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Latch, West run for Bibb school board | News

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Latch, West run for Bibb school board

The race for the two seats on the Bibb County School Board is on and incumbent Wanda West wants to keep her post 8 chair.

"I bring a wealth of expertise that I believe is just totally important at this time," said West.

Darren Latch, who runs a Facebook group called Bibb Schools Supporters- The Miracle Uncovered, is challenging West. He said he has worked for the past three years to help clean up Bibb schools. "A lot of the headlines that we've been seeing are as a result of our work through open records act requests. Identifying things that should be happening and shouldn't be happening on the board and as an example with 51 million dollars in misappropriated funds was a great deal of our work that we've done," said Latch.

Latch is referring to a February audit that showed former superintendent Romain Dallemand committed Bibb schools to more than 51 million in unapproved contracts. 13WMAZ asked each candidate if the board gave Dallemand too much free rein.

"No, his rein was as free as any other superintendent. Now, having been a superintendent myself, it is the individual in that role, that either capitalizes on driving a success agenda or an agenda otherwise chosen," said West.

"The board dropped the ball, there is no doubt about it. There were five board members who voted yes to everything, which is a matter of public record," said Latch.

The school system is below the state average with things like graduation rates and test scores. Candidates shared their opinion on how to turn the system around.

"It starts with developing a high performance culture, people do have to be able to get along and you have to have the right skills in the right place, at the right time. Primarily there must be a working relationship between the board and the superintendent because those are your controls," said West.

"Empower the teachers further, remove the culture of fear that's well on the path to being removed now, further empower the teachers. And partner with legitimate non-profit organizations that have a future in the system in giving the children and students the every power and opportunity to succeed in life and actually increase the graduation rate," said Latch.

In regards to the superintendent search, West and Latch agree the board has to be selective.

"I do believe that every board member is engaged at a level of hoping that we can find a person that will mesh with this community, the needs of our school district, our children , this Macon family," said West.

"It's not something you can rush into, and we do need consensus. I think for the most part, the board has learned from the past, from past experiences. We do need to properly check the credentials, the history, the ability to reach out in the community and work with numerous partners inside the system and outside the system," said Latch.

Election day is Tuesday.


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