Local News

7/27/2012

School board candidates discuss issues

By MICHAEL HALL

The Brunswick News

Three of nine candidates for the Glynn County board of education say they would close Altama Elementary first if a dwindling educaiton budget forced school consolidation.

Others said they would have to do more research into the matter before making a decision.

The Republican candidates were polled on the issue during a Republican-hosted forum Thursday at First United Methodist Church in Brunswick. They will face the voters Tuesday.

District 3 candidates Noel Jensen and incumbent John Madala, as well as At-Large Post 2 candidate L.A. Chancey, said because of the age, condition and location of Altama Elementary, it would likely be the best first choice should schools need to be merged as a cost-saving measure.

Earl Perry, a candidate for District 1, said he would likely close St. Simons Elementary because of the available capacity at Oglethorpe Point Elementary, the other school on St. Simons Island.

When asked about block scheduling at the two county high schools, two of the three incumbents present defended it, while another did not.

Jerry Mancil, incumbent running for At-Large Post 2, said the jury is still out on whether a traditional schedule would work better. Test scores have slowly risen over the last several years in most subjects, Mancil said, a sign that block scheduling has not been a detriment.

Ray Snow, incumbent running for District 1, said the argument made by his opponent Ingrid Metz that Advanced Placement students are hurt by block scheduling is not sound.

He said AP students make up only the top 10 percent of students. A decision should not be made for only a small percentage of students, Snow said.

Metz has been a long-time opponent of block scheduling and was joined in her opinion by both Madala and At-Large Post 2 candidate Larry Lynch. All three said block scheduling's price tag of around $1.3 million a year more than a traditional schedule is not worth the cost because student achievement has not greatly improved.

Chancey suggested the option of using one schedule at one school if its population would benefit, and another schedule at the other.

Dee Rogers, District 5 candidate who was present at the forum, is unopposed in the Republican primary.

Venus Holmes, the Democratic candidate in District 5, was invited to the forum but did not attend.