Candidate Q&A – Tasha White, Decatur Board of EducationTasha White. (FILE PHOTO)
Decaturish.com contacted every candidate running for office in Decatur and Avondale Estates and provided them with a list of questions. Tasha White is running for the City Schools of Decatur Board of Education District 2, Post B.
Here are her responses:
1) Why are you running for this position?
I have a heart to serve. I have a desire to serve my community and after multiple discussions with current and past school board members, I am confident this is the best avenue for me. I have 3 children, one who attends Decatur High School, one who attends the 4/5 Academy and one who will attend Winnona Park Elementary in 2 years. I am vested in the school system and in this city.
2) What makes you the most qualified candidate for the job?
The first skill I was taught as a social worker is to put aside any pre-conceived notions and judgments. I have the ability to truly listen especially when there are opposing views. I think these skills will serve me well as the next school board member. In addition, I’m able to focus on what we have in common and build from there. Lastly, I have the compassion and desire to work with the members of the community to make the best decisions for our school system.
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3) Relationships between the city of Decatur and City Schools of Decatur have been strained at times. What will you do to improve the relationship between the two?
I have already begun to form relationships and have started conversations with current commission members as well as many of the candidates for the city commission. We have discussed the importance of having a consistent and a mutually beneficial relationship. I would also be a supporter of securing a liaison between the City and the schools who can help to facilitate and foster this partnership.
4) What are your thoughts about the implementation of Common Core educational standards in Georgia schools?
I think it’s a great idea for our state to adopt a standard of excellence across the board. I would fully support educational standards that raise the bar. I plan to continue having conversations about maintaining our high academic standards with our teachers, current school board and community members.
5) Do you support increasing the homestead tax exemption for Decatur’s seniors?
Yes. I support different options to ease the tax burden on our seniors. I’ve had the opportunity to meet with groups of seniors several times over the last few months. While most seniors desire to stay in their homes as long term members of this community, they are struggling with their ability to pay their increase in taxes. In my conversations, it is evident they support the $75 million bond because they want this generation and future generations to benefit from a quality school system just as their children did. If there is a way that we can cap their taxes at a certain age, this would ease their burden tremendously. I would welcome working with the City to make this happen.
6) Some parents have suggested that the development of Decatur’s 4/5 Academy was the wrong decision and all schools feeding into Renfroe Middle should be K-5 schools, instead of K-3 schools that feed into 4/5. Do you support the continued existence of the 4/5 Academy, or do you think it should be revisited?
I believe the decision to create the 4/5 Academy was a difficult decision and a good one. It served the needs of the children and the community at that time. I believe the decisions the superintendent and the board made have contributed to the strong and high achieving school system that we have today. Once I am elected, I welcome the opportunity to discuss whether the 4/5 Academy is still the best decision for our school system.
7) Overcrowding is an ongoing concern for City Schools of Decatur. What are your ideas for addressing increasing enrollment in CSD?
I fully support the bond. After researching the options and attending the master plan feedback sessions, I am confident the proposed plans will ensure that we have enough room for our growing student body.
8) What are your thoughts on the current finalist for City Schools of Decatur’s next superintendent, David Dude?
I look forward to meeting Dr. Dude and discussing his ideas on how he plans to manage the growth, the relationship with the City, and addressing diversity in our schools. Based on his experience with tackling issues of growth, I am excited about his potential plans for the City Schools of Decatur.
9) Do you support the $75 million general obligation bond referendum on the Nov. 3 ballot?
Yes. I fully support the bond and did before I decided to run for school board. I have researched the alternatives such as additional learning cottages, larger classroom sizes, alternate school schedules and renting schools from other school systems. I do not believe the alternatives are adequate solutions for my family and more importantly for this community.
10) If elected, do you promise to behave in an ethical and transparent manner?
The election is Nov. 3 and early voting begins on Oct. 12.