Major upsets for Muscogee County School Board race

COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) - Some major upsets Tuesday night in the race for Muscogee County School Board as one incumbent board member and a longtime education advocate are defeated.

News Leader 9 met with the newly-elected Kia Chambers for the school board's District at Large position, taking 52 percent of the vote, and Frank Myers for the District 8 seat with 64 percent of the vote.

"You can never predict how these things are going to turn out," Myers said. "But we were getting a lot of feedback going door to door, talking to voters, and people are frustrated. They want to see change and accountability."

Myers defeated the incumbent Beth Harris in the School Board District 8 race. Myers said he is ready to move forward with his plans and promise he had made to his supporters.

"I want to eliminate no-bid contracts," Myers said. "They are unfair. They benefit a few at the expense of these school children who have been cheated out of the quality public education."

In 2013, Myers fought against no-bid contracts. Interim Superintendent John Phillips said longtime law firm Hatcher Stubbs was the best option for the city last year. However, Myers argued that the district is spending too much money on legal fees, and he said money wasted on attorney fees need to be spent on enhancing education for the Muscogee County students.

"I think what happened last night was that I got my reputation back," Myers said. "It's about no-bid contracts. It's about finding out where we can be more efficient in our school system. Some people tried to imprison me. They called GBI on me. I hadn't done anything wrong. It was difficult, but the truth is, if there had never been a GBI investigation, you wouldn't see me here today. It helped me realize that I can do a better job on the school board than I believe my opponent could."

Kia Chambers is the first African American woman to take the District at Large seat.

"This is my first time running for this elected position as well," Chambers said. "I'm a former educator and education is something I care about."

Chambers said she felt confident about the race, but she was also surprised by her victory.

"I feel humbled," Chambers said. "For now, the Election Day may be over, but the real work begins. Whenever I look over a decision, I ask three questions: is it what's best for kids? Is it fair and equitable? Is it fiscally responsible? These things are important to me, and that is how I plan to be in the seat."

Another unexpected and surprising result from Tuesday night's race was on the Muscogee County School Board District 2 seat. Incumbent John Wells has been on the board for 28 years. However, Wells and Candidate John Thomas will be heading to a runoff on July 22.

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