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LETTER: Vote to keep school system moving forward

To my fellow Troup County citizens, as a parent and local business owner for more than 20 years, and having been appointed to area workforce boards since 2009, I’ve seen first-hand how critical public education is to the growth and prosperity of our community.

This is the most divisive school board election I can remember, and it’s up to us as a community to decide the direction we want our school system to take. 

Do we want to risk going back to a failing public education system, or do we want to trust the people that have started to turn it around?

Our school system has struggled with low graduation rates, low test scores, and budget issues. 

In recent years, our community overwhelmingly voted for change, electing six (out of seven) new school board members. Our current school board has made difficult decisions resulting in a dramatic leadership change from the top down.

Under this new leadership, the school system has tackled difficult budget issues and reduced operating expenses, paving the way for a zero-deficit budget for 2020-21. 

They improved graduation rates to higher than the state average and improved our school system rating an entire letter grade. 

It’s just the beginning of a turnaround, but our school system is finally moving in the right direction.

We can’t jeopardize that positive change and growth now. The future of our community is at stake.

We have two choices. We can re-elect the current school board (along with Ferrell Blair, who has Kirk Hancock’s endorsement) and continue to move our school system forward. Or we can roll the dice with a group of candidates that think it’s feasible to slash the budget while somehow still providing teachers with more supplies, lowering classroom size, and increasing teacher retention. 

This is a group that has openly criticized financial reserves that will prove critically important now with substantial state budget cuts due to COVID-19. 

A group that offers buzzword solutions to complex problems.

Now, more than ever, we need pragmatic leaders that will put aside personal differences and work together and with the community to continue the momentum we have in Troup County. 

We need people that will prioritize our children’s education over getting a tax break.

Vote for Ferrell Blair, Brandon Brooks, Joe Franklin and Cathy Hunt and vote for the continued positive trajectory of our school system and our community.

— Brandon Eley

LaGrange