AUGUSTA, Ga. (WJBF)- Six candidates stood before voters and asked them for positions on the Richmond County Board of Education at a public forum Wednesday night. Incumbents Helen Minchew, Marion Barnes and Barabara Pulliam are asking voters to keep them there, while newcomers Tony Whiteside, Brian S. Green and Wayne Frazier are asking for a shot.
The main issue? Money.
“Teachers are very underpaid based on the work that they do,” said candidate Wayne Frazier.
Some candidates argued for cutting salaries at the top, to bolster the school system elseswhere.
“I’m not on some kind of witch hunt, but we’re talking about money,” said candidate Brian Green. “We got the money,” he said after reading off the six-figure salaries of several adminstrators.
But others say a good schools system is also dependent on good leadership.
“We were able to give raises, and this started, actually, with Dr. Pringle,” said incumbent Helen Minchew. “We were not in a position prior to Dr. Pringle coming to be able to give raises to anyone.”
Parents say they are sick of seeing their children’s schools squeezed for cash.
“We keep getting a lot of ‘the school dosen’t have the budget to do this, and the school dosen’t have the budget to do that,'” said parent Kimberly White.
Candidates also spoke about issues with involvement outside the classroom.
“We got to get the parents engaged,” said candidate Tony Whiteside. “We gotta get them excited about coming to the school and contributing, so that’s what I want to do because I am a parent.”
Longtime educator and board member Marion Barnes says sometimes you just can’t control things beyond school walls.
“We have problems in schools, and I agree to that,” he said. “However we got the same problems in society, outside the schools….and they bring them to the schools.”