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Former District 3 BOE candidates
lining up behind remaining contenders

By Curt Yeomans

cyeomans@news-daily.com

Two former candidates for the Board of Education's District 3 seat threw their support to a retired Atlanta Public Schools employee, who used to be their opponent in the race for a spot on the embattled school board.

Former District 3 challengers Blondie Perry-Christian, and Marty Holder, Sr., as well as Riverdale City Councilman Wayne Hall announced on Wednesday their endorsement of Charles Davis, a former Atlanta Public Schools maintenance department employee, in the Aug. 5 run-off election for the seat.

Jessie Goree, who retired from the Clayton County school system in June, said she has been endorsed by former candidate, Tammie Hardy, but Hardy could not be reached Thursday to confirm Goree's comments.

In the July 15 primary election, Davis and Goree finished neck-and-neck with Goree leading the field with 28.86 percent of the vote, while Davis finished a close second with 28.2 percent.

"I'm not taking anything for granted in this election," Davis said. "I know anything can happen between now and [Aug. 5]."

The endorsement of Davis by Holder and Perry-Christian means three-fifths of the candidates seeking the seat on the July 15 primary election ballot have combined forces, but 54 percent of the voters who went to the polls on July 15 voted for either Goree or Hardy.

"Change is important. Like Barack Obama said, we need a 'Change we can believe in,' and we believe in Charles Davis," said Perry-Christian.

During his tenure with the Atlanta School System, Davis dealt with budgets and policy issues. Those are two of the duties which are responsibilities of a Clayton County school board member. Davis said he is running on a platform of "bringing calmness and ethical values back to the board."

He stressed that the interests of the district's more than 52,000 students -- not personal interests -- should be the main concern of any board member.

Goree argued that Davis' heart was not with the children, though. She said she could not understand why Perry-Christian and Holder threw their support behind Davis.

Goree, who frequently addresses the board during public comment segments at board meetings, retired from the school system as a school improvement specialist at the end of the 2007-08 school year, so she could run for the District 3 seat.

She has one child, a son, who will be a senior at North Clayton High School during the upcoming school year.

"I have a vested interest in the school system, because my son is a Clayton County student," Goree said. "I am the most qualified person for this position ... I think they were more interested in a position. I'm interested in what I've always been interested in -- which is the children and the curriculum."