JONESBORO With the elections out of the way, the Clayton County Board of Education will have to face some challenges in 2013, according to Jessie Goree, re-elected board member who ran unopposed.
“We are going to have to find a superintendent, invest more in our community stakeholders and invest more interest in the schools as we implement the new Common Core Cirriculum,” said Goree.
Another challenge, Goree added, is regaining the trust of the public and limiting the discord between board members. Goree is known for her outspoken opposition to board policies and disagreements with former School Superintendent Edmond Heatley and Board Chairman Pam Adamson.
Attempts were made to reach Adamson but were unsuccessful.
“When SACS (Southern Association of Colleges and Schools) sent out that letter this year it really made us look bad,” said Goree.
In that letter sent in September, SACS for the third time expressed concerns over the district’s governance, according to school board members.
Board members received a warning letter from SACS, the accrediting agency — which revoked the district’s accreditation in 2009 — listing concerns about the conduct of board members. The letter accuses board members of continuing the micromanagement that got the district in trouble with SACS four years ago.
“That letter was not based on facts and people should not believe everything that they read,” said Goree. “Now we have to work to regain the trust of the public again.”
Goree said with the new appointment of an interim superintendent, retired Clayton County Public Schools administrator Luvenia Jackson, there’s more harmony among board members.
“The dynamics have changed since Jackson,” she said. “There’s more positive energy among us and I’m very happy myself.”
With the Charter School Amendment passing in the election, Goree said her concern is that this will have an adverse effect on the district.
“We may start seeing more charter school’s popping up, which could take funds away from our public schools. We already lost a lot of money from the state.,” said Goree. “’We will have to see how that plays out.”
Though elections may be over the school board could still possibly see new members. Incumbents Trinia Garrett and Wanda Smith didn’t receive the required majority vote to be re-elected for the Clayton County School Board. Neither could be reached for comment.
According to state law, a candidate must receive 50 percent plus one to win the election.
On Election night the Clayton County Clerks website’s unofficial results indicated Garrett led with 46.96 percent of the vote in District 2 and Smith led with 36.38 percent of the vote in District 7.
Opposing Garrett was Judy Johnson with 39.19 percent and Lois Wright with 13.54 percent.
Among Smith’s opponents, Mark Christmas had 28.05 percent of the vote, Jermaine Coleman 22.38 percent and Melody Totten 12.98 percent.
Garrett will face Johnson in a runoff, while Smith will face Christmas, both on Dec. 4, according to information from the Secretary of State’s office.
“I still feel we have a bright future no matter what changes or challenges we will have to face,” said Goree. “Really the only looming thing we have to get past is the letter from SACS. That really damaged our image.”