible.

Is there anything you would like the public to know in particular to public education within the city?
Greater participation from parents at city council meetings and at school board meetings is needed. We need more parents to put pressure on our elected officials, our superintendent, and our city manager to see that a proactive plan is in place for public education. I understand that many of our parents are working during meeting hours and are very busy. Please reach out to me so that I may stand in the gap and voice your concerns to ensure our children have the best public education possible.

You can learn more about Mr. Jones at http://votechrisjones.com. If you’d like to talk more with Mr. Jones about education or other issues, you can reach him at chris@votechrisjones.com.

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