Newton school board candidates discuss focus, perception

COVINGTON -- Democrat candidates for the Newton County Board of Education's District 4 seat recently faced off at a forum, discussing the future of Newton County's children.

Both natives of Newton County, incumbent Almond Turner and his opponent Franklin Perry participated in a forum hosted by the Chamber of Commerce and The Covington News and held at The Center last week.

The two said their interest in children make them qualified to be on the school board.

"I know my calling is working with children," said Perry, who has been a teacher, school administrator and superintendent in counties around Georgia.

Turner, who has been on the board for 16 years, said he's been actively involved in implementing programs and involving citizens to improve schools.

"We need to have quality education to be successful," said Turner, who also is assistant police chief for the Covington Police Department. "My record speaks for itself."

Turner said he is very supportive of having choices for all children, such as with schools like the Newton College & Career Academy and the Newton County Theme School, which touts parent involvement.

"We need to give students choices so they can be successful," Turner said.

Perry added that a greater focus needs to start at the lower grade levels, so students will be on track from the beginning.

"We need to make sure students are on board and kept up," he said.

Perry said more parents need to get involved and teachers need greater support to help increase test scores and graduation rates.

Turner said teachers need more support through technology and equipment and after school programs, which are already in place.

Both said they have experience with developing budgets and policies.

Turner said he believes that he's been fair to students, teachers and administrators when making budget decisions and also responsive to the needs of the community.

Perry said when he worked as a superintendent, he helped take system out of a deficit within a year.

He said he wouldn't give the current board an 'A' because of "some situations going on that should be addressed," he said, without giving specifics.

"We need to be examples. We have to model what we expect for our children," he said. "As a board, we set the tone for the whole district. ... Perception is everything. We don't have good perception. The board has to take responsibility."

Turner admitted that "some issues" have created a perception problem, which is "very frustrating." He said "four, five or six people" have blogged in local newspapers, which is "creating havoc in the community."

"A lot of it is not true," he said, adding that the board has addressed many issues that people are talking about.

He said the board has a responsibility to make sure every child has quality education.

Perry encouraged citizens to vote for him if they aren't satisfied with the current board, as he is not.

"I refuse to sit back with the skills God gave me and not offer my services," he said.


amp72 3 years, 4 months ago

Yeah, 4 , 5 or 6 people have created chaos and they are the ONLY ones who see problems in the school system. Seriously?


John 3 years, 4 months ago

If "A lot of it is not true" then this also applies "A lot of it is true" and "perception is reality".


Watermelonlover 3 years, 4 months ago

YALL remember this is the one who spent (Turner) 2000.00 plus of your dollars on planes to DC and what did we get for that?  And then how much did he spend of your money last month in Savannah?  Fun frills and bills is all we get from this one it is a Perry election year IMO.


MamaTurd 3 years, 4 months ago

I want to know if Turner has all of his receipts from the Washington DC trip.  Do you?


Iknowddatsright 3 years, 4 months ago

My record speaks for itself.  Sho does.  Your 16 years have us scoring BELOW adjacent counties on critical tests, lowest grad rates for Alcovy, only EHS is above state.  Bad bad discipline in our schools and talk out of all sides of the mouth.  Do you really love the theme school?  Is that really what you said before?


Iknowddatsright 3 years, 4 months ago

Turner is to tied up in the Carpenter mess to be objective any more.  Time for change.


AWOL 3 years, 4 months ago

So Turner thinks that the bloggers are the ones creating problems? DOes this mean that he thinks Mrs Carpenter has responded appropriately? WHy did no one ask him that question? It would have been the perfect opportunity. But his response signifies that the school board does not think that AHS is out of hand. Could a reporter please go interview Turner and show him the Alcovy fights on youtube and get his response? Please!


dennistay53 3 years, 4 months ago

If you want admit problems you sure won"t fix them. If there is only 4,5,6 posting then why is your attorney pointing fingers in all directions?


sweetpotato 3 years, 4 months ago

The reason some kids behave bad at school is because they are allowed to behave bad at home. The Sheriffs office can tell you that the majority of their calls are on the west side and so naturally those people are going to be problematic at school, probably only way to resolve it is triple the deputies we have in the schools.


Frustrated 3 years, 4 months ago

If Turner thinks the bloggers are causing the problem then he must not see a problem with the way the Carpenters are doing their jobs and must not see a conflict of interest with having the husband running interference for his wife. This just goes to show why the BOE hasnt gotten involved and stopped this lawsuit and done something about the situation at AHS. Guess he wants to keep getting his free trips. And just Which issues has the BOE addressed? The so called investigation?


Billy 3 years, 4 months ago

School - G-d = cesspool. You arrogant, godless, spiritually ignorant people wanted G-d out of the schools. I hope you got exactly what you wanted...


Romulus 3 years, 4 months ago

Turner is merely reflecting the belief of Dennis Carpenter, which is a distorted and misinformed view of blogging and social media. They think like 20th century dictators which is that any news outlet they can not control and intimidate is a threat. We see the same thing in Syria and Iran today. Commenting on an article is not the same as blogging, although some do seem to use this forum almost like one. If Carpenter or Turner had any real skills in written expression, they would start their own blog. Or they could write a column, like Meadors. They could articulate and tell their side and correct wrong perceptions if they are indeed wrong. Instead of ignoring negative comments or fighting proactively using their own platforms of expression they want to use intimidation and force to silence those who would speak out. Censorship is the domain of despots and it simply fans the flames of discontent by exposing the ruthlessness of the oppressor. It has no place in 21st century society and media. Attempts to convince Carpenter that such media has a place in education and can improve teaching and learning failed. The world moved on while he stayed stubbornly entrenched: a posture which the entire school system is paying for. We need people who can embrace openness and transparency. Instead of trying to hide and cover up, the problems need to be addressed. Bloggers and news media do not cause the problems they report.


gsm7476 3 years, 4 months ago

It look like Perry was about solving problems. Turner wanted to blame the children compared some to a wadded up 10 dollar bill. that these were kids we had to deal with. Very offensive in my opinion. It takes every one to pulling this together child, parent’s teachers and the community. But when all the BOE wants to do is make excuses and blame parents and parents and cut teachers pay and than take a trip on the teachers and the tax payers and took almost 2000 dollar of resources that could have been used in the class room I know that’s not much in the grad scheme of things but it is a start.


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