Banks: Schools face funding challenge|Meet the Candidate

Published 9:49 pm Sunday, October 10, 2010

Staff Writer

As the public schools in Beaufort County face one of their tightest budget years in recent memory, the priority for the school board should be to preserve jobs — especially those that affect the instruction public-school students receive, according to Teressa Banks.
With state budget cuts on the horizon for the 2011-2012 school year and the loss of federal stimulus money, which for the past two years has helped make up for state budget shortfalls, the main problem facing the public schools today is funding, Banks said.
The Beaufort County Board of Education will have to work hard during the coming year to establish priorities for those limited funds while striving to improve student performance, she said.
In order to do that, the school board should preserve as many jobs as it can, she said.
“When you talk about preserving jobs, the Beaufort County School System is in the business of teaching children,” she said in a recent interview. “Our No. 1 priority would be preserving the instructional process and all that encompasses.”
Banks, an incumbent member of the school board, faces challenger Chase H. Stallings in the Nov. 2 nonpartisan election to represent District 6 on the Beaufort County Board of Education.
District 6, generally, comprises the First and Fourth wards of Washington and, generally, runs east of Market Street to the city limits.
In order to raise classroom performance and help local students be successful in their goals, the school system should focus on reading comprehension, particularly in the early grades, she said.
“Reading is the basis for all that the child will be doing in school or in life,” she said.
And some local schools need to do a better job of teaching this skill, she said.
One way to improve reading comprehension is to begin assessing students’ abilities at an early age and intervene with additional help, if needed.
“You identify students who need help and work with those students at an earlier age,” she said.
Banks said she first ran for the school board in 2006 because she “didn’t like the direction the school system was going. I didn’t feel that parents and students were being represented.”
And as a product of the Beaufort County school system, Banks said she felt the need to serve the community.
Banks said she has worked hard to listen to people and be accessible to them. Banks believes she has helped make the school board more responsive to the community in the past four years.
NAME: Teressa Banks
AGE: 52
ADDRESS: 550 E. Main St., Washington
OCCUPATION: A regulator of nurse aide I training programs for the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services
EDUCATION: Associate’s degree in nursing from Beaufort County Community College; bachelor’s degree in nursing from Western Carolina University; master’s degree in nursing from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte; doctorate in curriculum and teaching from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro
FAMILY: Husband, Robin, and three children — Brittany, 21; Christopher, 19, and Kaitlyn, 17
BEAUFORT COUNTY RESIDENT: Born and raised in Beaufort County, most recently a resident for the past 13 years.
LAST BOOK READ: “The 9th Judgment” by James Patterson
EXPERIENCE AS ELECTED OFFICIAL: Member of the Beaufort County Board of Education since 2006
OTHER RELEVANT EXPERIENCE: President, Parent-Teacher Organization; president of a local school athletic booster club; Girl Scout leader and coach of several recreational teams.