By Ian Berry
The two candidates for Hamilton County Commission District 8 displayed differences in their views on education during separate meetings with the Times Free Press editorial board today.
Curtis Adams, the current commissioner who voted against proposed tax increases during the past two years, said he would be open to an increase in future years now that schools Superintendent Jesse Register is leaving his post. Mr. Adams said he doesn’t expect new Superintendent Jim Scales to request one soon, but that he hopes to build a good relationship with Dr. Scales and would listen to his proposals with an open mind.
Mr. Adams, a Republican, said the county may have to consider steps such as paying bonuses and moving expenses in order to recruit good teachers to some of the county’s lower-performing schools.
“We’re going to have to do some drastic things,” Mr. Adams said.
Mr. Bailes, a Democrat who is challenging Mr. Adams, said voters are more concerned now with whether their elected officials are accountable than what they do on taxes. But he also took issue with Mr. Adams’ claim that he “can’t think of anything progressive I haven’t voted for.”
Mr. Bailes said a proposed 55-cent tax increase two years ago that stemmed from Hamilton County Mayor Claude Ramsey’s education summit offered evidence to the contrary.
“He voted no on that and fought it tooth and nail,” Mr. Bailes said. “I honestly cannot think of a more progressive agenda than that.”
Mr. Bailes said he wants to focus on getting more education funding from the state, strengthening private partnerships and boosting accountability with the school system.
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