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School Board candidates debate at civic club

Dougherty County School Board member Anita Williams Brown speaks before the Doughtery County Rotary Club while Lane Price, left, and Karen Kemp listen. Williams-Brown, the incumbent, is attempting to hold off Price's challenge to her at-large board seat. The two candidates held a cordial debate on Tuesday.

Dougherty County School Board member Anita Williams Brown speaks before the Doughtery County Rotary Club while Lane Price, left, and Karen Kemp listen. Williams-Brown, the incumbent, is attempting to hold off Price's challenge to her at-large board seat. The two candidates held a cordial debate on Tuesday.

ALBANY -- With the Dougherty County School Board at-large seat hanging in the balance and the deciding Democratic primary coming Tuesday, incumbent Anita Williams-Brown and challenger Lane Price engaged in a cordial debate Tuesday before the Dougherty Rotary Club.

"I've had people ask me why I am running for the School Board," Price, the medical director at Willson Hospice House, said. "When we moved here (four years ago), it didn't take long to realize that we have some problems in our school system. Now we have some schools like Albany Early College and Lincoln Magnet that are doing very well, but overall we have problems.

"I thought, 'Somebody ought to do something.' Then I realized that maybe I am that somebody."

Williams-Brown, who is seeking her second term on the School Board, said the job she started four years ago is not yet done, adding, "I want to continue to be a voice for our community."

When asked by a member of the audience about the system's recent CRTC cheating accusations that swept up 49 of the system's teachers and administrators, Williams-Brown was quick to answer.

"I really don't think you can blame all of those teachers," she said. "As the review of evidence has proceeded, we've found that half of those teachers were cleared. They were just testing the way they were taught. We don't hear much about that."

Attention then turned to the system's recent situation with the Georgia Department of Education's decision to delay more than $11 million in federal funding until the school system can justify some 34 questionable Title I expenditures -- including a $91,000 consulting contract to Dabbs and Associates that was not approved by the School Board.

"First of all, that federal money is not frozen, it's on hold," Williams-Brown said. "We do have a policy in place that any contract over $40,000 had to have board approval. But in the past we've had superintendents approve contracts of $200,000 without board approval. We've always had leeway in Title I spending. Now the community wants to do away with that leeway and go with policy."

Price then responded.

"In medicine we also have policies to follow," she said. "If policies are not followed it can result in what we call a 'sentinal event.' Those are not good and are big deals."

In a health care setting, a sentinel event is defined as any unanticipated event resulting in death or serious physical or psychological injury to a patient not related to the natural course of the patient's illness.

The two candidates were then asked what innovations they would bring to the system, such as the recent College and Career Academy charter school proposal which was voted down by the board.

"I was as surprised as anybody by the board's rejection of the charter school," Price said. "There is no doubt we have to be innovative. I think we need to expand the CTAE (Career, Technology and Agriculture Education) concept and look at what other districts are successfully doing with it."

Brown said the decision to scuttle the charter school was the result of community feedback.

"The majority of the people we listened to had problems with the charter school's governance and the lack of a budget," Williams-Brown said. "I don't have anything against charter schools, it's just that I thought we needed to take a closer look at it."

Comments

Sixty 1 year, 8 months ago

Williams-Brown is not the brightest of individuals. Are those the best answers she can come up with??? Not following policy is an open invitation for a major lawsuit. If a teacher did not follow policy regarding student situations, that teacher would be an open target for a lawsuit by the child or his/her parents. It amazes me that people can get voted into office when they are completely incompetent at what they do. WB is also responsible for getting Murfree hired. She has also abstained from many important votes. Not the brightest bulb in the house.

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LuLu 1 year, 8 months ago

A completely incompetent electorate begets completely incompetent representation. It's as simple as that.

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Citizen1 1 year, 8 months ago

LuLu, you need to stop! Your comments are nasty and unnecessary. We don't need people like you. Look in the mirror. It's as simple as that!

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Citizen1 1 year, 8 months ago

Who is Dabbs and Associates?

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LuLu 1 year, 8 months ago

Are you serious??? And you have the nerve to try and invalidate my opinions. That's rich!

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Citizen1 1 year, 8 months ago

LuLu, LuLu the name is Sabbs and Associates not Dabbs and Associates

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LuLu 1 year, 8 months ago

Then maybe you could have just pointed out the mistake without the sarcastic remark. Isn't that what you've chided me for?

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Shinedownfan 1 year, 8 months ago

...then you need to be nice! She wouldnt get mean if you didnt start.

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Citizen1 1 year, 8 months ago

What does Dr. Price intend on doing? Why couldn't she do this from the district 1 seat? I hear she lives in district 1. She needs to explain if she is here to help and not divide.

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LuLu 1 year, 8 months ago

She also lives in the "at large" district and has every right to run for that seat. But my guess is that it has something to do with her running as a Democrat.

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Bubbavet_rureel 1 year, 8 months ago

Williams is the best choice, we need her back on the Board.

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TheBoss 1 year, 8 months ago

BV_R, this is what you meant to say "we need her black on the Board".

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ObjectiveEyes 1 year, 8 months ago

"First of all, that federal money is not frozen, it's on hold," Williams-Brown said. "We do have a policy in place that any contract over $40,000 had to have board approval. But in the past we've had superintendents approve contracts of $200,000 without board approval. We've always had leeway in Title I spending. Now the community wants to do away with that leeway and go with policy."

After these comments, if you vote for WB, you need your head examined. Maybe you can get an appointment with Dr. Price?

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Royalstar 1 year, 8 months ago

I thought I saw Willams-Brown on tv last week stating that the superintendent has already responded to the information requested by the State. This morning on the news it was reported that the funds are on hold and the State BOE is sending someone here to monitor the school system. Has Dr Williams-Brown lied to the citizens are has she been lied to?

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LuLu 1 year, 8 months ago

It's a lie, yes and no. 34 DID respond by handing over some sort of documentation, but it had absolutely nothing to do with what they asked for!

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erock 1 year, 8 months ago

The abilty to do the job is no longer a deciding factor in Albany Georgia. It all comes down to the color of your skin.

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Abytaxpayer 1 year, 8 months ago

Dr Price is running at-Large to allow people from ALL SIDES of Albany to show they want to improve the Board. She is running to include ALL people of Albany NOT just Dist1. Sure there are people who will vote for Black because they only see skin color just as I am sure some will vote white. But those of us who are still holding to hope of improving the DCSS Board will vote on the best qualified.

You vote counts as much as mine. So in the end we will see what message is sent to the Board from ALL of Albany not just 1 district.

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Progressive 1 year, 8 months ago

With so much public outcry about the corruption of this School Board and Administration, it is disgusting that our so called leaders are not taking action to solve these issues. Our community has been tarnished enough, and it is time to make some drastic changes. Murfree should have never been hired, and now he should be fired for his failed performance. Several on the School Board need to be replaced (such as Riggins and Anita Williams Brown in the upcoming election, and June Bug Griffin just needs to resign for a general lack of interest in whatever ramblings he has to say).

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Bubbavet_rureel 1 year, 8 months ago

Thanks, we vote early, Williams will make a positive difference!

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Progressive 1 year, 8 months ago

Why would you or anyone else want to support Williams? Be specific and not your usual hidden agenda vagueness. What has she done to warrant another term? Supporting any incumbent from this School Board only goes to show you are not interested in setting a proper example for the kids who need good role models.

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MRKIA 1 year, 8 months ago

POSITIVE SHE WILL SCREW IT UP MORE. PHD. PAID HER DOLLARS.

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dingleberry 1 year, 8 months ago

I think the article at the link should be required reading by all in the school system and all supposed civic, business, and religious leaders. But even more pertinent are the comments from people all over the state that know Albany and it problems and see the same problems in their systems.

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TheMember 1 year, 8 months ago

Citizen1 keep voting by color and not qualifications, ya'll will sink the city before it's time.

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Citizen1 1 year, 8 months ago

Here they go again! No comments about Gov. Deal, The Crook! Nasty comments about others!

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Progressive 1 year, 8 months ago

Why would you or anyone else want to support Williams? Be specific and not your usual hidden agenda vagueness. What has she done to warrant another term? Supporting any incumbent from this School Board only goes to show you are not interested in setting a proper example for the kids who need good role models.

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TheMember 1 year, 8 months ago

I would be willing to bet I have Bubbavet_rereel figured out. He is a young kid or young adult (white) who is unemployed. He is having more fun than a pig in slop by pulling all our chains with his racist comments. I say, let's stop responding or better yet let's keep embarrassing the city and keep it going. Thanks for the fun reading bub.

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Citizen1 1 year, 8 months ago

Well, I see all of the folks with the nasty comments are back! They went under ground and had nothing to say when Gov. Deal admitted to stealing, I mean ethics violations.

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Progressive 1 year, 8 months ago

We notice that you will not state anything specific to justify the support for Williams. We also do not support county commissioners Jack Stone and Lamar Hudgins due to their being clueless about county budgeting issues. You and B_r need to stop the crap about having a hidden agenda and admit that you have your own.

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Citizen1 1 year, 8 months ago

I didn't say anything about a hidden agenda. Do you have one?

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waltspecht 1 year, 8 months ago

Did anyone note that Williams stated that the majority of the people we listen to were against the Charter School. She never said it was the majority of the people we represent were against the Charter School. Would those people "they" listen to be the group of Ministers that have endorsed her?

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jglass 1 year, 8 months ago

All I have to say is I am pulling the Democratic ticket July 31st and voting for the two on that ticket that I feel most qualified. (I have reviewed the questions for both parties as well. People read these very well before you cast votes.) And I am voting NO to the T-SPLOST. People get out and vote July 31st. Lets make a change!!!!!! (A good change!!)

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Sister_Ruby 1 year, 8 months ago

If you want to vote for Lane Price, you must pull the Democrat ballot on July 31st!! Don't make a mistake and miss your chance!!

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Sister_Ruby 1 year, 8 months ago

This is me, how I will look going into the voting precinct on July 31st to pull the Democrat ticket (holding my nose all the while.....) so that I can vote for Lane Price!!

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dingleberry 1 year, 8 months ago

I agree with Williams-Brown that the problem with lack of proper approval of expenditures is nothing new and likely goes back as far as both Whatley and Culbreth. Hence, it indicates a long standing systemic problem with not following the rules. To imply that because rules weren't followed in the past justifies not following the rules now is troubling when openly stated as a defense of the situation by a sitting BOE member.

Equally troubling is the comment about the number of teachers cleared of suspected cheating. As I recall, those "cleared" had been giving cheating help through verbal and non-verbal means rather than actually erasing answers. The reason the cases were not pursued was laws involving intentional falsification of documents were not broken. This did not mean those teachers did not cheat--they cheated in another way. But in reality, a cheater is a cheater and in that regard there is no difference. Again, this was a systemic problem, likely longstanding, and just as likely tied in with Whatley's sudden retirement.

State auditors doing an operational audit of the DCSS should not have any difficulty substantiating non-compliance and mismanagement at the least. Rather, their problem will be deciding how many past years to work with and how long the report should be. There will not be a shortage of things not done well, not done at all, and that should not have been done at all.

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ObjectiveEyes 1 year, 8 months ago

Agreed, berry. To justify criminal behavior by pointing out the "fact" that "...eveyone's doing it..." shows a total lack of integrity or sense of right and wrong. Childish and beyond incredible!

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