COLUMBIA — Arch Brooks is running for a seat on the Columbia School Board for the fifth time.
Brooks is the owner of Brooks Computing Systems, a company that provides information technology support for mainframe computers and software.
CURRENTLY:Owner and senior IT specialist, Brooks Computing Systems
PREVIOUSLY:Has run for the Columbia School Board five times, most recently in 2006. In 2005, he ran simultaneously for mayor and a seat on the school board.
Brooks, who did not return calls Monday or Tuesday and has declined interviews with the Missourian in the past, has discussed equality in his campaign. Minority students and faculty have been left behind, he has said.
“For decades Columbia Public Schools have totally disregarded addressing most all issues involving questions of race,” Brooks wrote on his Web site, archbrooks.com/board. “Our past administrations felt that job was better left for someone else to do.”
Brooks said that while the district has mistreated black students, they have promoted gays and lesbians within the schools.
“Human resources for Columbia Public Schools have a reputation for being gay and lesbian friendly,” Brooks wrote on a Columbia Community Teachers’ Association candidate questionnaire. “The preferential treatment for gays and lesbians will stop.”
He has also said that lowering administration costs is one way to address the district’s budget crisis.
“When I am on the Board of Education, the superintendents’ salary will not exceed the salary of the highest paid teachers,” Brooks answered on the candidate questionnaire. “To have a Ph.D. for every department and assistants to the assistants is (absolutely) ridiculous and a waste of precious tax dollars.”
During the campaign, Brooks has responded to candidate questionnaires from the PedNet Coalition, the teachers association and Jennifer Wingert’s fifth-graders at Grant Elementary School. Brooks has participated in at least two forums, one sponsored by teacher and parent groups and another by Muleskinners. He did not appear at forums put on by the League of Women Voters and the NAACP.
Responding to the NAACP’s invitation on his Web site, Brooks called the local chapter “trifling,” later adding, “I won’t do just anything for a vote!”
Brooks was arrested in January on suspicion of a Thanksgiving weekend assault. He has denied the charges.
“The only reason for this attack is due to my desire to seek public office and to make a difference in a community (filled) with so much racial hatred,” Brooks wrote on his Web site. “This racial hatred drives local law enforcement agencies and their actions especially the prosecutors.”
Click here to read Arch Brooks' response to a questionnaire from the Columbia Community Teachers Association.