This past summer in the Democratic Primary, we endorsed Dr. Lane Price in her candidacy for the Dougherty County School Board. We do so again in the Tuesday General Election.
This race for the at-large seat on the Board of Education has been an odd one. After Price unseated incumbent Anita Williams Brown in the July 31 primary, the Rev. Lorenzo Heard attempted to mount a last-minute independent campaign that was rejected by the Dougherty Board of Elections, and then opted to continue his candidacy through a write-in effort. His court challenge to the Elections Board decision was dropped.
In endorsing Price for the seat, we feel she is the students' best hope of turning around a school system that has had failing leadership for a number of years now, and has grown more dysfunctional as time passes.
We believe she has the best interests of the students at heart. She did not get into this campaign late or reluctantly, as Heard says he did. She saw a problem -- and the incumbent's poor performance during her lone term was a problem -- and took it upon herself to try to make a difference. Interestingly, Heard says he did not think Williams-Brown was the right person for the job, but could not -- or would not -- say whether he would have mounted an independent campaign against her had she defeated Price in July. Nor would he say whether, if Price wins Tuesday, he would run in his District 4 against Milton "June Bug" Griffin, another poorly performing School Board member, when that seat is up again for election.
Heard stated in his interview with the Editorial Board that change is needed. Not feeling called to oppose two School Board members who each have a clear record of underperformance brings into question, however, whether Heard jumped into the race simply because the wrong person won the primary.
Dougherty County students don't need a representative who has to be dragged into the contest. They need a School Board member who wants to work for them, who wants to improve graduation rates, decrease truancy and improve the system. They need someone who will look at where money is being spent and demand that it be used to the students' best advantage.
"I know our situation is complicated and our problems are significant," Price said in an interview during the campaign. "I want to bring a fresh perspective, an innovative approach and wisdom born of a lifetime of experience to the Dougherty County School Board."
As we said in July, voters on Tuesday have two distinct choices. They can vote to continue down this same highway, or they can alter the course toward a better one for tomorrow's leaders. We urge voters to choose a better future by electing Lane Price to the at-large seat on the School Board.