County interviews school board candidates

Published 12:23 am Tuesday, May 16, 2017


NATCHEZ —Adams County Supervisors interviewed two candidates for the Natchez-Adams School Board Monday, but tabled making a decision until a future meeting.

Supervisors interviewed Alcorn State University English professor Dianne Bunch and Natchez High School graduate and Key Rehab physical therapist Reneé Wall.

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Bunch said she has a passion for education and a passion for what Natchez can become.

“I think I bring some experience that maybe the board doesn’t have,” Bunch said. “In my experience in connection to higher education, I have an understanding of curriculum development … and also grant writing.”

Wall said after coaching soccer at Natchez High School, she came to an understanding that not all people in the school district had the same opportunities she did and wanted to see that change.

“I feel like there are a lot of good kids,” Wall said. “Some of them are not given the same opportunities to succeed.

“A lot of the kids don’t have the money or parents to support them. Some of the parents want to, but they don’t know how.”

District 3 Supervisor Angela Hutchings asked both candidates what they thought about the school administration’s plan to build a new high school and renovate several schools in the district.

Bunch said she has looked at the conditions of the school district’s buildings and believes the facilities are lacking.

“Of course we need new facilities, no question,” Bunch said. “Whether or not we have the funds, I don’t know. It seems important to me that we work on what is going on inside the facilities.”

Wall said she knew the community was being asked to approve the $35 million bond for the building program on May 23, but she was not sure if taxpayers would approve the additional debt.

“I do think they probably need a new school — it is probably not set up in the most conducive environment for learning with all the different portable buildings,” Wall said. “I understand the need for new school buildings, but I think it will be difficult to get the city on board with that.”

Bunch said one aspect of the district she could potentially serve is in teacher development.

“I am interested in if we are developing our faculty enough,” Bunch said. “You can’t have a school system without the teachers.”

Bunch said she also believes the school system could do some activities that do not cost a lot, which could help.

“Some school systems … chose a book and everyone reads it together,” Bunch said. “There are things that can be suggested that don’t cost money that can get everyone thinking on the same page.”

Wall said she would like to engage the community to support the public school system. Wall said she recently ran into a former classmate and she learned that person was sending her children to Cathedral.

“Even the people who grew up in the public school system, it doesn’t matter their color or race, if they can afford to send them somewhere else, they are not sending them to the pubic schools,” Wall said.

The public school system has much to offer, Wall said, but the negative connotation can keep people away.

“I feel like (the public school) offers opportunities you are not going to get in private school,” she said. “For me, that is a strength of mine, is that I am passionate about trying to make (the public school system) work.”