January 31, 2014 10:36:40 AM
Sarah Fowler - firstname.lastname@example.org
Aubra Turner's term on the Columbus Municipal School Board comes to an end in February. So far, only two candidates -- Turner and Columbus Lowndes Recreation Authority Programs Director Greg Lewis -- have applied for the position.
Turner said she wants to continue serving on the board so she can help the children of the district.
"I want to make sure that the children get everything that they need to be successful," she said. "It's important to me to make sure that each child is provided a quality education and that there is equality throughout our district, established by policy and enforced with financial accountability."
Turner, who said she has received some backlash for her vote to fire former Superintendent Dr. Martha Liddell, said despite the criticism, she feels she is making a positive difference in the community.
"I just can't give up on our district and the children, no matter how I've been treated," she said. "Someone has to stand for what's right. I feel that God placed me on this board for a reason, and it shouldn't be jeopardized because of political personal interests. To me, it's not about who gets the job, it's about how you get the job done. All it takes is one vote to make a change, and every vote counts.
As a parent, Turner said she understands what families face on a daily basis.
"I'm a parent with two children in the school district, and I care for all of the children in our district just as I do my own," she said.
Lewis also has a child in the district and said, if appointed, he hopes to work to increase tests cores throughout the district.
"My number one thing would probably be test scores, definitively," Lewis said. "We need to bring up test scores to bring the district up."
Through his role in the CLRA, Lewis said he is familiar with a majority of the students and parents in the district.
"Being a parent and being an active member of the community, I support everything that the school does," he said. "We need to put the children first. My bottom line is education."
In addition to bringing up test scores, Lewis said he would like to see smaller classroom sizes, saying, "I'm curious about teacher development and classroom sizes."
While he doesn't have a plan in place, Lewis said he is confident he could work together with other members of the board.
"What I'm going to do is try to come up with an effective plan," he said. "I don't think anyone would have the number one answer but we've got to work together to get the stakeholders back in the school system. The community has to get back involved."
The Mayor and City Council can make the appointment on Feb.18.
Sarah Fowler covers crime, education and community related events for The Dispatch.