|By Jenna Mink, The Macon Telegraph|
|McClatchy-Tribune Information Services|
The candidates -- an attorney, incumbent board member, insurance businessman and a philosophy professor -- are vying to be part of a school board that has significant tasks ahead, including working alongside a new superintendent. The current school board is reviewing applications for a new superintendent, as interim Superintendent
Post 7 and Post 8 school board positions pay an annual salary of
'Knowledge is power'
The race for
Bumpus, 49, decided to run for the position because he believes every student deserves the opportunity to get ahead, and he wants to help give children that opportunity, he said.
"Knowledge is power, and it's important that education works for all," he said. "I look forward to sharing my skill set as a board member and to work with those who are part of the board, as well as those who are part of the community, to build confidence and trust."
Bumpus, a former philosophy and ethics professor at
As a former school board appointee and recently named head of the
'Not afraid to voice my opinion'
Morton, who has volunteered in the school system, says it feels like the right time to step up and serve on the board, particularly as the school board and school district combat various issues.
"I'm somebody who is well known in the system as someone who supports (the board) when they're doing right, but I'm not afraid to voice my opinion when they're not doing the right thing," he said.
Additionally, Morton, 52, recently welcomed his first grandchild, who will one day attend
His goals include restoring public trust, bringing in a quality superintendent and helping the board establish effective governance over the superintendent and the school system, he said.
"I have a mixed skill set ... and I understand the bottom line," Morton said. "I also understand what the role of the board is. I'm not going to be afraid to answer the hard questions, even if it makes people uncomfortable."
'Bring education back to where it should be'
The race for
Latch, a community activist, says he wants to continue the school board watchdog work he has been performing and hold the school board accountable to the public.
"I want to bring education back to where it should be," said Latch, an insurance agent. Latch, 46, says he has been "immersed" in school board happenings for years and has worked on the community's behalf to bring certain issues to light. His goals include focusing on school board ethics and public accountability, and he also plans to work to re-establish public confidence in the school board. He said he plans to use social media and other methods to create more public interest in school board meetings and to reach out to stakeholders.
Latch pledged to work toward an improved board of education and improved graduation rates, among other goals.
"I've proven my commitment at my own cost over the past few years, and I will continue that work," he said. "If people search my name, they will see exactly how far I've gone into the board of education."
'It's my passion'
"It's my passion to share, to see what we can do to improve the quality of work the board does," she said. "There is no more of a critical issue than the quality of education in
Her goals include a push to establish well-defined, organized protocols and procedures, and to communicate them to stakeholders. Those steps are important as the board works to establish an effective relationship between the school board and the superintendent as well as the school board and the community. West, 61, recently suggested the school board meet to develop specific goals as it looks to hire a new chief, she said. She also discussed focusing on facilities, as well as focusing on teamwork on the board as it strives to improve public confidence.
"I bring a passion for the work, and I have a proven experience. I have carried a school system from the bottom to the top," she said.
She also has been involved in Bibb schools since she was a student, she said.
"I have served on every level from being in that (classroom) chair to the board chair."
To contact writer
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