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New president named for Savannah-Chatham County Public School Board

Updated: Jul. 24, 2018 at 11:13 PM EDT
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CHATHAM CO., GA (WTOC) - The Savannah-Chatham County Public School Board will have a new president starting next year.

Joe Buck defeated Betty Morgan Tuesday night in the runoff election, receiving 64 percent of the vote.

This will be the second time Buck will serve as the SCCPSS president. He says he did all the watch parties and campaign frenzy the first go-round. We caught up with him in his home enjoying the victory with his wife.

Buck says he would have continued to run for school board president, but his term limit was up before current president Jolene Byrne was elected. The board is currently under a SACS investigation. However, Buck says this is not intimidating.

He says the board was under a separate SACS investigation when he was elected as president for his first term. He hopes to restore peace and trust among board members. He says he can't wait to make the school system about the kids again.

"I"m 77-years-old. I mean, I don't really know why I'm doing this except that I can't stop and let somebody else do it. People know that I care, I think, and that the whole reason for my life is to work with young people," he said.

Unlike most elections Tuesday night, Buck was voted the official school board president. He will not go through the General Elections in November. However, the way the Georgia law is written, he will not start his official role until Jan. 2, 2019.

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The state of Georgia is holding runoff elections on Tuesday, July 24.

Joe Buck received 45 percent of the vote in the May primary election. Betty Morgan received 24 percent.

The school board has been in the news for quite some time now. The board has been the subject of a SACS investigation.

They recently voted to raise taxes due to several mandates brought upon by the state. Several members can't seem to agree on who should be the ones implementing recess.

Buck is a former school board president who served Savannah and Chatham County for eight years before the current school board president was elected.

Morgan would be new to the board but has around 40 years of experience as an educator. She says the board is at a disgruntle and needs a change.

Buck says the board has to be unified and serve as an example for the entire county.

"I really do believe they're good people, and we did well the last time and most of those members are people I worked with. So, I feel confident we can do it again," Buck said. "When I was elected 12 years ago, the board was just coming off probation at the time from SACS, actually, so I took that board and worked cooperatively with them and we had a very effective board for eight years."

"We just have to learn how to agree to disagree and work together, because we are a team. It's one voice, one fight," Morgan said. "That's why I think now is the time for a change. Maybe everybody is getting a little tired of everybody and we just have to learn how to respect each other's opinions.

"Just vote," Buck said. "Get out and bote because just 18 percent was bad enough last time."

"Do your civic duty and go vote," Morgan said. "It's not going to hurt you. It's just going to help us in the long run."

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