02/17/10 — Flowers announces run for school board

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Flowers announces run for school board

By Steve Herring
Published in News on February 17, 2010 1:46 PM

Arnold Flowers

Former Wayne County commissioner Arnold Flowers, a native of the Indian Springs community, announced Tuesday his intentions to file for the District 5 seat on the county Board of Education now held by George Moye.

Moye has filed for re-election.

Flowers said that he is not running against Moye, who is his wife's cousin, but is simply running for the seat.

"As far as I know, he (Moye) has worked hard and done a good job," Flowers said. "As a former Wayne County commissioner, having held that seat from 2000-2004, it is my hope, that if elected, I will be able to bring some unity to both boards. I am now retired and feel I have the time and energy necessary to be an effective member of the Board of Education.

"I am not an educator and I do not come from a government job. I am a businessman and I hope that if elected, I could bring those skills to the board so as to provide the best education that the taxpayers can afford without indebting the very children that will be tomorrow's taxpayers."

Flowers said he did not seek re-election in 2004 because of being so involved in several business ventures with his sons.

"I learned a whole lot when I was on the board of commissioners about how Wayne County government works," he said. "I feel like I don't really want to waste that knowledge. It seemed probably the most complicated issue going on in the county right now might be the schools. I am a businessman, not an educator. Maybe I can bring some type of insight and unity of purpose to it that some new blood might could bring.

"Commissioner Jack Best stated that he wanted to throw the Board of Education a lifeline, but that he needed someone to take it. I have worked well with Mr. Best in the past and other board members and hope that could continue."

Flowers said he talks with commissioners from time to time and as such thinks there is a good avenue of communication already established.

He said no one particular issue played into his decision to run for the school board. Flowers said he is most concerned about the graduation and dropout rates and the NAACP suit against the schools.

"You hear those numbers of a 70 percent graduation rate, I think that is from starting in the ninth grade, but then you here that is like nationwide," he said. "So, you can't say that is just a local county situation. However, it is one of those things that you want to try to improve on it if you could."

As far as the suit, Flowers said he has worked before with the Rev. Dr. William Barber, state NAACP president.

"I think I can work with him," he said. "Surely, there must be some kind of way that we can come to some kind of agreeable solution to that and not have to go serious litigation that would have to be paid for by the taxpayers and that obviously be taken away from the school system."

The possibility of redrawing district lines is controversial, Flowers said. But it is not about race, but using about using facilities in the most efficient manner possible, he said.

"You cannot draw a line on issues like that because one thing I have learned is that issues are not black and white. You can go out and try to make a move on something like that and create enough controversy that where you hurt the bottom line and the bottom line is to have kids get out of high school, get a job, read and maybe go onto college. If we don't do that, it is going to cost us regardless of the building or the school district or it is going to cost us to look after the people who cannot get a job.

"As far as the issue of facilities, I have built a lot of things. I have done a lot of that kind of work. I feel like I could bring some knowledge to those sort of things. I have used a lot of various contractors for different things."

There is so much more to education than facilities, he said.

"Throughout history some of the nation's "most beautiful" documents and most-educated people have come out of a one-room schoolhouse," he said.

"We want our children and our grandchildren to have as nice a facility as we can afford without putting a big mortgage on the very ones we are trying to educate down the road," he said.

Flowers noted that he, his wife and four children all attended Wayne County Public Schools.

Flowers and his four sons were graduated from Southern Wayne High School and his sons attended Spring Creek schools.

"That is all in my district that I will be running for," he said. "You can't get me lost in District 5."