Hundreds of people turned out for Savannah-Chatham Board of Education member SuSu Cox's town hall meeting last night. She's trying to clear the air about school district problems. About a dozen supporters of the board turned out, but the overwhelming majority of parents and teachers were frustrated with how the board's handled things recently, and they let Cox have it with both barrels.
Between the school district being put on probation and the board of education's unexpected release of superintendent John O'Sullivan, many parents are deeply concerned about the future of their children's education right now.
"We as parents don't want promises. We want answers," said one attendee. "We want to know what you're going to do, how you're going to do it and we want to know now because our kids are in trouble."
Cox says the board may not always agree on every issue, but this is one time when parents can be sure they're all on the same page. "We work together. And I tell you what, the unanimous vote is now, the unanimous vote is that this school board is going to get off probation and we all agree that we're going to do what we have to do with your help."
Despite that assurance, a percentage of parents say it's time for the entire board to step down and let some new blood try. "When your best is not enough, and you're in a position like you are, you need, for the sake of the community, give it to someone else," said high school teacher Abby Daniels.
No matter who's at the helm, many parents are worried about the future more than anything, specifically about keeping accreditation and finding a replacement for O'Sullivan.
"We need to find a superintendent who's willing to come to a public school system with a history of firing superintendents and is currently on probation," said concerned parent Kelly Miller.
Close to half of the board of education was on hand for the town hall meeting, although Cox fielded all the questions. Board president Hugh Golson did speak briefly, saying he's planning on having a large-scale town hall meeting in a couple weeks with the full board.