Teacher's forum

Athens Independent School District Board of Trustees incumbent Ginger Kirk, left, and challenger Will Davies attend a forum hosted­­­­­ by the Athens Classroom Teachers Association at Athens Middle School on Monday evening.

Teachers with the Athens Independent School District heard from school board candidates on Monday evening.

A forum, hosted by the Athens Classroom Teachers Association at the Athens Middle School library, began with a question and answer session with AISD Board of Trustees incumbent Ginger Kirk and challenger Will Davies, a former board member.

Kirk and Davies both said they support the current maternity leave policy.

“I think the sick pay policy is a lot better and more user friendly,” Kirk said. “I am not in favor of ever going back to the previous policy.”

She said the previous policy was punitive for recent mothers and hampered recruiting efforts.

Kirk said she is an advocate for the community, teachers and staff in general.

“I feel like I am advocate. I have an open heart and an open mind,” Kirk said.

Davies said he decided to run for the seat because friends and family encouraged him.

“It’s my opinion that most of the contested elections have been extremely divisive,” he said.

Davies said some in the community have widened gaps rather than built bridges.

“The school board should work for all citizens and students,” he said.

Davies said the schools should be improved to bring more commercialized businesses to the area.

“They look at the quality of the school system,” he said. “Everybody is going to have to pull the rope in the same direction.”

Kirk said she is in favor of building new schools but does not think now is the right time for the school board to push another bond.

“It upsets me to see our community divided. We do need new classrooms, the numbers speak for themselves,” she said. “I feel it is disrespectful so soon to bring a bond back.”

Kirk said it would be better if the school board would wait and bring the matter up at a later date.

Davies said he supports the current bond proposal.

“Businesses look at facilities,” he said. “We are going to have the facilities and performance that commands businesses to come here.”

Davies said improved facilities would increase the business tax base, and decrease the burden on homeowners.

Kirk said she is one of the school board members who asks the most questions.

“Hopefully I am a leader,” she said. “You can disagree without being disagreeable.”

Davies said leadership is not about agreeing or disagreeing on any one issue.

“Being a leader is bringing new, creative ideas to the table,” he said.

Both the candidates encouraged voters to be informed before casting their ballot.

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