SAVANNAH, GA (WTOC) - Five candidates all vying for the role of Savannah-Chatham County Public School Board President fielded a variety of questions Monday night in front of an audience of about 100 potential voters.
The forum was held at the Jewish Educational Alliance and was one of several opportunities for the community to hear where each candidate stands on issues ranging from the recent Advanced-ED accreditation review to teacher retention and classroom size.
Tye Whitely, Betty Morgan, Larry Lower, David Lerch and Joe Buck spent the evening trying to convince the crowd at the JEA why they would be the best candidate for school board president.
Several in the audience submitted questions regarding school board unity, and what each candidate would do to create a more cohesive atmosphere.
All candidates acknowledged improvement is needed and said they read the recent AdvancedED report. Each on the panel got a minute to make a final argument on why they would make the best candidate.
"The board at the time was just coming off SACS probation. It was a rude awakening in one way, but I learned very quickly the skills that I needed to work with a board in an effective and efficient way to get the job done," Joe Buck said.
David Lerch said during his remaining forum time, "I've been a math teacher in public schools, note that Mrs. Morgan, as well as a principal of a school. I've also worked with the U.S. Department of Education for several years and then became a consultant to schools around the country."
"Yes, the Board needs to be a little bit more conversive with themselves and understand that they're all going in the same direction, and I believe that I can bring that togetherness with the Board and I'm asking for your support," said current board member, Larry Lower.
Candidate Betty Morgan said, "I'm here to give it my best effort to make sure that our children get the best education that they possibly can have so that they can become productive citizens in the future."
"The issues that we have now, they didn't just start now, they started under prior leadership and under prior, our prior board members. This has been a decade to 15 years in the making. We cannot go back, we need to go forward," Tye Whitely said.
If you couldn't attend the forum, you can watch the full video in this story.