District 3 candidates vie for voters at Chamber forum

Published 9:12 am Saturday, April 27, 2024

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By Charlotte Reames

The candidates for the District 3 Troup County School Board of Education teed off during Wednesday’s forum. The three candidates running for the District 3 seat are Daniela Bailey, Beth Jackson and Mark Thompson.

Bailey, a 16-year resident of Hogansville, serves as the director of administration for the LaGrange Housing Authority.

Jackson works in medical management for Concentra; however, she previously worked as a family advocate at Headstart, an early childhood education program for low-income families.

Thompson, though retired, worked at manufacturing plants such as Kia and LaGrange Molding for 40 years.

The forum was hosted by the Troup County-LaGrange Chamber of Commerce and live-streamed by the LaGrange Daily News. Each candidate was given 90 seconds to answer a series of questions, with two minutes for opening and closing remarks.

The full live stream of the forum can be found on the LaGrange Daily News Facebook page. Below are some of the questions asked and answered during the forum:


What are your thoughts on TCSS’s policy on combatting gang activity in schools, and it gang activity an issue?

“We’ve got a couple of elementary schools [have] got school resource officers now,” Thompson said. “And I don’t think it needs to be a school resource officer across the board. And as far as safety goes, I think we’ve done a lot that we didn’t do 10 years ago. And we have to step up our game and work closely with law enforcement and ensure safety of children.”

Bailey introduced the idea of a Parent University, where the county’s parents can go to get resources, communicate with educators and encourage involvement and participation in the classroom.

“Anytime a gang is formed something they’re lacking, a child’s lacking,” Bailey said. “And that’s why Parent University would be a great implementation into the schools. Because [with] Parent University, [and] you have a child that is representing a gang, if you can collaborate and see what’s going on in the heartbeat of that home, I believe that help.”

Jackson said she would like to see a report on the efficacy of the policy and that she hopes to see licensed counselors in each school

“If the student is going down the wrong road, there’s obviously something going on outside of school, you have to find and diagnose the problem, whether it’s in the household, whether it’s them being bullied at school,” Jackson said. “… I think access to licensed counselors and mental health professionals are key.”


What is your position regarding waiving school taxes for senior citizens?

“I know it has been the great debate, I understand. But to me, if we’re really going to invest, let’s see if we can come to the table and make it a win win,” Bailey said. “So I kind of advocate for keeping funding for our school systems.”

Jackson said she agrees with the exceptions for those of a certain age who live on a lower income, but the citizens who are able to should be investing in their community’s future.

“If you’re able, you should pour into the future,” Jackson said. “Because, again, if we don’t do it, who will?”

Thompson, on the other hand, was in favor of looking into waiving the taxes by seeing how other counties and states have handled it.

“If they can do it, why can’t Troup County do it?”


Experts tell us that a child’s ability to read at grade level by the third grade is the single greatest predictor of future success. Yet 39% of third graders in true county are not reading at grade level. What is your plan to improve reading comprehension?

Jackson suggested that TCSS partner with the Headstart program to help close the achievement gap from birth to three years old. She also said there are opportunities for learning new words in the community like getting tickets to the zoo or going to the park.

“You have to reach the kids before they even touch school,” Jackson said. “You have to start implementing programs like our Headstart program, that teaches kids and [encourages] parents to read to their kids. Reading 20 minutes a day to your child will change their life trajectory.”

Thompson echoed her adding that “reading to your child or grandchild 15-20 minutes a day would improve their knowledge as far as learning and sight words and things like that. And I think that when you do that, that teaches the child more.”

Bailey remembered when her own children were young and needed to study spelling words or needed help with a reading assignment.

“I knew their education was on me. If I didn’t push myself, they wouldn’t succeed. So again, we go back into the home to see what is lacking. And then from there, as the school system or partnering we can find out what we can do as a village to help a child succeed.”