Candidates face-off in only challenged Montgomery school board race

Candidates face-off in only challenged Montgomery school board race

MONTGOMERY CO., AL (WSFA) - A longtime educator and a businesswoman are vying for the Montgomery County Board of Education's District 4 seat. It's the only contested BOE race on the ballot.

Twelve-year Montgomery County Board of Education veteran Mary Briers was appalled by Gov. Robert Bentley's recent statement on the state's education system in which he said it "sucks".

"My problem is no one is sitting at the table with us. Everyone has a suggestion for us, but no one wants to sit at the table and talk with us," said Briers the Democratic incumbent.

Briers has a background in education spanning 30 years and wants to focus on discipline and funding.

"They are cutting us at every corner, they're robbing the Education Trust Fund," Briers stated.

The Democrat says there are some good things coming down the pipeline that she wants to be a part of.

"The reason why they should vote for me: Because I care, I'm committed, I'm able, I'm responsible, I'm energetic, and I'm steadfast," Briers explained, saying it takes an educator to understand education.

"I bring my experience as an educator, I know when teaching and learning is taking place, I know when it's not taking place. I know when there's a dog and pony show and when there's really teaching and learning going on," Briers said.

But her opponent, Alabama Gazette founder and co-owner, Loretta Grant disagrees.

"My heart beats for the children and we gotta [sic] just get away from the norm, we have to change. If you want to change parents you need to make a change. If everything wants to be the same, then keep what you got," said Grant, the Republican challenger.

Grant has her sights set on fixing failing schools and tackling budget issues.

"I don't think children should ever wonder about paper towels, crayons. I think that a budget should be a budget. I think that we should live with a budget," said Grant.

The Republican says MPS should have enough money to do what it needs to do.

"It just never gets down to the classroom the way it should get to the classroom. It's meant for the classrooms, it's not meant for salaries and politics," cautioned Grant.

The Republican and Democrat do see eye to eye on one thing: Serving on the BOE is about the kids.

"At the end of the day, it's not about me, it's not about the board, it's not about the Governor, it's about our children," said Briers.

"This is about our children, politics concern the Montgomery County Board of Education way too much," said Grant.

District 4 includes 12 schools in Montgomery with about 10,000 students.

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