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Chamber to host forums for BOE, BOC races

By Curt Yeomans

cyeomans@news-daily.com

More than three months after the Clayton County Chamber of Commerce took a stand against the Board of Education by asking its members to resign through advertisements which ran in local newspapers, the business leaders are taking another stand by giving the community an opportunity to question the people seeking to form the next school board.

The chamber will host a Board of Education candidates forum on Monday at 6 p.m., in Ernest Stroud Hall at the Clayton County Performing Arts Center, 2530 Mt. Zion Pkwy., Jonesboro.

Each candidate, who attends, will be given two minutes to introduce him or herself and list his or her qualifications. Audience members will then ask questions of the candidates. The forum is scheduled to end at 9 p.m.

Yulonda Beauford, the chamber's vice president, said the board has taken a vested interest in the board of education because the school system can affect housing and businesses.

The school system has been in crisis mode since February, when the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS) recommended revoking the district's accreditation because of misbehaving board members.There have been fears the school system's woes could drive down housing prices and run businesses out of the county.

"Everything that happens with our school system is extremely important, because it has a ripple effect which can be felt in every corner of the county in which we live, work and play," Beauford said.

Beauford also said the chamber will host a forum for Board of Commissioners candidates on June 26, during its Early Bird Breakfast meeting, which begins at 7:45 a.m., at Clayton State University's Continuing Education building.

The community is encouraged to attend, but admission will cost chamber members $15, and non-members will have to pay $25. It will follow a similar format to the one used for the Board of Education forum.

Beauford said candidates for every elected office, which will appear on the July 15 primary ballots, are encouraged to attend both forums, so they can meet and greet members of the community.

"We want everyone to have a chance to meet the voters, so the people can get to know the candidates they are voting for," she said.