Moving Henry Forward had an opportunity to interview Josh Hinton ahead of the non-partisan general election on June 9. Voters in district 2 have four candidates to choose from at the ballot box.
Hinton was first elected to the board of education in 2012 and has served as board chair since 2018. He is running for re-election to a third term.
Question: Tell us a little bit about yourself and why you are running for re-election.
Answer: I am seeking re-election because the children of our county matter. That’s why I sought this position in 2012 and it’s why I am seeking re-election once again. I believe that the health and vitality of our community hinges on the opportunities our students get to achieve and succeed at the highest levels. It’s what I have poured my efforts into over the past 8 years. It matters for District 2, but it also matters for all students, families, and businesses in Henry County. When one succeeds, we all succeed.
It doesn’t take long to see reports and data across our county and beyond that show our district is moving in the right direction. Our neighboring counties and educational organizations are taking note. Over the past few years, the Henry County Board of Education has really come together as a unified governance team. The efforts of our unification are being seen through the fastest student achievement level increases in the metro area, employee morale soaring, and awards and positive news being received by our district. It is exciting and humbling to be part of something so special and to be able to give back to a community that gave me so much when I went through school here years ago.
I am a native of Henry County, graduating from Henry County High School. My home is here, my business is here, and my family is here, so I want to continue doing my part in making Henry County Schools the best they can be. I don’t take for granted the support that has been given to me since starting in this role. My commitment has always been to doing what’s best for the educational success of students and supporting a highly-trained and equipped staff, all while being a strong steward of the tax funds we receive. As a taxpayer myself, I am appreciative of the opportunity to maximize our community, state, and federal investment in our future generations by ensuring they have all they need to be successful. Our community thrives when our schools thrive, and both are thriving at the highest levels. I humbly ask for the opportunity to continue to work with my colleagues on behalf of our students and staff.
Question: What do you see as the biggest challenge facing our school district and what actions has the board taken to address it?
Answer: Prior to COVID-19, the biggest challenge facing the school district was preparing for student population growth and continuing to improve our student performance metrics. At the end of March, the BOE was scheduled to review a study of student growth projections and the final version of the district’s strategic plan designed to continue improving education opportunities in Henry County. That work has been postponed while we manage the response to the COVID-19 pandemic but it is at the forefront of my mind as a board member to focus on effective preparation for the future.
Question: The school system saw an eleven point increase in the district’s CCRPI score in 2019. What steps have you and other board members taken to continue this positive trend?
Answer: First of all the 11 point increase in the district’s CCRPI score is something worth celebrating. It has brought us within the top five performing districts in the Atlanta region. The credit for that growth goes to the teachers and the students in Henry County. The BOE has played an important role behind the scenes to come together with a unified focus and charge for the Superintendent with direct accountability related to student performance outcomes. Additionally, the BOE made an investment in teaching resources for all teachers in every school and I was a champion for what became the largest pay raise for teachers in the FY 2020 (school year 2019-20) budget.
Question: Would you work to reallocate funds to increase funding available to teachers for the purchase of classroom materials? If so, what would you be willing to give up to do so?
Answer: In the spring of 2019, I voted to approve the purchase of classroom print and digital resources for teachers so that they would no longer have to rely on using their personal money to buy things they need to do their job. Additionally the BOE allocates funds to each school using a formula driven by the number of students in the school that can be used to support instruction at the school. I would be open to examining an increase to the funds provided to teachers for the purchase of classroom materials above and beyond that.