Candidates in 4 Montgomery school board races prepare for runoff

Clare Weil and Brenda Irby. (Source: WSFA 12 News)
Clare Weil and Brenda Irby. (Source: WSFA 12 News)
Updated: Jul. 16, 2018 at 10:40 PM CDT
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MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) - Tuesday is the primary runoff elections and candidates are making their final cases to send voters to the polls.

It's down to the wire for the Montgomery County Board of Education primaries. Going into a runoff will be the District 1, 2, 5 and 6 Democratic races.

Voters in MPS District 2 will find Brenda Irby and Clare Weil on the democratic ballot for the runoff. Over in District 5 on the democratic ballot they will find DeVona Sims and Rhonda Oats.

District 2 Democratic candidate Brenda Irby is retired from the state education department. She's the mother of three children who graduated from MPS. She considers herself a strong advocate for students.

"There will be transparency while I am on the board. I will come to the public and see what their needs are and listen. Accountability has been a major problem. I will make sure I am accountable to those I will be serving," said Irby.

Her opponent Clare Weil graduated from Lanier High School, her two children graduated from MPS schools, and her granddaughter is currently enrolled in public school here in Montgomery. She is a business owner hoping to bring a fresh perspective to the board.

"The past board has been a little disjointed and I would like to see where they communicate one another and remember the students are the reason they are there. I am not an educator, but I am a business owner that is a different perspective that will add a lot to the mix," said Weil.

District 5 Democratic candidate Rhonda Oats has spent 27 years in education, 12 in the Montgomery Public School system. She wants the kids to be first.

"I love being an educator and I want to continue to embrace that and bring that onto the board. I want to be that sound voice, I want to be a partner. I want this to be a team partnership to make sure that Montgomery Public Schools get the best," said Oats.

Oats' challenger DeVona Sims had one child go through the Montgomery public school system. Her background in elementary and post secondary also spans more than 20 years. She is ready to be the change she wants to see.

"I am a strong advocate for education and my overall focus would be to look at the overall student achievement at every school. One of the first things I would want to tackle is making sure we have the effective leadership in place," said Sims.

The winner in the Democratic District 2 Primary Runoff will face Republican candidate Ted Lowry in November.

The winner in the Democratic District 5 Primary Runoff will go up against Republican candidate Jannah Bailey in November.

There are two other runoffs connected to the MPS board. In District 1, Democratic candidates Frederick Turner will face Marcus Vandiver. Whoever wins will go up against Lesa Keith, who currently serves at the board's vice president. And in District 6, Robert Porterfield will face Claudia Mitchell-- the winner takes the seat because there is no Republican candidate.

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