Tucker voters are faced with two DeKalb school board runoff elections on Tuesday.
DeKalb District 4 school board incumbent Paul Womack faces challenger Jim McMahan, while Melvin Johnson and Denise McGill square off in a District 6 runoff.
District 4 includes much of Tucker, while District 6 is primarily the Stone Mountain area, as well as some portions of Tucker.
McMahan sent Tucker Patch a clear message about where he stands, saying: "For the fourth year in a row the school system has spent more money than the school board approved. If you feel like the school system is on the right track for academic success, vote for the incumbent. If you want your board member to get your school a cell tower, then vote for the incumbent. But, if you want the school system to focus on the students first, vote for Jim McMahan!"
Womack, the District 4 incumbent, told Patch: "I've spoken to a great many people and found that while there is a great deal of dissatisfaction with the school board, very little of it is aimed at me. The issues creating the most concern are the school finances and the property tax millage rate. Most voters know that my record is one of cutting the budget responsibly, and opposing all property tax increases."
He added that it's important for people to turn out for Tuesday's runoff. "If they stay home, the board members who want to continue to drag the school system down will be given free rein to spend tax dollars however they want. Nobody will ever be held accountable, and the ones who will suffer the most will be the kids we are trying to educate."
The two other District 4 challengers in the July 31 primary were Tom Gilbert and Jim Kinney, both of whom have since endorsed McMahan. "It's my sincere opinion that he will do a substantially better job advocating for education than the incumbent he will replace," said Kinney. He added that Womack "played the District 4 Republicans like a cheap fiddle and they are still foaming at the mouth for more of him. The money-bags behind him must have all of their kids in private school and all of their workers in China. His call for a 'criminal investigation' was perfectly timed to catch maximum election coverage."
Gilbert said of McMahan: "You are the last piece of the puzzle to put in place to try and save our school system before the state of Georgia takes it over."
In District 6, Johnson took 39 percent of the vote to McGill's 30 percent. Johnson, who was once a school administrator, told DeKalb Neighbor that the county's system is in a state of crisis. "It needs a board member with experience to resolve the major issues we're now faced with."
McGill told the paper that although she's not an educator, she has plenty of hands-on training. "I've been an advocate," she said. "I've been in schools every day - PTSA and local school council organizations - for 15 years."
Patch will have a complete wrapup of the election once results come in.