FORUM HOSTED FOR TUSCALOOSA COUNTY BOARD OF EDUCATION CANDIDATES
Story by WVUA 23’s Samantha Fisher.
The Republican Women of Tuscaloosa County held an education forum in the Northport Civic Center on Thursday for the candidates running for the Tuscaloosa County Schools Board of Education.
There were four candidates present at the event, including District 4 candidates Don Presley and Carrie Dailey, as well as District 2 candidates Jamie Lake and Ronnie Lett.
This is the first time that the Republican Women of Tuscaloosa County hosted an event like this, according to the organization’s president, Jackie Ray.
“The race itself is interesting in that we have some old guard people that have served in education for a long time and then we have some who are anxious to move in with new ideas,” Ray said.
Roughly 100 people came out to listen to questions about common concerns asked by a moderator. Issues concerned the system’s budget, safety, expansion, athletics and communication.
Each candidate discussed the various issues. Lett emphasized adding classes for a more diverse curriculum.
“We need to emphasize more classes that will help our youngsters so that the day they graduate, they’ve got some idea about what they would like to do in life,” Lett said. “And a lot of them don’t want to go to a four-year institution.”
Lake believes that the Board of Education must ensure that schools are protected, no matter the cost.
“If I had to take money out of my personal budget to make sure my children are secured, I would do that,” Lake said. “I think that we should take that same approach with the school board budget when it comes to security.”
Presley is concerned with the state of school infrastructure.
“[With] the maintenance of our schools’ facilities, we have to have a better way of developing a program where we can do timely in critical maintenance on the issues like that that come up suddenly,” Presley said.
Like Lett, Dailey is focused on how to improve students’ post-graduation preparedness.
“When they get ready to graduate, I don’t believe they’re all ready to be out there and go to their next stages of life. I think we are able and should support them and find more ways for them to succeed and achieve,” Dailey said.
Elections for both positions will be held on March 3.