Tensions flare between MCSB members at agenda meeting

Columbus, GA (WTVM) - A heated exchange between two Muscogee County School Board members marked an evening of debate and discussions at Tuesday's agenda meeting. 

It started when board member Frank Myers expressed how he thought it unfair how it appeared the secretary, treasurer, and legal counsel were already decided without a vote.

He spoke loudly, and so did newly-appointed board chair Pat Hugley-Green, who had to stop the outburst by banging the gavel and trying to move on.

After Tuesday night's meeting, we spoke to both Myers and Hugley-Green.

Myers said the board has had the chance to vote on these appointments over the last 20 years, and he felt it was the right thing to do.

"As you watch these proceedings, there's a rubber stamp, always got a majority of board members," Myers said. "They've got these people trained like drones to come in there, and just rubber stamp anything they want."

Hugley-Green said while Myers' point was a good one, it was neither the time nor the place for that criticism. 

"That needs a whole discussion, and it's worthy of a discussion when we have new members come on the board," Hugley-Green said. "So, to put that off until February, to give them the benefit of the doubt, to learn something, I think is more appropriate than to get off agenda."  

After the tense interaction, the councilors moved on other items on Tuesday night's agenda, impacting students in Muscogee County.

When the time came to vote on officially naming the district's new school the Midtown Columbus School of the Arts, as recommended by a special committee, it did not pass the majority vote necessary to make it official.

Five board members went against district recommendations and approved a motion to name the district's new educational building the Rainey-McCullers School of the Arts.

The name recognizes two of the Fountain City's most famous artistic minds, blues singer Ma Rainey and writer Carson McCullers. 

According to the committee, the reason the school board picked the first name is to have it represent a location and bring renown to Columbus, instead of narrowing it down to just one or two specific individuals. 

Hugley-Green said she still favors the original name, the Midtown Columbus School of the Arts. 

"There aren't a lot of those schools, and so we have to really look beyond Columbus because these students will be performing and competing and presenting across the nation with schools like it," Hugley-Green said. 

Myers said the special committee for the school could've used that time more wisely. 

"We are spending countless hours on trips, money, fine volunteers from the community who went out and spent their time on it," Myers said. "I wish we could just take that group of volunteers and combine that and begin some kind of reading program to rescue these kids that can't read."

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