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Education PAC rejects Heatley supporters

Group claims incumbent BOE members struggled to explain policies

— At least three Clayton County Board of Education members can’t explain policies they put into place at the advice of former Clayton County Public Schools Superintendent Edmond Heatley, leaders of a local education political action committee alleged this week.

The Clayton County Education Association’s PAC announced its endorsements Monday night in the five school board races included in the Nov. 6 general election.

Noticeably absent from the listed of endorsed candidates were incumbent school board Vice-Chairman Mary Baker, and board members Ophelia Burroughs and Wanda Smith. All three regularly voted in favor of policies and initiatives put forward by Heatley, who was unpopular with educators.

Although each candidate who responded to the PAC’s questionnaire got a chance to interview with the group’s leaders, the PAC’s board was less than impressed with some of the answers they got when they asked candidates about some of the district’s policies.

“The challengers could articulate the policies the incumbents passed better than the incumbents could,” said PAC Vice-Chairman Tina Conner.

The PAC is endorsing the following school board candidates: Jermaine Coleman (District 2), Jessie Goree (District 3), Xavier Ross (District 5), Janice Scott (District 6) and Trinia Garrett (District 7). The group has also come out in opposition to the state’s proposed charter school amendment, but their main political interests are in who will occupy five school board seats for the next four years.

Although Heatley left the superintendent’s position nearly a month ago, after a failed bid to get the superintendents job in Berkeley, Calif. Schools, the former schools chief remains the white elephant in the school board races.

In a sign of how much of a factor Heatley is in the school board races, Goree and Garrett — who frequently voted together in opposition of the ex-superintendent’s policies and initiatives — are the only incumbents who were endorsed by the PAC.

“Some of them said they strongly felt like Dr. Heatley’s policies and decisions were having a positive impact on the school system,” said PAC member Matthews Lemons.

“Even though morale is low [in the district],” said PAC member Cynthia Alston.

In addition to queries about district policies, Conner said candidates interviewed by the PAC’s leadership board were asked about the district’s finances, employee morale and student and faculty involvement, as well as background questions about education and community involvement.

PAC members said they also raised questions about the district’s high school “hybrid” schedule, sick leave policy for teachers and staff and the overall treatment of school system employees by high-ranking administrators.

“When we asked about the policies and programs the superintendent put into place, some of the incumbents said they just voted ‘Yes’ to approve them,” said PAC board member Cindy Reese, who is also the vice-president of CCEA. “They didn’t do any research.”

Comments

jmojeda17 1 year, 5 months ago

Great job by the CCEA PAC. Seems like they did their homework and were prepared well.

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Serendipity 1 year, 5 months ago

The Clayton County Educators Association just isn't what it used to be. They also endorsed Sandra Scott, a school board member that the governor removed from the school board. They also endorsed Gail Davenport, who has never done anything to benefit the school system and who told the school board to fight with SACS. She was also rude to us when we went to the Captiol to ask her to help correct the school board. Do your research on these school board members that CCEA has endorsed and you will be shocked even more. For CCEA to not endorse these three incumbents is a sad testimoney to these educator's own personal agendas. True Heatley need to be removed, but this CCEA PAC only thinks about themselves and that is pathetic.

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Miami_Steve 1 year, 5 months ago

This "PAC" is made up of Trotter's minions, correct?

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Lunchman 1 year, 5 months ago

And people are just now realizing this? Dr. Heatley had a clear path to get what he wanted, when he wanted it and to spend it on whatever he wanted because of the few people he knew he could control. This should be a warning to all the members to look at a candidate before hiring. Check the place they are coming from and see what is said there. Anybody can look good on paper and to hire a head hunter to find someone will only bring a person to be interviewed with the best resume money can buy. His practices caused this county to waste money that he took from areas he should have let alone. Good people are leaving or have been forced to go. And - it is not only the board of education, but a number of people at 1058 Fifth Avenue in Jonesboro.

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