Archibald: Focused on literacy in schools
BERRYVILLE — George Archibald says he wants to focus on improving literacy if he is elected to the Clarke County School Board.
Archibald, 69, of West Main Street is running in the Nov. 5 election after the departure of James Brinkmeier, the School Board’s Berryville District representative, who moved to Frederick County this fall.
The district has 1,867 registered voters.
“I am concerned about literacy for all children,” he said, citing a “sharp decline” in reading and writing ability among students, particularly those in the eighth grade.
Archibald is a native of England. He came to the United States in 1956. Formerly of Front Royal and Middleburg, he moved to Berryville in 2009.
Archibald, a retired newspaper journalist and author, said he has covered education stories for much of his career, including the No Child Left Behind educational program of President George W. Bush for The Washington Times.
Archibald said that, if elected, he would work on re-purposing some of the operating budget to other needs. “It needs to be spent a little bit more wisely,” he said, adding that he is not “pointing fingers.”
Archibald also said he is interested in improving school security by employing retired law enforcement officers, and wants to eliminate the “zero tolerance” policy for students who use alcohol or drugs so they are not dismissed from sports teams or suspended from school.
He also proposes that the School Board establish an investment fund with a local banking institution to accept donations from businesses and individuals for the purpose of providing scholarships to selected students and faculty members for “exceptional merit.”
Archibald is running against Roberta Lasiter and write-in candidate Chuyen Kochinsky, a native of Vietnam.
In a series of emails Monday to Dave LaRock, Republican candidate for the 33rd House District, Archibald expressed anger that the Clarke County Republican Committee was backing Kochinsky, despite officials’ claims otherwise.
“The Clarke County Republican Party does not endorse anyone for School Board, which is a nonpartisan race,” said Matt Leeds, secretary for the committee.
Leeds said the committee distributes general announcements to its members, and on those it lists the places where all School Board candidates plan to speak. The announcements are not sponsored by the GOP.
In his email, Archibald wrote that he risked his life for Kochinsky’s “country’s and family’s freedom” when he served in Vietnam and that in spite of his service, the GOP is “trying to help her defeat me ....”
“She is now married to a wealthy Winchester Hospital bone surgeon and wore a fancy diamond ring at the event we attended last week at the Clarke GOP headquarters, which is now backing her and helping her take GOP votes away from me in this election. How dare they?” he wrote in the email.
“Kochinsky will be a patsy for the local school establishment and do nothing to help what we stand for,” he added.
Archibald also sent the emails to The Winchester Star.
— Contact Rebecca Layne at firstname.lastname@example.org