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Bumpus, Morton run for Bibb school board | News

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Bumpus, Morton run for Bibb school board

After 12 years on the Board of Education, Lynn Farmer has met the term limit. That leaves her Post 7 seat open and two people are gunning for it. They are James Bumpus, director of small business affairs for Macon-Bibb County, and lawyer Daryl Morton.

"Our children are our most important asset and I care about the children of this community, and particularly those in the Bibb County School District, dearly. I think that they should have the opportunity to succeed. I think that they should have the opportunity to be the best, and have the best quality education," said Bumpus.

"I've practiced school law for several years, advocated for children in this community. I'm well-known to the school board as somebody who when I appear in front of them they know that I'm there to try to solve a problem. I've supported the school system when I think they are right, I'm willing to be critical when I think there are problems," said Morton.

By many measures, like graduation rates and test scores, Bibb County Schools aren't succeeding. 13WMAZ asked candidates how the system can be turned around?

"We've got to make sure that our resources are apportioned in such a way that they impact the students, who are a part of the district. That it impacts their learning, it impacts their social and creative development. And so that's one of the ways in which we turn that around," said Bumpus.

"The first thing we've got to do is have people start to have faith in the system, and we do that by first by hiring a good superintendent. What I want to hear people say is yes the school system has problems but I like what they're doing, I think they're going in the right direction. So it means having a good superintendent but it also means having good board members who are going to watch the bottom line and make sure that our tax dollars are spent wisely," said Morton.

In February, an audit showed that former Bibb superintendent Romain Dallemand committed the school system to more than 51 million in unapproved contracts. When asked if the board gave Dallemand too much free rein candidates had mixed answers.

" I speak to the issue of governance, and when you have strong governance in place, the governance will yield effective and efficient services for the system that that governance is providing leadership for," said Bumpus.

"The audit makes clear that the school board did not do its job in telling the superintendent no. And we desperately needed that because this money that was misspent was sales tax money that the public had voted to entrust to the system," said Morton.

Both candidates agree the board needs to make the right choice for the next Bibb superintendent.

"We have to be focused as a board to make sure that a good person is chosen, to provide leadership, a person who can bring our community together, to be a catalyst for collaboration, one who will bring some innovation, integrity to that process," said Bumpus.

"This next hire is critical. And I would urge the board to take its time and hire the right person. I think haste is the last thing we need here. I think this is the most critical hire in the school systems history and it needs to be the right person," said Morton.


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