Audrey Singleton says she understand education after owning Richmond Hill Montessori Preschool since 1994, but she also understands what it’s like as a business owner and home owner to pay taxes.
“The board’s challenge is how to spend that tax money wisely,” she said.
Singleton is running for Bryan County Board of Education vice chair against Drew Humphreys and Karen Krupp in the May 24 primary. If no candidate receives 50 percent plus one vote, the top two will advance to a run-off on July 26.
“We have to understand that our community is growing and we have to build new schools,” she said. “The question is how we do that without raising property taxes.”
Bryan County Schools has a budget of more than $60 million, the largest amount of any government entity in the county.
“It’s a big budget and the question is, where does all the money go?” Singleton said. “I have the financial background as a business owner to understand that.”
Singleton said she also is no stranger to education policy and is a long-time board member of the Georgia Child Care Association.
“I’m familiar with how education regulations are crafted and how they work in practice,” she said.
Singleton is no stranger to growth, either.
“We started out with 34 kids in 1994,” she said. “We built a new facility in the middle of a recession and we’ve had more than 4,000 students over the years. I know that you have to have a vision to go along with growth or else you won’t be prepared for it.”
Singleton also noted that the board has taken steps to that end by developing long-range plans.
“Our schools have a regional reputation and that’s great for local businesses and home values, but most of the new families moving here have school-age kids and so planning is more critical than ever,” she said. “In order to make that happen we have to start now.”
Singleton said Bryan County is unique in that it is divided geographically, but it should not be academically.
“We have to look at the whole county and how we shape our schools,” she said. “Every child should have access to a quality education.”