Red Clay Board of Education incumbent Kenneth Woods has been making the rounds at PTA meetings, school events and hitting the campaign trail in general, taking nothing for granted after five years on the school board.
Woods, a graduate of Wilmington High School, also gave his cell phone number and his email address to the state Department of Elections for New Castle County, as most school board candidates did.
In contrast, his opponent, newcomer Charles Walters, gave neither his phone number nor his email address to the elections department.
Moreover, Woods has never seen Walters at a school board meeting, which all of the other candidates have regularly attended, making public comments at least once.
The phantom candidacy has been a curiosity to Woods and other onlookers.
"My opponent has never been seen," he said. "He's young, 23, still attending school and living with his mother and father. If you want to be active, you need to show up at things and you need to be able to be contacted. No one can reach out to him."
Woods said he believed a school board member should not only be visible to the public but easily accessible as well.
He took some time to chat about his bid for re-election on Thursday.
Q Why did you decide to run?
A I ran five years ago because of financial mismanagement and the public wanted change on the board. That was one of the biggest reasons I ran, trying to get things under control – especially school construction. There was so much work going on they couldn't get it under control. Since elected, we got a $117 million capital referendum passed to get schools fixed. We also oversaw the state energy saving program, ESCO, to cut our energy expenses and transition to green technology.
Q What do you think are the most important challenges Red Clay faces presently?
A Federal and state budget cuts will be tough. We'll have to figure out how to continue and how to get dollars back into the classroom. You realize you're really y under control of the state government. Legislators and the Department of Education can say where the money goes so it's tough to get the dollars where you really need as opposed to where they say you need them. Teachers are at the forefront, in the classroom. Technology is a big part of it as well.
Q What can the Red Clay Consolidated School District do to improve?
A I started the district facilities committee to oversee what was being done with school construction and to save money. That was to show the state how you can save money without interference. The money still has to get to the kids. That's been the tough part. In the last five years, we've lowered the tuition tax rate twice in the last five years.
Page 2 of 2 - Q Why should the people elect you over your respective opponent?
A As a parent, you want to be able to get a hold of your school board member. As a school board member, you want to be responsive to parents. You're here for the public.