SAVANNAH, Ga. (WSAV) — Voters had the opportunity Tuesday to hear from candidates running for seats on the Savannah-Chatham County School Board of Public Education.

WSAV partnered once again with Georgia Southern University to host candidates for school board president and Districts 5, 6 and 8 at the Armstrong Center Auditorium.

WSAV News 3’s Tina Tyus-Shaw and Ben Senger moderated the forum.

Along with submissions from the public, faculty and students from the College of Behavioral and Social Sciences and the College of Education composed the questions for the candidates.

“Georgia Southern University takes its responsibilities to community and civic engagement very seriously and this is an opportunity for us to help educate our community on School Board Presidential and District Candidates as well issues that affect all of us,” said Associate Professor of Sociology Dr. Ned Rinalducci.

“The Savannah-Chatham County School Board oversees a budget larger than either the City of Savannah or Chatham County and makes decisions that affect the majority of families in our community,” Rinalducci added.

The candidates

  • President
    • Roger Moss
    • Todd Rhodes
    • Tye Whitely
  • District 5
    • Treye’ Burrison
    • Paul Smith
    • Theresa Watson
  • District 6
    • David Bringman
    • Keith Padgett
  • District 8:
    • Tonia Howard-Hall
    • Jasmine Polley

Watch the first part of the forum including Districts 5, 6 and 8 above.

Some questions touched on the response to COVID-19 and the possibility of further restrictions, removing or censoring books that some children and parents may find offensive, critical race theory, how to handle hostile school board meetings, how influential parents should be on curriculum and other topics.

“We had to adapt from face-to-face instruction to virtual learning in a living room. But during that time in 2020 when there was no defense for COVID, I took a stand because I chose life over death,” said Dr. Tonia Howard-Hall, District 8 incumbent.

“What I would have done differently the following school year. I would have sent out meaningful surveys to staff and families so we could have had a better idea of which teachers and families wanted to stay home the choice should have been for the students and families and teachers and not for the district,” said Jasmine Polley, District 8 candidate.

Watch the second part of the forum including SCCPSS School Board Presidential candidates below.

The forum was sponsored by Georgia Southern’s College of Behavioral and Social Sciences, the Department of Sociology and Anthropology and the Department of Political Sciences and International Studies.