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New board officials have work cut out

Typically, first-time political victors -- and, let's be honest, few "common folks" will admit to actually being "politicians," but gaining elected office is indeed a political process -- expect something of a "honeymoon" period as they adjust to the requirements of office.

Given the combative twists and turns of her campaign to claim the at-large seat on the Dougherty County School System's School Board, Lane Price would seem to have earned such a grace period. But the reality is that neither Price, nor District 1 School Board member-elect Robert Youngblood, has the luxury of easing into their posts.

With new school system-related issues being reported virtually every day, the time to start working on the mess that is impacting more than 16,000 students in the county is immediately. It's time for Price and Youngblood to start familiarizing themselves with the issues that have the DCSS scrambling to hold onto funding necessary to finance the education guaranteed those students.

And it's time for them to start working with returning board members James Bush, Darrel Ealum, Velvet Riggins, Milton Griffin and Carol Tharin to develop a strategy that will allow them to tackle those issues and find resolutions that satisfy federal and state requirements and have the most positive impact on the school system.

Perhaps the two new board members, particularly Youngblood, who ran unopposed to represent District 1, would be well-advised to talk with outgoing board member David Maschke as well. Maschke has been, after all, the one School Board member lauded countywide by all segments of the community as a person who could be counted on to forego any personal agenda in his efforts to represent the students and teachers in the county's 26 public schools.

While not unexpected, it's still disappointing to hear the acrimonious comments of outgoing board member Anita Williams-Brown, who was handily defeated by Price in the Democratic primary, setting up an overwhelming Price victory over write-in candidate the Rev. Lorenzo Heard in the General Election. It seems Williams-Brown has made a point of placing blame for her loss on anyone but herself.

In a pre-primary meeting with the Herald's Editorial Board, Williams-Brown accused the board of "being out to get her," apparently forgetting that this board had in fact endorsed her in her 2008 campaign against Tommy Langstaff. Williams-Brown insisted that race was the Editorial Board's motivation in what she called a campaign to discredit her, apparently forgetting again that the board did not consider race when endorsing her rather than Langstaff.

If Price and Youngblood truly want to help turn around what's become a mostly dysfunctional School Board, their efforts will show as much. If they don't, Williams-Brown and the rest of the community can rest assured that the new members' actions will be reported by The Herald just as vigorously as this newspaper has reported on the current goings-on that, truth be told, are the reason Williams-Brown was removed from the board by voters who'd grown tired of her, and other board members', ineffective efforts on behalf of the people who elected her.