Candidates hoping for good election turnout

Published 6:00 am Thursday, March 1, 2007

This year’s Brookhaven School Board election takes placeSaturday and candidates and officials are hoping for a betterturnout this year than last yaer.

The last election saw only 10 percent of registered voters castballots in the school board election. Only voters who live in theBrookhaven School District, but outside the city limits, areeligible to participate in the election.

“I’d like to see a strong turnout and I feel either way theelection goes, the school system is still going to have goodrepresentation,” said candidate Tommy Sproles, a soundcontractor.

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Current school board president Carl Aycock is up for re-electionafter serving two five-year terms on the school board.

“Like any election, it shows either the lack of or the interestpeople have in the system,” Aycock said about turnout. “I wouldhope that people would take the time to come out and show theirinterest in the school system.”

During Aycock’s terms on the school board, Brookhaven has beenable to build a new high school and add on to several of the otherarea schools.

“I guess since I’ve been on the board for the past 10 years, oneof the things I’m most proud of is being able to provide firstclass facilities for the students,” Aycock said. “Now we’refocusing primarily on student achievement and we’ve seen steadyprogress over the last two or three years and we hope to continuethat.”

One such achievement program Brookhaven schools are working onis the Mississippi Scholars Program, a program which allowsstudents to take more rigorous courses in order to better preparethem for college and/or the real world.

“We’ve gotten on board with that and have 20-plus MississippiScholars that will be graduating this year,” said Aycock. “With ouradditional course offerings, that trend should continueupward.”

Sproles, who comes from a line of school board members, hopes tomake positive changes in student achievement as well.

“It’s always been a part of my life. My grandfather and fatherboth have served,” said Sproles. “And if I’m elected, I’d like tosee more emphasis put on physical education and artseducation.”

Sproles said he’d also like to work on communication within theeducation system.

“I’d like to see clearer avenues for the faculty and staff toexpress their concerns to the school board without fear ofrepercussions,” he said.

Sproles, who worked in in-school suspension and as a substitutefor the area schools, also expressed an interest in working withthe budget. Mainly, however, his interest is in the future.

“This is a good time to run while my girls are starting in thesystem,” he said. He and his wife JoAnna have two daughters in thesystem, Katie, 4; and Jamie, 8.

Aycock and his wife Susan have two children who have graduatedfrom the Brookhaven schools. Currently their daughter Ann Claire isa junior.

“I certainly would love the opportunity to serve the peopleagain for another five-year term. I feel I’ve done what’s best forthe kids the last 10 years,” said Aycock.