SMITHFIELD – Mark Lane of Smithfield filed Tuesday for a seat on the Johnston County Board of Education. Lane ran an unsuccessful campaign for the school board two years ago.
“After an unsuccessful bid in 2020 for a seat on the Johnston County School Board I promised my friends and supporters I would file again in 2022. Today, I have fulfilled that promise by filing again for a seat on the Johnston County School Board. I have reevaluated my platform and Campaign tactics and today I return as a stronger, smarter, and better candidate.”
“First, we need more accountability in our school system. I intend to hold everyone accountable from the superintendent to the school administrators for the poor test scores and the unsatisfactory drop out rate. I intend to put these same people on notice until test scores are satisfactory, and the dropout rate is lowered to an acceptable level. It is these people’s job to have a plan that works and to put our schools back in the top 10% in our state. If progress is not made in a timely fashion, I will push to have these people reevaluated and possibly replaced by someone who can get the job done,” Lane said.
“Second is the need for more schools. With the huge growth that is taking place in Johnston County, school construction is years behind. Schools that have recently opened were at or above capacity before any student ever walked through the doors. We can thank past school boards for not being proactive and helping cause this once correctable problem. Land for new schools should have been purchased years ago, instead now we must pay a much larger price. The county commissioners are sitting on a huge fund balance that is growing yearly. It is their duty to fund our schools and, in my opinion, help with school construction. The county should purchase land for new schools with the fund balance. Unfortunately, school construction will have to come from a school bond. Developers should be made to help fund school construction but thanks to our General Assembly this will not happen. The need for schools is growing fast. Unfortunately, a school bond is the only answer.”
“Third is school safety. During my campaign in 2020 I asked for a school resource officer to be placed in every school. As of today, that has not happened. School safety policies and plans need to be reevaluated and changes need to be made to the current plans. I witnessed a flaw in the policies myself when a back entrance was left opened and unmanned during an actual school lockdown.”
“Fourth is school funding. The county commissioners fully funded the school system this past budget year. If there is a need for additional funds this budget year, it is the fault of the school board and the school finance office. Since funding should not be a problem, we need to look for areas of wasted funds. These wasted funds should be removed and placed in programs to help our teachers educate our students.”
“Teachers pay and classified pay are also areas that need improving. Hopefully, the new pay schedule that is in place will help some of the strain on our school employees.”
“Vocational classes need to be expanded and trades need to be taught for the students that are not going to college. The firefighter program is a tremendous success and I commend the school system for implementing it, but more programs are needed,” Mr. Lane said.
Mr. Lane is a lifelong resident of Smithfield and lives on his family farm where he grew up. He is married to Cynthia Withrow Lane and both Mark and Cynthia are graduates of Smithfield Selma High School. They have four children who also are graduates of Smithfield Selma High School. They have six grandchildren with four of those in the Johnston County School System.
Mark attended East Carolina University and NC State University and returned home to operate his family greenhouse business which has expanded to include a lawn maintenance business.
Mark retired from the Smithfield Fire Department in 2006 after serving 23 years as a volunteer firefighter. Presently, Mark is Chairman of the Smithfield Fire Tax Committee, Vice Chairman of the Smithfield Planning Board, and Vice Chairman of the Smithfield Board of Adjustments. Mark also is a past member of the South Smithfield Elementary School Advisory committee.