HomeNewsRepublican candidates jockey for position on school board

Republican candidates jockey for position on school board

Jackson-Madison County School Board primary races officially kicked off on Wednesday with early voting starting.
There are three contested primaries in District 5-Seat 1, District 3, and District 2 with a combined seven Republican candidates running in those races.
In District 5-Seat 1 and District 3, the primary race is the election because there are no Democrats or independent candidates signed up for those seats.
Those are also the two primary races where the incumbent is challenged as Shane Barnes is challenging Sherry Franks in District 5 in the northern part of the county and Brian Ford and Kipp Hornburger are challenging Debbie Gaugh in District 3 in the southern part.
Franks and Gaugh have been on opposing sides of a few issues on the school board over the past four years, but particularly in the last year when it comes to the district’s reaction to charter schools.
After the state’s Charter Commission approved American Classical Education’s charter application for East Jackson last October, Franks was very much on board with the lawsuit against the commission while Gaugh wasn’t.
In separate interviews with all seven candidates, there are a lot of similarities among the group members.
Everyone is for safer schools and higher quality education.
There are differences pertaining to how to achieve that higher education and how to allocate funds toward that end.
In District 2, which is in the northeastern part of the county stretching from where I-40 enters Madison County at the Henderson County line all the way to Three Way, Melissa Watson and Glen Gaugh are vying for the chance to challenge independent Ken Newman in the general election in August.
Both Watson and Gaugh are products of JMCSS and have children in JMCSS as well.
Both have also stated they support school choice for parents.
In speaking to the Republican caucus of the Madison County Commission on Monday, Gaugh said he decided to run for a spot on the board when he became frustrated with how Superintendent Marlon King was handling certain parts of the COVID-19 pandemic and was publicly speaking against charter schools.
Watson said she felt the need to run because she feels she can help the school system become better than what it is and certainly better than what it’s perceived to be.
In District 3, Brian Ford is mostly satisfied with what King is doing from the Superintendent’s chair and plans to support his continued efforts in supporting teachers and diversifying the district’s educational offerings.
Kipp Hornburger is running because he said he’s watched for 30 years as the school district has steadily declined, and his son who’s in school asked him to run because he liked his dad’s ideas to make things better.
Gaugh said she feels like between a year that each new board member needs to learn and dealing with the pandemic, she’s had two years to actually serve on the school board. She’d like to have four more years to see things she’s helped implement through – particularly in literacy and discipline.
In District 5, Seat 1, Shane Barnes is a Madison County Sheriff Deputy who wants to do his part to make sure JMCSS schools are adequately safe while also watching the district’s spending.
Franks originally became involved in school board issues to ensure her children’s educational careers were taken care of as far as ensuring quality policies were in place for each of them, including a child she has who has special needs. While she feels there’s been plenty of improvement in those areas, she says there can always be more.
Other candidates on the ballot this primary election even though they’re not challenged include Dwight Jones and incumbent Marcia Moss for District 5, Seat 2, Brandilynn Taylor and Andrea Michelle Givens Moore in District 6.
Brandon Shields, brandon@jacksonpost.news

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