Letter to the Editor: Can we deal with facts, please

Published 4:50 pm Wednesday, April 29, 2020

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Dear Editor,

In response to the April 21 letter regarding the importance of the upcoming school board election, let me say that I agree that whom we elect is very important. The letter implied that the best choice would be to keep the current incumbents and the hand-picked successor for Mr. Hancock.

I hold no animosity toward the incumbents or Mr. Blair. However, I do not believe that keeping the status quo would be in the best interests of our students and teachers. Their letter is an example of how some try to turn voters against challengers by telling un-truths. 

  • Their letter states, “The challengers’ highest priority is exempting themselves and all seniors from paying their fair share of school taxes.” For the record, Mr. Hancock and Mr. Blair have put their properties into Conservation Use Assessments in order to receive favorable tax treatments. I don’t fault them for taking advantage of tax breaks that they are entitled to. I would do the same, but I do have an issue with them not wanting to give senior citizens tax relief.
  • The school system is going to pay $29 million on gyms at LaGrange High School and Troup High School but does not furnish our teachers with needed books and supplies. That is absurd.
  • TCSS ranks in the bottom 41% in the state (schooldigger.com) and the state ranks in the bottom 38% in the country (insider.com), putting TCSS in the bottom 16% nationally. Our graduates are only 42% proficient in reading and 27% proficient in math (ga.gov). These facts are nothing to brag about.
  • The claim that teacher morale and turnover have improved is false. I have summarized three separate years of HR reports and every year, over 100 teachers and paraprofessionals resign, not counting retirees or terminations.
  • My platform is straightforward. My No. 1 priority is returning discipline and order to the classroom. Teachers will be totally supported and will be provided with necessary supplies and textbooks. Fiscal responsibility will be guaranteed, and I will support tax relief for those seniors who wish to take advantage of it.

Frank Barnes, Tripp Foster, Nick Simpson, and I appreciate your consideration in voting for us. 

Tommy Callaway