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SCCPSS school board candidates face off in forum before primary election

Published: May. 17, 2022 at 11:51 PM EDT
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SAVANNAH, Ga. (WTOC) - Candidates for the Savannah-Chatham Public School Board went back-to-back answering six pages of questions from educators, teachers and district staff.

One of the questions that stood out was mental health.

“We have to start teaching students who might not feel safe in their homes or worried if their loved ones will come home after a simple task like going to the grocery store,” said District 6 Incumbent David Bringman.

“We’re unaware of how many students are attached to the victim’s in the City of Savannah so I believe a task force should be simple to implement,” said District 5 Candidate Paul Smith.

“They need some place where they can talk one-on-one and I know our school district doesn’t have enough social workers as well as school guidance counselors,” said District 5 Candidate Theresa Watson.

“When you have things like this going on, you have to have relationships with your students first. We need more social workers. We need more counselors,” said District 8 Incumbent Tonia Howard-Hall.

A student from Johnson High School asked the candidates for president about the lack of buses for the choice program.

“I’ve seen a lot of people from my school drop out of the program because of lack of access to the buses,” the student said.

“Let’s pull our resources so we have enough bus drivers to get our kids across this district,” said Tye Whiteley, candidate for president.

“It’s very important that we make sure we have transportation for you all so you all can be in those programs,” said Todd Rhodes, candidate for president.

“I’m disappointed that you work so hard to get into that choice program and to have that road block put in front of you,” said Roger Moss, candidate for president.

Candidates also answered questions about school lunches, cultural representation and teacher retention.

The forum was hosted by the Deep Center, Chatham County Youth Commission, Migrant Equity SouthEast, Savannah Youth City Inc., Movement Matters and Loop it Up Savannah.

The absentee vote-by-mail deadline already passed, but the deadline for early in-person voting ends May 20th.

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