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Career academy voted down 4-3

A standing room only crowd lined the walls of the Dougherty County School System board room Wednesday as speakers voiced their opinions to the Board, pro and con, concerning a possible Albany College and Career Academy at Albany High School. The new charter school was defeated by a 4-3 vote.

A standing room only crowd lined the walls of the Dougherty County School System board room Wednesday as speakers voiced their opinions to the Board, pro and con, concerning a possible Albany College and Career Academy at Albany High School. The new charter school was defeated by a 4-3 vote.

ALBANY, Ga. — Murmurs of surprise rippled throughout a packed Dougherty County School Board meeting room Wednesday as the Board voted 4-3 to shoot down the proposed Albany College and Career Academy (ACCA) — with Board member Velvet Riggins casting the deciding vote.

The vote was racially split with Milton Griffin, James Bush, Anita Williams-Brown and Riggins voting against the charter school and David Maschke, Carol Tharin and Darrel Ealum voting for it.

Riggins was on the three-person committee appointed by the Board last year to help put plans for the ACCA together. Also on the committee were Darrel Ealum and Carol Tharin.

The issue took on a decidedly racial tenor during a ACCA steering committee presentation to the Board last Tuesday when Mt. Zion Baptist Church Pastor Daniel Simmons warned the Board that passage of “this plan will take us back to the days of Jim Crow.”

At a meeting with black ministers three days later, Superintendent Joshua Murfree, who initially was a strong supporter of the new charter school, backpedaled and assured the ministers that the ACCA would not be on Wednesday’s Board agenda.

On Wednesday, Board member David Maschke asked that the ACCA be placed on the agenda with the stipulation that the steering committee have a budget in place for review before the charter was sent to the state for approval on Aug. 1

Riggins made a motion to amend Maschke’s original motion to include a change in the way the ACCA’s directors — specifically reducing the number of directors nominated from the Albany Area Chamber and Economic Development Committee from four to two — and Maschke approved the amended motion.

But when Bush called for a vote, Riggins voted ‘no.’

“I had a problem with a review of the budget rather than approval, Riggins said after the meeting, explaining her ‘no’ vote. “We have a fiscal responsibility on this Board to spend the taxpayers’ money wisely.”

Riggins’ vote stunned Tharin and Ealum.

“It is a shame that a member of the Board of Education (Riggins) sat at every meeting saying ‘it’s all about the children’ time and time again,” said Tharin, “But when it comes time to put their vote where their mouth is, they don’t do it.”

Ealum was equally incensed.

“I am extremely disappointed,” said Ealum. “This was the first time that this community, business and education, had an opportunity to come together and create a paradigm shift in the way we educate our children, and we failed them.”

Prior to the vote, concerned citizens packed into the Board’s customary prebriefing and for the next two hours voiced opinions, both pro and con.

Simmons again was the last speaker to step to the podium, and pointed a finger at the Chamber.

“Not all in the Chamber have been supportive of the Dougherty County School System, except in the case of one superintendent,” said Simmons, in an apparent reference to former superintendent Sally Whatley.

In other business, the board OK'd a $116 million budget in a 6-1 vote. District 1 School Board representative David Maschke was the only opposing vote.

The plan does not include a tax increase.

In a preliminary vote on June 11, Maschke said he opposed the spending blueprint because it did not include information on spending controls and consultant fees.

The budget also reduces the number of employee furlough days to six from the 10 that employees had in FY 2012 that ends Saturday.

Comments

Sister_Ruby 2 years, 5 months ago

Everything is racial around here. We're continuing the slide from here to lost forever. They don't wanty ANYBODY to have the opportunity to move up and out......they just want to maintain status quo and keep as many people sittiing around on their porch all day with their hands out, waiting for the mail man to come bring their checks.

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Sister_Ruby 2 years, 5 months ago

You is "they" I think. Isn't that how the Board voted?? YES! "US versus THEM!!" Say it ain't so, happy?

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Happy 2 years, 5 months ago

Sister, I happen to be white if that is what you are referring to. There are many times that I disagree with whites and there are many times I disagree with blacks. I just happen to form my opinions based on the content of the situation, not the color of the person. I happen to be a registered Republican, and believe that Ronald Reagan was the best President of my lifetime and Clinton would come in 2nd. I do not vote or cast opinions based on color, rather on principle. I believe that people like myself who were not born and raised here that come from more refined cultures are able to see past the color war that is present in South Georgia.

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Sister_Ruby 2 years, 5 months ago

You give yourself a lot of credit! "They" represents anyone who views the situation as "US versus Them". I already answered your query.

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VSU 2 years, 5 months ago

There are white people that are on welfare too, so who is to say "you" as sister put it, could not be sitting at home waiting for the mailman? So when you say you are white, that doesn't mean you are not on welfare. It's like you are saying "I happen to be white", so therefore don't put me in the category of the welfare recipients.

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Clif 2 years, 5 months ago

"They" are the Democrat Slave Masters. "They" are the Bishop/Obama field bosses who keep the free stuff flowing to the slaves who vote for a living.

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Happy 2 years, 5 months ago

Wow, I don't know how to even respond to this. That is a pretty racist opinion. It is sad that folks cast these types of labels for people who have a difference of opinion.

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Happy 2 years, 5 months ago

Sister, I am waiting for your response...I happen to be white if that is what you are referring to. There are many times that I disagree with whites and there are many times I disagree with blacks. I just happen to form my opinions based on the content of the situation, not the color of the person. I happen to be a registered Republican, and believe that Ronald Reagan was the best President of my lifetime and Clinton would come in 2nd. I do not vote or cast opinions based on color, rather on principle. I believe that people like myself who were not born and raised here that come from more refined cultures are able to see past the color war that is present in South Georgia.

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BettyBowTie 2 years, 5 months ago

A Republican that likes Clinton? LOL

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Happy 2 years, 5 months ago

I did not vote for Clinton, but history shows us that he was more of a fiscal conservative than most and that is why I liked him.

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BettyBowTie 2 years, 5 months ago

"More refined cultures" ???? No you didn't!!! LOL LOL LOL

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Clif 2 years, 5 months ago

If he is so "refined" why did he leave that culture? He is probaby not welcome back there.

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jglass 2 years, 5 months ago

WHY was this reporter giving a racial report? PEOPLE, get past the skin color. This is just ridiculous. I personally am glad is was voted down. What they are wanting for this career academy should already be in place in ALL of the high schools.

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Shinedownfan 2 years, 5 months ago

I am glad it was voted down too... It would be sad to see no more Albany High School.

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ghostofkarelia 2 years, 5 months ago

Every problem in this city has to do with race. If you can't deal with it, grow up or move.

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LuLu 2 years, 5 months ago

Tell me, what country in Africa did they emigrate from?

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Happy 2 years, 5 months ago

More bias from the Albany Herald...."vote was racially split"

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ghostofkarelia 2 years, 5 months ago

Well, it was....If that's how the board continues to vote, there's no use in not pointing it out.

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Sister_Ruby 2 years, 5 months ago

The Black pastors speaketh and the Black board members doeth! Bought and paid for.

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skipper 2 years, 5 months ago

Dougherty High is already consider a Charter School, so why do we need another one. Why not work on current problems instead of going around them. Whose to say the students who drop out of school will change their mind because of a new school. Each high school already have career ready programs within each one of them. Plus the school system bus kids from school to school so they can attend the school that offers the career progam they are interested in. It makes me wonder what back door agenda is really behind the Career Academy.

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Momof3 2 years, 5 months ago

They actually spoke about the charter at Dougherty and come to find out, it is NOT a charter school anymore since it failed to meet all the criteria and it was also noted that the type of Charter school Dougherty was is not the same as what they were proposing at the Albany High location.Not sure what the difference is though.

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chinaberry25 2 years, 5 months ago

If Albany HIgh were to become a Career Academy, then BIG dollars would have to be spent to upgrade it. You would also have to re-locate the magnet school and that would be hard since all of the other high schools have students hanging from the rafters. We have a technical school that could educate them, use it. Turner Job Corps too. If Turner is not doing a good job, get rid of it. Waste of more money. As far as the Jim Crow days, this is stretching it.

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Momof3 2 years, 5 months ago

Well I for one was in that room when all this was going on. My daughter attends AHS and is in the Honors/Magnet Program and I am glad and happy they voted it down although I know it will come back up again. I am not opposed to them wanting to better the education in Albany, Lord knows we need it, but closing a high school when the others are so crowded and wanting to put more kids in them, having other empty buildings just sitting and not in use, not explaining entirely where that money to fund this is coming from, well I am opposed to that. I am however, QUITE surprised at how the voting went considering what I heard in that room this morning.

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Happy 2 years, 5 months ago

I thought Mashke was against it. What changed his mind?

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BettyBowTie 2 years, 5 months ago

Goodness knows we need to do something to improve graduation rates, stop the drop outs. I have no idea if this was the path we needed to follow or not. The logistics of busing so many kids around all day to and from the school was worrisome and potentially expensive. I also hated to see the name Albany High School changed. I guess it is back to the drawing board. Something here has to give. The kids are NOT getting the education that we are all paying for, and sadly if they do, there are no jobs here for them.

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Citizen_A 2 years, 5 months ago

This article was clearly meant to stir up the masses. No educated (if that is possible) discussion will ever come from the reporting in the above article. Seems to me someone wants to keep the focus far and away from the real issues regarding the charter school.

I agree with Momof3...until they can answer the questions put before them, a charter school is a waste of time. And I could care less how the racial divide is in voting as long as it is "No".

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jglass 2 years, 5 months ago

Sister, TOO FUNNY!!! However, TRUE!!!

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coachjohnson42 2 years, 5 months ago

I agree....Why did the Albany Herald reporter feel it necessary to report the race of everybody on the board?

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BettyBowTie 2 years, 5 months ago

If he had not, he would be blamed. It is a case of damned if you do, damned if you don't. I do not think in reality this vote was all about race, more a case of the majority of kids now at AHS are black and they do not want their Alma Mater to cease to exist, along with many former white students that I know from the 70's. This was more a case of keeping "our" school intact. That is my opinion at least.

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jaybird 2 years, 5 months ago

I don't see how the herald reporter can be called racially biased. Facts: 4 are black and three are white, Blacks voted no and whites voted for. I had three children graduate from Albany high in the 70's, They were well prepared for college and are proud alumni of AHS. Charter may or may not be a positive move, But heaven help us, We have to come together and turn the public school system around. Our board should ask themselves, Why are the private schools so much better than the public.

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Momof3 2 years, 5 months ago

I think he could have just said that zxy voted this way, and abc voted this way. We all know what race they are without it being said to us. BUT I do agree with you, the publicschool system needs revamping in a major way. I pray that all the business people who came up with the Charter, the school board and all the members of the community that attended the meeting will work together to figure out what needs to be done.

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erudite 2 years, 5 months ago

It could have been reported that 50% of the men voted for and 50% against.

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Happy 2 years, 5 months ago

Answer to your question: Private and charter schools get to deny admittance to their school based on academic achievement. Public schools do not get to deny admittance.

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Support 2 years, 5 months ago

They are not. Read the statistics. When parents are paying for an education staff are more lightly to give students better grades to keep enrollment up.

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VSU 2 years, 5 months ago

I admit I am bewildered in the way the report was presented. True that facts are the facts, but still they could just simply name the ones that voted for and against like they normally do. I am sure everybody knows the race of the board members. If not, they can find out.

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dingleberry 2 years, 5 months ago

Who were the proponents for this effort and where did the idea come from in the first place?

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Aubie 2 years, 5 months ago

My child just graduated infrom the AHS Honors/Magnet Program third in the class. When speaking with admission staff at Auburn not only had they heard of the poor reputition of the Dougherty School System they tried not to hurt their feelings in letting us know he was not prepared to attend a major university. The last thing you want on your college application is that you graduated from DCSS.

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MRKIA 2 years, 5 months ago

SO AUBIE ARE YOU SAYING THAT YOUR CHILD, AN HONORS STUDENT, IS STILL ILL PREPARED FOR COLLEGE? WELL HE OR SHE MIGHT BE OVER-QUALIFIED FOR ASU. MY CONDOLENCES.

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chinaberry25 2 years, 5 months ago

Were his SAT scores high enough. Schools out of state demand higher scores than in state students. He can go to a lot of in state schools on the HOPE grant.

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Cartman 2 years, 5 months ago

I think one should reflect upon whether criticism should be directed at the school board for obvious racial strife - or the messenger for reporting it. Reporting it as benignly as possible, I might add.

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BettyBowTie 2 years, 5 months ago

I will not shoot the messenger. Terry does a good job.

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LuLu 2 years, 5 months ago

If the reporter hadn't pointed out the obvious, then it would have been brought up in the comments, anyway. He just beat someone else to the punch.

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Cartman 2 years, 5 months ago

Riggins said after the meeting, explaining her 'no' vote. "We have a fiscal responsibility on this Board to spend the taxpayers' money wisely."

LOL! This is hilarious! Oh please stop. My side is hurting. I can't breathe. Bwwwaaahaaaa.

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MRKIA 2 years, 5 months ago

RIGGINS CAN'T EVEN SPELL FISCAL. OR RESPONSIBILITY

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Outtahere 2 years, 5 months ago

Cartman -I know right!!! Does she not realize we know she is a liar and thief? "Spend the taxpayers money wisely" - maybe she said it on purpose, you know like taunting us! " I can steal government funds and no one can do anything about it!"

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Support 2 years, 5 months ago

I think a college and career academy is a good idea. But before the Chamber spearhead this they should have tried to build a relationship with the school system. The chamber has a ZERO relationship with the school system. They didn't publicly support the ESPLOST which benefits DCSS schools and the Albany Area businesses. This brings in $100M to the ALBANY AREA. HOWEVER, the CHamber is publicly campaigning for the TSPLOST. How ironic. I think before moving forward the committee should have made sure the public understood every aspect of this charter and not try to rush it to a vote. It was not on the agenda yet certain groups came to the meeting knowing it would be place on there. The Chamber is not about building bridges. I think the adult public outcry was more a vote against the Chamber and not a college and career academy.

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Happy 2 years, 5 months ago

The chamber is ran by the same folks that run leadership Albany (formerly the Dr. Whatley) support team. If you looked at the crowd at the board meeting that is who you saw.

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Terry.Lewis 2 years, 5 months ago

I agree. One thing I have learned over the past two weeks is there is a huge chasm between the black community, the Chamber and the EDC. What we saw today at the school board was not about Albany High, and it was not about a charter school. It was about who would have controlled that school.

This was about a segment of the community worried about the Chamber breaking off a school and away from the BOE. They do not trust the Chamber or the EDC.

Just my two uninformed cents.

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Happy 2 years, 5 months ago

Very insightful Terry! I thought Mashke was going to be the swing vote. Who would have thought it would have been Riggins? I also think that had the chamber and the EDC approached their campaign efforts differently, it might have went through.

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Terry.Lewis 2 years, 5 months ago

I don't think so, that would require communication. This chasm apparently runs deep and wide and is problematic. This is a trust issue basically illustrated by Daniel Simmon's comments over the past week and confirmed by more than one black member of the community. This is real and it ain't going away any time soon..

It is a serious problem in regard to Dougherty County's overall future.

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Momof3 2 years, 5 months ago

Well for ME, and I was there too... I could care less about the Chamber and the school board fighting and arguing like kids. and for THEM, maybe that is what it was about, but for the kids, it was about closing their school, because honestly, they don't understnd how the money and politics work (that will come with more time and age and well, crap like this), and I only WISH people would actually startt caring about these kids and their well being. I am still very proud of them for coming together and speaking on what they actually believed in even if it didn't make sense to anyone else. I also think that parent involvement, like i have said so many times before, is key and vital in our schools and we don;t have nearly enough and I am afraid we never will.

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WeAreThey 2 years, 5 months ago

Any surprise there? The Chamber and the EDC are in the business of promoting business and thereby, jobs creation. Their priorities are not entitlements or social programs. If a 'segment of the community' feels threatened by the Chamber or the EDC, you have to wonder why. Is it the 'jobs' part, or the 'mostly white' part?

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Happy 2 years, 5 months ago

It is the elitist mentality part.

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BettyBowTie 2 years, 5 months ago

Throwing more money at the school system does nothing. My Father attended a 2 room country school. They had to close down weeks at a time because they had no money. Yet he worked hard, teachers were effective and my Father had a better education after 11 years of school (no kindergarten and school was only 11 years then) than most coming out of colleges now. Money is NOT the answer. Hard work, parent involvement and making kids show up and be respectful in school is the answer. Do not BAIL them out of jail when they act like idiots.

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Terry.Lewis 2 years, 5 months ago

Betty, my eyes have been really opened over the last couple of weeks.

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MRKIA 2 years, 5 months ago

CARTMAN MUST HAVE HEARD WRONG, RIGGINS NEVER SAID ANY OF THOSE THINGS. I CHECKED WITH SATAN AND HE ASSURED ME THAT HELL HAD NOT FROZEN OVER.

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LuLu 2 years, 5 months ago

Terry, thank you for removing that very insulting and very divisive "AA" term from the report.

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bigbob 2 years, 5 months ago

The black leaders are destroying this city just to prove they can. Get out of Albany while you can & you may be able to get a little money for your house still. Wait much longer & you won't be able to give your property away. The worst part is after you move out you will still be supporting most of these loosers.

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Clif 2 years, 5 months ago

bigbob, you are right. I left Albany in 2005. I have a house there, mortgage free, value going down every year and property taxes going up every year. I am still helping support these loosers. If I had a brother in Albany and another in prison, I would try to get the one out of Albany first.

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wowtryagain 2 years, 5 months ago

It boils down to whether or not the child wants to go further in life. ..As far as a child not getting into college because of being a graduate from the Doughtery County School System, well that's another story within itself. What about the young man, who just graduated from ALBANY HIGH SCHOOL and is attending a private university....all I am saying is don't sugar coat the situation by pointing fingers and passing the blame stating the Doughtery County School System has a bad rep...

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DCSSTeacher 2 years, 5 months ago

Do not wonder and question why these board members voted the way they did. This is election season and they want to be re-elected by their constituencies! It's politics pure and simple. Think about their reasoning:

  1. Riggins changed her vote because she knew the black community was wishy-washy on her re-election bid despite no opposition. She is on thin ice because of the vaunted "fiscal responsibility" she claims to be upholding. Taking a stand on the directorship issue and voting down the Charter School was a bone she tossed to the dogs that were nipping at her heels. Now Rev. Simmons can endorse her to his congregation because she fell in line with his demands. Quid pro quo!
  2. Mashke is a lame duck trying to protect his "legacy" by throwing himself on his sword in all of these wild votes he's been casting recently. His votes are all over the map because he wants to appear magnanimous, conciliatory, and "above the fray" as he rides into the sunset...lest we remember he has been on the front lines of the racial war in the BOE during this decade.
  3. Tharin and Ealum are trying to stem the tides in their Quixotic quest to change the system. The problem is they have no diplomatic or political skills to get things done. The louder they whine and holler, the more they look ineffective and bitter.
  4. Junebug and Bush were never going to vote to dissolve the "sacred cow" that is Albany HS. They are racist, mindless flunkies who do the bidding of their masters.
  5. Williams-Brown is also desperately trying to hold on to her seat in the upcoming election.
  6. Murfree changed his tune to the black community because he needs their endorsements and blessings when he eventually tries to seek a university presidency somewhere else. What he doesn't realize is that many people would gladly give him a recommendation to take his bag of tricks elsewhere!
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Happy 2 years, 5 months ago

In the end it came down to power and control. Creating this charter school would give power to a group of people that would not be accountable to the citizens. Charter schools do not have to follow the same rules and regulations that public schools have to follow. School board members are elected through a democratic process. This is a checks and balances system. The school board members are elected and through this process they listen to their constituents. If you disagree with decisions, you have the power as a citizen to vote. God bless the USA!

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erudite 2 years, 5 months ago

The CR movement was about rights not civility. As much as this is counter tio everything I wish for, Albany just might succeed for everyone if it just admits it wants lives to be reminiscent of the ages prior to the 1960's.

Make a white town ruled by whites; make a black town ruled by blacks. And never the twain shall meet. After years of reading these squawks, this is the unsaid but clearly desired outcome. Whites do not want to be 'ruled' by blacks and blacks don't want to be 'ruled' by whites. When everything is reported using racial characteristics, the message of separatism is loud and clear.

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Terry.Lewis 2 years, 5 months ago

Actually, the racial reference in this story is a factor in failure of the charter school effort. We go out of our way to avoid fricton, but when it is a driving force behind the story we have to grit our teeth and go with it.

PS: pay no attention to the 800 lb. elephant in the corner of the room.

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erudite 2 years, 5 months ago

The name of that elephant is bigotry. And s/he says over and over, "I'm not racist." Of course race was a factor...the fear is that white kids will go to college and black kids will go to vocational by someone else's volition, not theirs. (Tradespeople make way more money than I do--I should have gone voke!!!!)

The inclusion or omission of racial statements are, in a sense, a backhanded way to support exclusionary practices.

However, I am not sure that even a monstrous Roto-rooter machine can suck out all of the crap here; it may be time to pave over everything and start anew.

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MRKIA 2 years, 5 months ago

BLACK FOLK IN ALBANY WILL NEVER EVER RULE THIS TOWN OR THE COUNTY SIMPLY BECAUSE THEY WILL NEVER HAVE THE POWER IT TAKES. IF EVERYWHITE PERSON SIMPLY MOVED AWAY THEY STILL COULD NOT TAKE CONTROL. WHY??? WHO OWNS PHOEBE, MILLER AND P&G.? ALL IT WOULD TAKE IS FOR ONE OF THEM TO PULL OUT AND THE CITY OF ALBANY IS FINISHED. BLACK FOLKS HAVE TRIED TO RUN THIS PLACE, BUT TRULY BE THE POWER? NEVER HAPPEN

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erudite 2 years, 5 months ago

Been saying this for years!! People say, "the police chief, the judges, the DA, the mayor....NONE of these positions have real power. Corporations have the power; not even the president has power and here we are fussing over it.l

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