Former Clayton News-Star Editor Rick Mercier of Clayton filed Friday morning for the Johnston County School Board.
“Our school system is in crisis,” Mr. Mercier said. “Gross fiscal malpractice has led to a shocking budget shortfall and a reckless draining of the school system’s reserves over the course of just a couple of years. I work in local government, and I know that if a municipal government mismanaged its finances like Johnston County Schools has, it would be at risk of being taken over by the state.”
“I don’t know whether any of the current school board members are crooked, as is alleged, but I do know that they’ve all demonstrated staggering incompetence. This includes the members who recently have been lobbing accusations of wrongdoing. All of the current school board members are to blame for the crisis our schools face, and so they all have to go.”
“We have one of the fastest-growing school systems in the state and one of the worst school boards you’ll find anywhere. Does any responsible parent, any responsible grandparent, any concerned taxpayer or business leader think we can afford another four years of this disaster?”
“In addition to ousting this current school board, we need to take a hard look at Central Office. There is a widespread perception that Central Office is bloated, arrogant and aloof. The new school board will need to examine what’s been going on in Central Office and what changes are necessary to get Johnston County Schools back on track. This critical assessment is essential for our students, teachers and administrators who are in the schools doing the work that matters the most,” Mercier said Friday.
“If elected, I will dedicate myself to long-term fiscal planning to dig our schools out of the hole they are in. I will work with county commissioners in a forthright manner so we can have a realistic and responsible model for funding our schools adequately as our county continues its rapid growth. And, I will ensure proper oversight of Central Office and help bring about whatever reforms are appropriate there.”
“I have two high-achieving children in our school system. I want them to have every opportunity to realize their full potential. I know that every other parent and grandparent in our fast-growing county wants the same thing for the schoolchildren in their families,” Mercier said.
Mr. Mercier works for the Town of Garner and has over nine years of local government experience. Prior to his current employment, he was editor of The Clayton News-Star. Rick was in print journalism for nearly 17 years and worked in Asia, Virginia and Alabama before settling in Clayton. He is currently vice president of N.C. City and County Communicators and serves on the board of the N.C. Open Government Coalition.
A total of 16 candidates have filed for 4 seats on the Board of Education.