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5 posts will be on Richmond County ballot

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Dana Bedden isn't the only one whose leadership role in Richmond County schools is up in the air this year.

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Alex Howard  Andrew Davis Tucker/Staff
Andrew Davis Tucker/Staff
Alex Howard

Half of Richmond County's 10-member school board will be on a ballot in November, setting the stage for what some say will be a pivotal year for the board.

"We're at a point, at a crossroad to me with the board," said board member Venus Cain, who is among those up for re-election. She noted that, along with a potential superintendent search and election year, the board will soon start the budgeting for next school year.

"Our focus is going to have to be on several items at one time."

Bedden was recently named the finalist for an open superintendent job in Irving, Texas. Officials say it should be known by mid-March whether Bedden will accept a contract there. His three-year contract in Augusta runs through July 31.

Some school board members say they'd still like to persuade Bedden to stay here but that they'll soon have to start the search for a new leader as a backup plan. The board is to again address the superintendent issue in a meeting sometime this week.

Board Vice President Alex Howard, who also will run for re-election in November, said he'll focus first on the superintendent situation, which he said is "more important than running an election."

He said that if Bedden decides to leave Augusta a new superintendent could be put in place before the election.

Should that not happen as quickly, he said, the superintendent situation would then likely become a key election issue along with how to deal with faltering state funding for the school system.

School board officials are eyeing a projected shortfall of $12 million to $15 million in next year's budget.

Board members Frank Dolan, Jack Padgett and Eloise Curtis also are up for re-election Nov. 2. Qualifying for all five nonpartisan school board races will be June 28-July 2.

Dolan said if Bedden stays in Augusta he won't run again because he'll feel confident in the school system's management. If Bedden leaves, though, Dolan said he would run for a second term to make sure things continue operating smoothly. He said he believes the school board would try to have a new superintendent by September.

Cain said if Bedden leaves it's probably wishful thinking to believe the district could have a replacement named before the November election, meaning it likely would become a campaign issue.

Dolan said one of his biggest campaign issues this year would be pushing for tax incentives for large industries to locate here, thereby growing the area's economy and ultimately boosting funds for schools.

"Changing things right now, just my personal opinion, I think would be a major upset for the district as a whole," she said. "It really could send us back light years."

A phone message left for Curtis wasn't immediately returned, and Padgett was in the hospital this week recouping from scheduled surgery.

Comments (11) Add comment
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atsugua13
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atsugua13 03/01/10 - 05:00 am
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well well well these high and

well well well these high and might power brokers, (board) really want Dr. Bedden to leave that way they will have even more egotistical power over the taxpayers of Augusta...Its all about the politics...not at all about whats best for Augusta and its School system.

Brad Owens
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Brad Owens 03/01/10 - 06:02 am
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Change brings Hope

Change brings Hope

Martinez
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Martinez 03/01/10 - 07:10 am
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If Dr. Bedden is selected in

If Dr. Bedden is selected in Texas and decides to leave, wish him luck and move forward here in Augusta. There is a lot of work to be done, and likely with less, next year. When voting for candidates in November, focus on who has true business and leadership experience, not who you know, went to school with, attend church with or look the most like. The school system is a huge business and their product is the education of our community's children. These children are our future leaders, doctors, lawyers, nursing home attendants etc. Would you hire a baby sitter without knowing anything about the person? Would you hand your personal check book over to an untrained accountant? Get to know the candidates and their abilities before making a decision. All of our futures depend on it.

cleanup
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cleanup 03/01/10 - 07:23 am
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Good post, Martinez.

Good post, Martinez. Hopefully, Bedden will be gone, we'll actually have some intelligent people who run for the school board, and we'll turn out these jokers who are on the board now (like Dolan, who actually thinks things are going well under Bedden). We need people who realize that the super is not their boss. We need grownups who don't curse and threaten each other, too. People who speak proper English would be a plus, also.

disssman
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disssman 03/01/10 - 08:17 am
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He will make a decision in

He will make a decision in mar as to whether he can stay. Then he will start figuring what to do with the system for his mid april budget cuts. Now we know what the focus of the super is and why he hasn't done any planning for the impending funding shortfall.

Little Lamb
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Little Lamb 03/01/10 - 08:18 am
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Let's think about this for a

Let's think about this for a moment:

Board trustee Frank Dolan said one of his biggest campaign issues this year would be pushing for tax incentives for large industries to locate here, thereby growing the area's economy and ultimately boosting funds for schools.

It is true that the school board is responsible for the bulk of our property taxes, so Dolan is talking about something he and other board trustees have control over. So if the school board votes to provide tax incentives to businesses who move here from somewhere else, wouldn't there be a short-term gap in tax collections? I guess he's looking at the long-term.

disssman
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disssman 03/01/10 - 08:20 am
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As to the election none of

As to the election none of them need to worry. We have historically re-elected our people because they are good old biys or girls. I only hope that one day our concern for kids goes beyond likes and dislikes and settles on qualified or unqualified. Maybe then we would really elect leaders and not followers.

joebowles
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joebowles 03/01/10 - 09:09 am
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Brad you say "Change brings

Brad you say "Change brings Hope", I say "It's making me broke". LOL

willienelson
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willienelson 03/01/10 - 11:35 am
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What percentage of registered

What percentage of registered voters even show up for these elections?

Taylor B
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Taylor B 03/01/10 - 03:57 pm
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Its a general election, mid

Its a general election, mid year. You will see probably 30-40 percent, my guess.

lifelongresidient
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lifelongresidient 03/04/10 - 06:17 pm
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now its time for ms. cain and

now its time for ms. cain and the others whose seats are up for re-election to start saying all the right things....the need for industry to help relieve the tax burden on the citizenry, the need for more accountability from students/teachers/parents. the need for fiscal accountability and spend the taxpayers money wisely. so now it's time for the poor homeowners/taxpayers to rise up and send a message and this can be done by voting all of the board members' (whose seats are up for re-election) out of office...PERIOD!!!! you have ms. cain touting how well the schools are doing but not one traditional high school made ayp and without the graduation levels of johnson/davidson the graduation rates of the other high schools are approx 56-62%...on top of that you have the past 2 years of actual brudget deficits of approx 35-50 million and a project 10-12 million dollar deficit for the next school year...with all the money spent there isn't a cooresponding increase or improvement in academic performance....

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