Durham voters to elect four school board members Tuesday

May. 03, 2014 @ 03:46 PM

When voters go to the polls on Tuesday, they will be asked to fill four of the seven seats on the Durham Board of Education.

The election will deliver at least two new school board members because Fredrick Davis is not seeking reelection in District 2 and Nancy Cox is vacating her seat in District 3.

In District 2, five candidates are vying to replace Davis who has held the seat since 2006.

The field is comprised entirely of men — four of in their 20s — and includes Sendolo Diaminah, Jimmy Doster, Donald Hughes, DeWarren Langley and Terrence Scarborough.

Unlike years past, there will be no runoffs in the school board election. Board of Elections Director Michael Perry made that call after he discovered that neither state law nor the 1992 agreement merging city and county schools provide for runoffs in school board elections.

So, the candidates who receive the most votes in each of the four races on Tuesday will be the winners and will take office in July.

The District 2 race has been the most spirited of the four and also produced the two candidates who raised the most money.

Doster, a business analyst, raised more than $17,000, some of which came in large chunks of $1,000 or more from out-of-state relatives and other donors.

Diaminah, a lead community organizing trainer for Black Organizing for Leadership & Dignity (BOLD), raised nearly $9,500 on the strength of numerous small donations and a $2,500 contribution from the N.C. Association of Educators political action committee.

None of the other candidates — Donald Hughes, an online advertising agent, DeWarren Langley, a document review associate with Synergy Legal Professionals and Terrence Scarborough, assistant director of licensure for the UNC System — raised more than $5,000.

In District 3, voters will be choosing someone to replace Cox, who has held the seat since 2010.

Those vying for the seat include Matt Sears, Director of School Services at the public education nonprofit North Carolina New Schools, Lisa Gordon Stella, director of Durham’s Truancy Court, Steve Gatlin, a teacher at charter school Voyager Academy, and Deborah Bryson, head of school at Bryson Christian Montessori School.

In recent days, Gordon Stella and Gatlin have called on the school board to slow the search for a new superintendent so that the people elected Tuesday can help select the person chosen for the job.

Sears has been more diplomatic, urging the board to move cautiously to ensure it hires the best person regardless of whether it takes place in June or sometime next fall.

Gordon Stella has also been critical of the school district’s proposed $408 million budget, contending its short on details.

Meanwhile, District 1 incumbent Omega Curtis Parker, a retired media coordinator, is being challenged by Mike Lee, a product manager of global data services at Credit Suisse and Thomas Poole, a community advocate and retired educator.

District 4 incumbent Natalie Beyer is running unopposed but has received high marks from local political action committees and The Herald-Sun.