“There have been a number of issues that’s been brought before this Board in the past months, really in the past year and a half and the majority of the Board has sat quietly and sort of watched and listened to a multitude of accusations, visions and predictions,” Nelson said. “We’ve remained quiet because we know what was going on was about one person and that person’s disdain for the board members. We’re now at a point where we felt it was important that we speak now because our children and our staff have been placed in harm’s way.”
Nelson did not elaborate on who that unnamed person was but did take time to counter major criticisms that have been circulating about the board and its actions. Those issues include concern about Nelson’s dual role as board chairperson and his position with the Coosa River Soil and Water Conservation; the use of school facilities by organizations not affiliated with any Bartow County school, a board retreat held in Rome and the possibility of raised taxes.
Another major issue surrounds the appointment of current board member Anna Sullivan, who represents District 5.
According to Nelson, Sullivan’s appointment is being challenged as illegal and outside the powers of the Bartow County School Board.
“This is a legal matter that will be settled by a judge somewhere,” Nelson said.
Nelson also addressed a recent school board meeting where supporters of Kingston Elementary School became agitated and made it clear whom he held responsible for the emotionally charged atmosphere.
“It was not until a member of this board incited the room and everything became chaotic,” Nelson said.
Nelson’s response to critics comes on the heels of news that fellow board member Wanda Cagle Gray filed a complaint with Souther Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS) asking for an investigation to clear up some uncertainty regarding the board’s most recent actions.
Nelson said the complaint is a “tragedy” for the school board and the community as a whole and could have ramifications in the future.
Following the meeting Cagle Gray responded to Nelson’s comments and said the documentation that Nelson referenced were not related to the documentation she filed and she is willing to let SACS find a final resolution to her complaints.
“I just had to do it for the betterment of Bartow County,” Cagle Gray said.