Charles D. Campbell has filed for candidacy in the Perry County School Board race in District 2. His opponent is the incumbent, Debbie McIntosh, whose campaign the Hazard Herald will print an article about in next week’s edition. The purpose of these articles is to give the candidates an opportunity to make the public familiar with each respective campaign from the candidate’s perspective.
Charles D. Campbell is how the candidate’s name will appear on the ballot. However, many folks in Perry County know him by the name Dougie Campbell. Campbell coached basketball at A.B. Combs Elementary for decades, winning several county championships. The court at A.B. Combs is named in his honor. When asked why he chose to run for a spot on the Perry County School Board, Campbell said,
“One of the reasons I am running is because of the West Perry Elementary School. It’s great that they get new facilities, but it’s not great to put it in a bad place. I feel like they are making bad decisions. I don’t understand why they could not put it at Coal Harbor or, if they didn’t want to put it there; why not put it on the property where A.B. Combs is? You could tear down the old school and have plenty of room.”
The closing of Chavies Elementary is another issue Campbell said compelled him to run.
“I would not have supported closing Chavies School. I can’t see why a school with almost 300 students in it would be closing, when there are smaller schools still open, like Leatherwood for example. There is are new sewer lines going in through Chavies that were designed to accommodate the school. Plans were in place to keep the school open and update the infrastructure. Now, some of those kids will have to be bussed to Buckhorn. I think that was a bad decision. I would voted to keep it open.”
Along with his tenure coaching basketball, Campbell also served on the site base council at A.B. Combs. West Perry Elementary, which is set to open next fall, is in the district Campbell is running to represent. However, Campbell says West Perry is not the only reason he is running.
“Track is another thing. We have a lot of kids participating in track, but we don’t have a track for them in the county. We have kids going on a bus over to Leslie County to practice track. We have more kids in track and field than we probably do playing soccer and baseball.”
Campbell owns a body shop and is also part owner of the Big Blue Smokehouse Restaurant in Hazard. He claims that the students are not the only motivation for his campaign. Campbell pledges support for workers in the school system as well.
“I’ve been involved in the school system since I graduated high school. I was on site base for years. But the teachers and the aides and the janitors and the bus drivers, they are not getting treated right. Their salaries are lagging way behind other districts in this area. We have got some aides that have been in 20 years of service. They are making about 9 dollars an hour. That’s wrong. They wonder why our good workers and our good teachers are going other places. That’s why. You have to reward people. I spoke with another school district. They start their aides out at a higher rate than ours are making.”
Charles D. “Dougie” Campbell lives in the Brownsfork community. Election Day is November 8.
Sam Neace can be reached at 606-629-3243 or on Twitter @HazardHerald.