My answers to these questions represent the input that I have received from the voters of my community and if elected to this position, it is their interest that I represent and their issues that I bring forth.
1. What is the biggest issue you see facing Bryan County schools? How might you address that issue?
The biggest problem that I have found in talking to the voters is the communication breakdown between the parents and the school board and the administrators that enforce the school boards decisions. Parents feel that their concerns are seldom addressed and they have no input into the decision making processes that effect their children. The school board is elected by these people and yet they are unable to have their voices heard. I intend to be the voice of those voters in District 2.
2. A nearby school system’s BOE was accused of crossing the line between governance and interference. Under the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools regulations, school boards are responsible for developing policy and procedure - but the implementation must be left up to the district administrators. How do you view your role as a potential board member? How do you see that role fitting into the school system as a whole?
School administrators should be in charge of implementing policy and procedure as is passed to them by their school board. But the BOE members’ responsibility doesn’t end with the development of those policies and procedures. They must also review any issue that is brought before them by an individual that feels that an injustice is being done as a result of their implementation. My role as a potential board member would be to act as a sounding board for my district’s voters allowing their feedback and complaints to be heard. This keeps a balance between all the parts of an educational community.
3. The online school resource, Parent Connect, was designed to open the lines of communication between the schools and parents. One resident suggests it does - when teachers and parents both use it. But, there is still a problem with communication from the administrators and board with the parents. How will you improve this particular area of communication?
Parent Connect should be one of several devices used to enhance communication between a school and the parents of the children that attend that school. It is an extremely useful and needed resource but it is only available to those parents that have access to a internet connection. Another form of contact needs to be established that will make it possible for all of those parents without internet access to receive the information they need to better help their children succeed. Some research would have to be done but there are many different options that could be implemented such as possibly a telephone dial up information resource. This is just a suggestion that could be looked into. Other factors such as cost would have to be considered.
4. State Superintendent Kathy Cox recently proposed all Georgia schools institute the same late August start date. This idea has been previously suggested to the board, but has never officially been considered as an option. One recurring complaint is the issue of hot weather at the start of August, since school starts on or around August 8. Would you, as a board member, be willing to review the research and make an informed decision about whether or not a later school start date would benefit students - why or why not?
My position as a potential elected board member would be to act in the best interest of my community and that is what I intend to do. Researching the data and making informed decisions that would be in the best interest of the students would be my primary goal.
5. How would you rate the performance of Bryan County’s Superintendent, Dr. Sallie Brewer? And are you in favor of renewing her contract, why or why not?
Since the issue of renewal of her contract as already been addressed by our current school board, my decision on the matter is not necessary. I personally feel that Dr. Brewer is an doing a good job balancing the school’s financial budget and the educational issues. I disagree with some of the decisions she has made regarding extra activities at school. Education is the most important part of a school system but schools also need other activities including sports, band, chorus, and so forth. All of the things are needed to make a well rounded educational system. However, if I were to make a decision on the renewal of her contract then I would have to consider the voters of my district and their wishes. According to the input that I have received from those voters throughout my campaign, my vote would have been not to renew her contract.