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Craven files for re-election; Corn to retire

Blair Craven was elected chair of the Henderson County School Board on Monday night. Blair Craven was elected chair of the Henderson County School Board on Monday night.

Blair Craven, a financial adviser elected to the School Board in 2016, was elected to chair the board on Monday night for the next year.

 

A Hendersonville High School graduate, Craven was one of the leaders who convinced the Board of Commissioners to give the School Board one last chance to salvage the HHS construction plan after commissioners voted to drop the project. He takes over for Amy Lynn Holt. Elected chair after incumbent Ervin Bazzle lost re-election in 2016, Holt stood up for a new design team for HHS that resulted in the new construction-renovation plan the county ultimately endorsed.

“I only have one observation and my observation really is just to thank Ms. Holt for the wonderful job she’s done as chair,” he said. From Edneyville Elementary School construction to the Hendersonville High School saga to “policies out the wazoo,” Holt exhibited “a lot of grace under pressure.”

The next morning, Craven filed for re-election to a second term.

“My main priority, and this going to happen before the election, is the ribbon cutting for Edneyville Elementary School on the 18th,” he said. “The community has really waited for that for a long time. I can’t wait to open that school for those kids and those teachers.”

A member of the Joint Facilities Committee made up of county commissioners and School Board members, Craven also wants to continue to help guide the Hendersonville High School construction project.

“We’re about to experience some pain with everything starting in January with construction,” he said. “There’s going to be some issues and hiccups but it’s going to be a beautiful campus when were finished in 2023.”

The School Board won the support of the county commissioners to fund ongoing maintenance and school safety and security improvements over the next four years.

“We have a lot of deferred maintenance,” he said. “This is really going to help us not only maintain our schools but also to make them safer. East and West Henderson were built in the ’60s and we were really not concerned about active shooters at that time so they’re very porous campuses.”

Although it’s unclear whether the state will permit it to do so, county school administrators and the School Board want to change the school calendar to an earlier start and earlier finish.

“It’s the right thing to start in mid-August so we can have a clean break of the first semester before Christmas,” Craven said. That would also enable high school seniors to graduate early, in December, and enroll in community college and universities. “It just make sense to me to align with those and have it end before the Christmas break and not have to have two weeks of review” before exams, he said. “We are not talking about sending our kids to school for more days or for more time. Until someone can prove to me that is not in the best interest of the kids that is what I’m for.”

Craven and Michael Absher have filed for re-election and two open seats remain. Rick Wood announced his retirement last month after the end of his current term and Mary Louise Corn said Monday that she does not plan to run for re-election.