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Making school board posts nonpartisan this session may not be dead issue after all

It is not completely clear if the county’s legislative delegation will support legislation which would make Grady County Board of Education elections nonpartisan.
A legal notice that is required to be published notifying the public of the intent of a legislator to introduce local legislation was pulled late last Tuesday on instructions of Representative Darlene Taylor’s office.
The legal notice had been scheduled to be published in Jan. 20 edition of The Cairo Messenger and it has not been rescheduled.
Previously, Representative Taylor had said she would not introduce local legislation that was not unanimously approved by the local governing authority.
On two separate occasions Grady County Board of Education member Jeff Worsham has opposed making board seats nonpartisan.
The issue may have been delayed, but may not be dead.
Last week, Representative Taylor issued the following statement: “We want what is best for the community, keeping in mind that the education of Grady County’s children, not individual agendas, is what’s most important. Senator Burke and I will work with the Grady County Board of Education to help them fulfill their mission.”
Senator Dean Burke told The Messenger last week he has not been contacted by the Grady County Board of Education regarding the local legislation. He noted that typically he would not be notified until the measure had been approved in the House of Representatives.
“I have supported similar local legislation from my other counties in the past, but have always had an unanimous request from the local elected leaders involved,” Senator Burke said.
In a written statement to The Messenger following the Jan. 12 school board meeting, Worsham stated, “I agree with Chairman Harris and Vice Chair Register 100 percent that we should all support all of the students in our system and the citizens of Grady County, I believe that this board does. I do not think that declaring that you are Libertarian, Independent, Democrat or Republican diminishes in any way that we all support all of our students and citizens. I do believe that the tax payers have a right to know if you lean conservative or liberal, they should know if you favor cutting cost before raising taxes or vice versa and that has nothing to do with doing what is best for all students in our system. Know without doubt that what is most important to me is always doing the best for all of our students and citizens of Grady County. I truly believe this board is united in doing what is best for our students, even if we have different ideas as to how we accomplish that, we all have the same objective. The board voted 4 – 1 in favor of approving the resolution and I respect my fellow board members decision.”
Newly elected board chairman Laura Register said at the Feb. board meeting, “I think this is an important step to get politics out of our classrooms.”
Board member Teresa Gee Harris also spoke out that night in favor of the proposed legislation. “We represent all children. We don’t represent along party lines. We make decisions on what is best for all children,” Harris commented.

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