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Board member faces challenge from both parties
March 19, 2014 03:28 PM | 1055 views | 0 0 comments | 13 13 recommendations | email to a friend | print
The race for the Douglas County School Board’s District 4 seat will feature an incumbent touting his experience against opponents from both parties saying new ideas are needed.

With two Republicans and three Democrats seeking the seat, it is the most heavily contested local race in the county.

Republican incumbent Sam Haskell, who has been on the board for 18 years and is its longest serving member, is seeking re-election.

However, he has drawn a Republican challenger for the May 20 general primary in Lauren McCoy. Three Democrats – Tyler Barr, Denny Bridges and Michelle Simmons – also will square off May 20 for the right to face the Republican winner in November.

Haskell defeated Simmons for the seat in 2010.

District 4 includes northwestern Douglas County and parts of Douglasville and Villa Rica, home of Arbor Station, Bright Star, Mirror Lake, North Douglas and Winston elementary schools.

Haskell said he is proud of his long stint on the board and believes experience, plus his heavy involvement with area schools, is needed to best represent the district.

However, his opponents in both parties said the demographics of District 4 have changed and, as such, a new perspective is needed for the seat.

Haskell said he is pleased to have this level of opposition because it means people see the importance of the race and should increase voter turnout.

“I am proud of the fact that I have been a member of a board that has kept school taxes low while we have increased the quality of education in Douglas County schools,” he said.

McCoy said she believes a change in representation is needed because it would help the school board “develop new, innovative ideas for our children to succeed and we are all here for the children.”

Barr said many people realize school board members sometimes allow politics, rather than what’s best for the students, to guide their decision-making.

“This is a very important time for the board and strong leadership is needed for District 4,” he said.

Bridges said that he and other District 4 residents have seen a need for a change in board representation to provide a stronger “voice” for residents.

“One element of my campaign platform, which I feel I can accomplish if elected as the next District 4 representative, is to bring increased and effective parental involvement into schools while also bringing a strong voice that, I feel, they currently don’t have,” he said.

Simmons, a teacher in the DeKalb County School System, said a “level of consensus” has been reached that Haskell has been on the board too long.

“Being a school teacher myself, I can bring a new perspective to the board,” she said.

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