CHATHAM CO., GA (WTOC) - The race to be the next school board president is down to two in Chatham County.
Joe Buck and Betty Morgan face off in a July 24 runoff. Buck fell a few percentage points short of winning the majority Tuesday night. Now both candidates hope to win the votes the other three candidates received.
Buck and Morgan said this runoff scenario is something they were at least partially expecting. With five candidates, it was likely none would win the majority. The race is really starting now for them. Buck, who held the position as board president for two terms, faces a lifelong educator in Morgan.
"My job once I get to be school board president is to try to bring some unity and trust back to the board just like we had before," Buck said.
"I'm a peace-maker. I'm not a, I don't do foolishness. I understand that we have to agree to disagree but I also want them to understand that once we leave the table we want to make sure we have solutions to the problems," Morgan said.
Buck said the same can be expected from him. Both said their focus is on the students if they win this election.
"I'm a mediator. I'm a compromiser. At my age, I don't have any real agenda in terms of, for any particular thing except to make the board work," Buck said.
Whoever wins will be tasked with leading the board and working with the superintendent to get several failing schools in the county back to where they need to be. The current president, Jolene Byrne, has been accused of leaving board members out and even going around the superintendent at times. She announced earlier this year she wasn't running again.
"As leadership since I've been in the military and since I've been in the school system and since I've worked with the current superintendent, I know her leadership style and I know mine," Morgan said. "We're going to work together. We're going to be a team."
Buck said his goal will be to work with all eight board members and Levett to restore unity and trust in the public-school system.
The only other changes, David Bringman beat Alfreda Goldwire for the seat Larry Lower gave up running for president. In District 8, Tonia Howard-Hall beat incumbent Ruby Jones. These changes take effect Jan. 1.