The four candidates running for Houston County Board of Education’s Post 5 seat shared their thoughts on whether a four-day school week should be considered in Houston County, among other issues, at a public forum July 13.
Incumbent Helen Hughes, 54, of Kathleen, faces off against three others running for Post 5: Marsha McGowan Hall, 51, of Bonaire; Randall P. Hinson, 56, of Bonaire; and Darin Rase, 39, of Bonaire.
The winner of Tuesday’s special election for the seat will serve for the remaining two years of the original term held by the late Pamela Greenway, who died in 2009.
Hinson and Rase said the option should not be ruled out while the system is facing budget shortfalls.
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“If we continue in a downward spiral, we need to look seriously at that,” said Hinson. “If it saves enough money, if teachers are not furloughed or laid off, the school system needs to look at every possible option.”
Rase agreed: “We should not close the door on any idea like that ... (the school system) is a big business, a $200 million business. It needs to be healthy to do its job — educate children.”
Hughes and Hall, however, showed more hesitation to consider it.
“We’ll look at all options,” Hughes said. “Personally, it’s not the option in the best interest of the students in Houston County. As a teacher, you have to keep the students in the classroom. We need to look at the issue.”
“The four-day option is the last option to look at,” Hall said. “We need to look at all options for students and staff.”
Peach, Houston boards to vote on millage rate approvals
The Houston and Peach boards of education will host meetings to give final approval of their millage rates in the coming weeks.
The Peach County Board of Education will approve its millage rate in a called meeting Thursday at its office in Fort Valley at 10 a.m. They are expected to approve a rate of 17 mills, the current rate.
Houston County will vote on the millage rate at a called meeting 1 p.m. July 27 at the board of education office in Perry. The rate has been tentatively approved at 13.34 mills at a meeting the board held this month, with no change in last year’s rate.
Local student wins essay competition
Dylan Quick, a rising fourth-grader at Burdell-Hunt Magnet School in Macon won a $500 savings bond in an Olive Garden nationwide essay writing competition. Quick was selected as the third-grade overall winner. Olive Garden’s Pasta Tales contest asked students in first through 12th grades to “describe a teacher who has inspired you in school and tell how he or she has impacted your life.”
Each grade level had a winner. There were 11,000 entries. Quick wrote his essay about Percy Charlton, his coach and teacher at Burdell-Hunt. Quick wrote, “Coach Charlton always tells his classes that the best thing we can ever do for ourselves is to stay in school and to make good grades. I am encouraged by him to always do my best at whatever I set out to do. He also tells us to get a good education first and that athletics is second. I am thankful to him for his constant encouragement and for being my inspirational teacher.” According to judges, Quick’s essay “is striking in its excellent organization and presentation of ideas. It is significant that he relates values espoused by the teacher as well as the encouragement offered.”
Pasta Tales entries were judged on creativity, adherence to theme, organization, grammar, punctuation and spelling by Olive Garden and the Quill and Scroll Society of the College of Journalism and Communications at the University of Iowa.
Mount de Sales awarded $100,000 donation
Mount de Sales Academy was awarded a $100,000 corporate donation from the Georgia G.R.A.C.E. Scholars program, according to a school news release.
The donation was made by State Bank & Trust Company in Macon, to provide low-income students tuition scholarships to Mount de Sales.
The Georgia Residents Assisting Children’s Education program was started in 2008 by the Archdiocese of Atlanta and the Diocese of Savannah dedicated to providing tuition assistance to children entering the Catholic education system in Georgia.
Lottery’s scholarship donations continue to grow
The Georgia Lottery Corporation ended its 2010 fiscal year as the only conventional state lottery with 12 straight years of growth, according to a state release.
Lottery profits from the past year for HOPE Scholarships to college and pre-K slots total $883.8 million, more than $11.7 million from fiscal year 2009. “In light of challenges presented by the current economic climate, it is satisfying to see such positive results,” said Margaret DeFrancisco, Georgia Lottery president and CEO.
Georgia Lottery sales for fiscal year 2010, which spanned from July 1, 2009, to June 30, 2010, were $3,645,396,970.
Compiled by staff writers Julie Hubbard and Andrea Castillo.