For the second election in a row, Afternoons with Amos is interviewing candidates for school board in six major Indianapolis/Marion County school districts. Districts with the largest numbers of African-American students. Candidates running in Lawrence, Pike, Warren, Washington, Wayne Townships and the Indianapolis Public Schools will be interviewed in the first three weeks of October. Leading off were candidates from Washington and Lawrence Townships. Washington Township, located in the northern part of Marion County, has an enrollment of 11,161, of which 39% are African-American. No racial ethnic group has a majority of Washington Township students. Some 59% of district students receive free/reduced lunch. The District which has a “C” grade from the State, boasts an overall ISTEP passing grade of 71.1% and a graduation rate of 81.5%. Normally, Washington Township has contested school board races, but not this year. Two veteran board members are running unopposed for re-election. William D. (Bill) Turner and Donald Kite appeared on Afternoons with Amos and talked about issues facing their district from financial pressures, to improving academic achievement and build upon Washington being the only full International Baccalaureate school district in the area. Kite and Turner also talked school safety, bullying, the difficulties of school finance with budget funding cutbacks and property tax caps. Both candidates also talked about the district’s aging building and the need for repairs and remodeling at some point.
In Lawrence Township there are four candidates running for two seats on the School Board. All are non-incumbents. April Adjei and Richard T. (Dick) Freije are running in District 2 in the northeastern part of the district, while Fred Medley and Reginald McGregor are running at large. Through all Lawrence voters vote for the two contests. Adjei and Medley had scheduling conflicts and couldn’t appear. McGregor and Freije did appear on Afternoons with Amos and talked about their goals if elected. Both candidates are pleased with the diversity in Lawrence schools where Blacks are just 40.9% of the students and no race/ethnicity has a majority. Of the district’s 14,871 students, 61% receive free/reduced lunch. The district has a “B” grade from the State; 66.8% of Lawrence students passed ISTEP while the district boasts an 87% graduation rate. Maintaining strong academics is one goal both Freije and McGregor said they wanted. Funding is another major issue and the challenge of improving academic programs under budget and financial restraints. Freije also talked about making sure that Lawrence’s academic programs are available all throughout the district. Will McGregor wants to make sure that vocational options and trades options were also available to Lawrence students. Click the Media Players to Hear the Start of Ten Hours of Interviews of School Board Candidates in the November 4 Election. ©2014 WTLC Radio One. Washington Township Candidates. Runs 34 Minutes. Lawrence Township Candidates. Runs 41 Minutes.