CONYERS -- The two candidates for the Post 1 school board seat want to look closer at the budget before deciding what areas to improve or cut.
Charcella Green and Mandy North are facing off for the Rockdale County Board of Education's nonpartisan Post 1 seat, which is currently held by Jean Yontz, who isn't seeking reelection.
When asked by the Citizen about ideas to balance the budget without dipping into reserve funds, both said they plan to look at different options before making any decisions.
"I'm going to have to look at the budget closely," said Green, an adjunct professor at Clark Atlanta University's School of Social Work and a consultant for various organizations.
She said if cuts have to be made, she would want to make sure that personnel and those who are in close contact with students are maintained.
North said her thinking-outside-of-the-box approach could help the budget.
"One thing I'd like to look at is the possibility of perhaps cutting days off the calendar by adding a few minutes to every day, similar to the Walton County school calendar," said North, who is a Certified Public Accountant and owns an outdoor advertising company. "We're sending our kids to school in the hottest part of the summer. If we started back mid-August, instead of the end of July, we'd not only save transportation costs, but the cost of air conditioning the schools during the sweltering heat. We wouldn't have to cut teacher pay since we would have the same amount of instructional time as the full 180-day calendar."
She also wants to look at more efficient means of transporting students, especially the way students are bused to the Rockdale Career Academy, even though what Rockdale County Public Schools does now may be the best way, she said.
"I'd just like to see how other counties transport students back and forth and how often the buses run in counties that have similar career academy choices," she said.
When asked by the Citizen, North said one of the biggest problems facing RCPS is discipline in the classroom.
"It's difficult to learn when there is disruption," said North, who has two children in RCPS and one graduate. "Every child deserves the opportunity to learn in a conducive environment."
She suggested pulling disruptive students from the class and for teachers to feel supported for removing them.
"I'd like to review the entire process to better understand it and see if there's a way to improve upon it," she said.
Green said one of the biggest problems is community involvement.
"If the children can see a connection between what they are learning at school and what's going on in the world, it makes school relevant," she said.
She suggests reaching out to more businesses, religious institutions and others to have them come in and better engage students.