0

Board responds to request

By Trina Trice

Two members of the Clayton County Board of Education are taking a stand following last week's public requests for their resignations.

Board Chairwoman Nedra Ware and member LaToya Walker issued separate letters Monday as a response to Chamber President and CEO Shane Moody's call, on behalf of the Clayton County Chamber of Commerce, for their resignation as well as the resignation of two other school board members ?Vice Chairwoman Connie Kitchens and Carol Kellam.

Walker called the Chamber's actions "like hanging an innocent person," saying "I cannot account for the actions of other board members, but I am happy to respond to any specific actions I have taken to merit the claim that I should resign or be recalled."

Moody accused the four board members of negatively affecting the quality of life in the county and the ability of the county to attract new business.

"We are losing business relocations and expansions on a daily basis because of the threat of losing accreditation," Moody said at a Thursday press conference. "No business will be part of a community with a crumbling public school system. (Losing those businesses) takes jobs and money out of our county, and ultimately decays our quality of life."

Ware plans to defend her actions in a future meeting with the Chamber of Commerce.

"The controversy that we are called to deal with today all began during and because of the firing of the former superintendent (Dan Colwell)," Ware's letter states. "I stand by that decision and feel that it was in the best interest of the Clayton County School District?I have done nothing wrong or illegal and I do not intend to resign. I do welcome input ? but that input should be constructive and aimed at better schools for Clayton County n not aimed at winning a game of political hot potato."

Moody, who is attending a conference out of town, is welcoming the chance to meet with Ware.

"When I get back in town, we will set up something with her and the board of directors," Moody said. "We see it as a positive that she wants to sit down and meet with us."

Ware expressed disappointment that Moody did not speak with her prior to calling for her resignation, citing that "any elected official is entitled to the courtesy of notice and an opportunity to respond prior a public call for his/her resignation.

"I am a Chamber member who is entitled to express an opinion about Chamber actions," the letter states.

Since January, Walker's voting pattern has mirrored that of Ware, Kitchens, and Kellam. Walker voted in favor of removing Colwell from office; her name appeared alongside the other three board members' names in a response to the grand jury's findings; and she has appeared to support the board's current superintendent search that has met with opposition from other board members Ericka Davis, Bob Livingston, Barbara Wells, and Linda Crummy.

In her letter Walker asserts, "I am not a part of any coalition.

"My standards of public service are high, I am an independent thinker and I will not be controlled by any faction, coalition, and not even the Chamber. I will consider the views of all and make a decision on all issues based upon what I believe will improve our school system. If my constant presence at meetings called gives the impression that I am a part of a coalition, when other board members do not attend?it is a false impression."