11/26/06 — New Duplin school board members set sights on scores, facilities

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New Duplin school board members set sights on scores, facilities

By Matthew Whittle
Published in News on November 26, 2006 2:00 AM

They haven't taken office yet -- and won't until Dec. 5 -- but Jennings Outlaw and Chuck Farrior are looking forward to joining the Duplin County Board of Education, and they have already got some issues on their minds.

"There are a number of things, such as overcrowding in our local schools that we'd like to deal with," Outlaw said. "We've also got some test scores that need to be looked at in some places."

He also wants to make sure that all the school system's dollars are being spent as efficiently as possible.

"Funding is always a problem. There's not any extra money in the county, so we have to make sure we're making the best use of the funds we do have," said Outlaw, a facilities maintenance manager at Caswell Center in Kinston. "We want to do the best job we can. I went through this system, and it served me very well."

Topping Farrior's to-do list are the county's school facilities.

"I think the major thing for us is the significant deterioration I have noticed in our facilities," he said. "It's a major concern of (the superintendent), and I share that concern.

"I feel the students need a clean and safe environment to learn in and these facilities have been neglected over the years."

Farrior, a commercial lender for BB&T, also said he wants to focus on teacher recruitment and retention.

"We have a lot of great people who teach in the Duplin County School System, and we need to hang onto them, while also coming up with programs to replace them when they do decide to retire," he said.

Both men have children in the school system.

"I wanted to see some representation on the school board from folks who actually had children in public schools. There hasn't been a representative of late who did have children in the school system," said Farrior, 33.

He has two children attending Wallace Elementary School, where his wife also is a first-grade teacher. Outlaw, 51, has two children attending East Duplin High School. Both men also grew up attending Duplin County Schools.

"I felt I could add the insight of a father who has two children in elementary school and will be coming up through the public school system and a wife who teaches there," Farrior said. "It's a little different when you have the problems of public schools coming home. You're a little more in touch."

Both also ran unopposed in November's general election as incumbents Graham Phillips and Johnni Blackwell decided to step down from the board.