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  1. .
    1. School Safety: Parents want to know their children are safe when they send them to school. We need to look at what can we do now while other plans are still in the works. For example, one of the first of the year procedures should be educating the students. I believe one conversation that needs to happen in all classrooms at the beginning of the year is you don’t open a door for anyone. If someone needs in the building, they should either have their keys or can go through the front office. Children are genuinely trusting and if they see someone at a door wanting to get in, they will let them in. We need to educate them about this topic. Second, there are numerous devices that can be installed in each classroom to protect from an intruder. As of now, our protocol is lock the door with our keys. This poses numerous issues. It requires stepping out into the hall and you have to have a key. What if that classroom has a substitute for the day? These devices do not require teachers to open their door and they can be left in a secure location. Those devices would also work for gyms and lunchrooms. Teachers can include in their substitute lesson plans where this device is. Substitutes can be trained at the beginning of the year on these devices as well. Another project would be looking into replacing all external windows with more protective ones. SROs seem to be the best option. Security should be left to those trained in that area. I believe the recently proposed plan is a great start, but not a final solution. If we are able to go in the direction of SROs, we will have to work with the sheriff’s department to determine what their role will be. The hot topic is preventing and protecting from intruders, but what about everyday issues. We need to make sure everyone is aware of what exactly their role will be. If two SROs is going to be the number, I believe we continue to work with our local departments to discuss where to place them. In my opinion our most vulnerable are the elementary schools and those with the current slowest response time of surrounding officers. If SROs are expected to be involved in everyday issues as well then maybe the two high schools would be the best location for them. We also have to make sure we are addressing issues such as doors that don’t operate effectively and cameras that do not function. At the end of the day, school safety should always be at the forefront and continue to be evaluated.
    2. School Construction: I was in the initial meeting for the construction projects for WBHS because I was the softball coach at the time. It involved central office employees, administrators, football, softball and band because the proposed projects were related to those extracurriculars. We were offered a covered facility behind the softball field that would act as practice field for football, batting cages for softball, and band practice field. We were concerned with how three activities were going to function in one facility. Another idea with that project was football would receive a turf field. We asked about maintaining the field and it was our understanding the board would only pay for the initial cost and not upkeep. Ultimately, those projects were rejected and an agreement was made on the current construction still underway. I don’t have an issue with using board money for athletic facilities, but I am concerned with the amount that is spent on athletics versus the maintenance of our schools. I believe there are other ways to upgrade athletic facilities. While I was softball coach, we did over $30,000 in renovation to the softball field. We worked with local businesses and parents to compete the projects. If those projects were contracted out, they would have cost hundreds of thousands. My platform has been about needs and wants. If a board member hadn’t spoken up at a board meeting, a local school was going to have to use their local school fund to repair their floors. How do we have millions to spend, but then ask our local schools to use their money for repairs? Our main focus should be maintaining our schools and addressing those needs and working with athletics to fulfill their needs as well.
    3. Academics: Our county report card from the state has consistently been a C average. I believe the first need to be addressed is protecting instructional time. We need to do our best to limit the times we pull teachers away from their classrooms. We have great teachers, but they cannot be effective if they are not in the classroom. Another need is communication. We have to make sure we are providing teachers with the resources they need to help our students. District administrators need to look at what each school is excelling in and work to see if those strategies can be implemented in other schools. I am all about academic freedom, but if something isn’t working, we need to be willing to change if it’s for the benefit of the students. We also need to reach out to other school systems that are similar to ours, but achievement is higher. I’m all for collaborating with those schools to hopefully find new ways to help our students. We also have a growing group of students with dyslexia so believe we need to boost our knowledge of how to address the needs of those students as well. As for the career tech programs, the state allots school systems so many vocational positions. I am interested in seeing how we can possibly grow that program as well for students who may be interested in choosing career paths versus college. For students who have chosen college, I believe we need to reach out to those students to determine if we are preparing them to the best of our abilities and determine if there are areas we need to address for future college bound students.
    4. Teacher Recruitment: We are losing teachers at a high rate in Bibb County. The majority aren’t retiring. They are leaving for other school systems. I believe there needs to be a conversation as to what is the issue. Teachers and other school personnel need to be brought to the table in these conversations. There needs to be constant communication between the central office and each school. For this to be effective, I believe district administrators need to be more visible in the schools. It shouldn’t just be done through emails, texts or phone calls. Administrators, teachers and other school personnel are the lifeblood of our schools. We should utilize their advice. We have to give people reasons to come to Bibb County instead of leave. As for new teachers, we need to partner with as many local universities as possible. That way we will be able to have more of a selection than just certain universities. We have to be proactive and reach out to teachers/coaches and not wait for them to come to us. Our students, athletes, parents and community deserve this effort.
    5. What would you say about campaign and how’s it going? Campaigning has been one of the enjoyments of this journey. It’s been stressful, but it’s been good stress. I have been able to reach out to many groups that I didn’t have a relationship with before this started. I was familiar with Woodstock, West Blocton and Centreville areas, but meeting new people in Randolph, Lawley, Antioch, Brierfield, Brent, Ashby, Eoline, and Pondville areas has been a great experience. We have great people and great communities who want what is best for their schools.
    6. Parent Engagement: Over the last two years, we have learned there are a lot of parents who want to be involved in their child’s school. Our school system needs to take advantage of this eagerness. Student success is tied to parent engagement in most cases. As student’s get older, we see a drop in engagement from both parents and students. I feel as students get older there should be more independence from students, but with the same level of parent engagement. Once again, communication is the key. We need to look at what elementary schools are doing that is so effective and adapt that process to the upper grades.
    7. Sent from my iPhone
    8. > wrote:
    9. Mr. Daniel, 
    10. > wrote:
    11. We can do that. No questions have been written yet but if the candidates agree we will get them prepared in advance of the forum.
    12. Will we be given the questions in advance? 
    13. Thanks, 
    14. Kevin Cotner 
    15. We are inviting you to participate. If you participate the interviewer will be myself or David Daniel.
    16. The possible dates are Monday June 13 or Wednesday June 15 between 3-5 p.m.
    17. I can be reached at the cell phone number below or leave a message at the press office. I would call you but I do not have your number.

 

The Bibb County Primary GOP Runoff Election is to be held Tuesday, June 21st, 2022.  There are less than 5 days remaining until Voting will take place to determine the GOP candidate for Bibb County Superintendent of Education.  In this runoff election Mr. Kevin Cotner and incumbent candidate, Duane McGee face off for this important position.  The Centreville Press hosted a candidate forum on June 13th during which only Duane McGee was interviewed and was able to present his response to questions presented by Mike Hobson of The Centreville Press.  Although invited Mr. Kevin Cotner did not attend the forum and was not interviewed.

Voters wishing to hear Mr. McGee’s responses to the questions presented during this forum can click this link to view the recorded live interview.   (Click Here)

After learning that Mr. Costner posted FB messages indicating he was not properly informed of the forum, I felt it was very important to give him another chance to participate in hopes of providing him equal time and also hoping to avoid any appearance of bias.  I contacted Mr. Cotner and learned that he wished to respond to the questions, but not in person, only in writing.  I felt it only fair to contact Mr. McGee to see if he objected to Mr. Cotner’s written response.  Based on Mr. McGee having no objection, I am very pleased to present here, for the consideration of our readers, the following verbatim written response received today from candidate Kevin Cotner.  Mr. Cotner is responding to a number of questions asked during the live interview with Mr. McGee.

Both candidates agree that an informed voter is always best for our community and have both agreed to this presentation.

We Thank You, Gentlemen!

 The Centreville Press encourages each voter to know their candidate’s position on the issues and then – VOTE! on June 21st.

—————————————————————————————– 

From: Kevin Cotner <cotnekd@gmail.com>
Sent: Thursday, June 16, 2022 3:16 PM
To: David Daniel <ddaniel5999@outlook.com>
Subject: Forum
  • School Safety: Parents want to know their children are safe when they send them to school. We need to look at what can we do now while other plans are still in the works. For example, one of the first of the year procedures should be educating the students. I believe one conversation that needs to happen in all classrooms at the beginning of the year is you don’t open a door for anyone. If someone needs in the building, they should either have their keys or can go through the front office. Children are genuinely trusting and if they see someone at a door wanting to get in, they will let them in. We need to educate them about this topic. Second, there are numerous devices that can be installed in each classroom to protect from an intruder. As of now, our protocol is lock the door with our keys. This poses numerous issues. It requires stepping out into the hall and you have to have a key. What if that classroom has a substitute for the day? These devices do not require teachers to open their door and they can be left in a secure location. Those devices would also work for gyms and lunchrooms. Teachers can include in their substitute lesson plans where this device is. Substitutes can be trained at the beginning of the year on these devices as well. Another project would be looking into replacing all external windows with more protective ones. SROs seem to be the best option. Security should be left to those trained in that area. I believe the recently proposed plan is a great start, but not a final solution. If we are able to go in the direction of SROs, we will have to work with the sheriff’s department to determine what their role will be. The hot topic is preventing and protecting from intruders, but what about everyday issues. We need to make sure everyone is aware of what exactly their role will be. If two SROs is going to be the number, I believe we continue to work with our local departments to discuss where to place them. In my opinion our most vulnerable are the elementary schools and those with the current slowest response time of surrounding officers. If SROs are expected to be involved in everyday issues as well then maybe the two high schools would be the best location for them. We also have to make sure we are addressing issues such as doors that don’t operate effectively and cameras that do not function. At the end of the day, school safety should always be at the forefront and continue to be evaluated.
  • School Construction: I was in the initial meeting for the construction projects for WBHS because I was the softball coach at the time. It involved central office employees, administrators, football, softball and band because the proposed projects were related to those extracurriculars. We were offered a covered facility behind the softball field that would act as practice field for football, batting cages for softball, and band practice field. We were concerned with how three activities were going to function in one facility. Another idea with that project was football would receive a turf field. We asked about maintaining the field and it was our understanding the board would only pay for the initial cost and not upkeep. Ultimately, those projects were rejected and an agreement was made on the current construction still underway. I don’t have an issue with using board money for athletic facilities, but I am concerned with the amount that is spent on athletics versus the maintenance of our schools. I believe there are other ways to upgrade athletic facilities. While I was softball coach, we did over $30,000 in renovation to the softball field. We worked with local businesses and parents to compete the projects. If those projects were contracted out, they would have cost hundreds of thousands. My platform has been about needs and wants. If a board member hadn’t spoken up at a board meeting, a local school was going to have to use their local school fund to repair their floors. How do we have millions to spend, but then ask our local schools to use their money for repairs? Our main focus should be maintaining our schools and addressing those needs and working with athletics to fulfill their needs as well.
  • Academics: Our county report card from the state has consistently been a C average. I believe the first need to be addressed is protecting instructional time. We need to do our best to limit the times we pull teachers away from their classrooms. We have great teachers, but they cannot be effective if they are not in the classroom. Another need is communication. We have to make sure we are providing teachers with the resources they need to help our students. District administrators need to look at what each school is excelling in and work to see if those strategies can be implemented in other schools. I am all about academic freedom, but if something isn’t working, we need to be willing to change if it’s for the benefit of the students. We also need to reach out to other school systems that are similar to ours, but achievement is higher. I’m all for collaborating with those schools to hopefully find new ways to help our students. We also have a growing group of students with dyslexia so believe we need to boost our knowledge of how to address the needs of those students as well. As for the career tech programs, the state allots school systems so many vocational positions. I am interested in seeing how we can possibly grow that program as well for students who may be interested in choosing career paths versus college. For students who have chosen college, I believe we need to reach out to those students to determine if we are preparing them to the best of our abilities and determine if there are areas we need to address for future college bound students.
  • Teacher Recruitment: We are losing teachers at a high rate in Bibb County. The majority aren’t retiring. They are leaving for other school systems. I believe there needs to be a conversation as to what is the issue. Teachers and other school personnel need to be brought to the table in these conversations. There needs to be constant communication between the central office and each school. For this to be effective, I believe district administrators need to be more visible in the schools. It shouldn’t just be done through emails, texts or phone calls. Administrators, teachers and other school personnel are the lifeblood of our schools. We should utilize their advice. We have to give people reasons to come to Bibb County instead of leave. As for new teachers, we need to partner with as many local universities as possible. That way we will be able to have more of a selection than just certain universities. We have to be proactive and reach out to teachers/coaches and not wait for them to come to us. Our students, athletes, parents and community deserve this effort.
  • What would you say about campaign and how’s it going? Campaigning has been one of the enjoyments of this journey. It’s been stressful, but it’s been good stress. I have been able to reach out to many groups that I didn’t have a relationship with before this started. I was familiar with Woodstock, West Blocton and Centreville areas, but meeting new people in Randolph, Lawley, Antioch, Brierfield, Brent, Ashby, Eoline, and Pondville areas has been a great experience. We have great people and great communities who want what is best for their schools.
  • Parent Engagement: Over the last two years, we have learned there are a lot of parents who want to be involved in their child’s school. Our school system needs to take advantage of this eagerness. Student success is tied to parent engagement in most cases. As student’s get older, we see a drop in engagement from both parents and students. I feel as students get older there should be more independence from students, but with the same level of parent engagement. Once again, communication is the key. We need to look at what elementary schools are doing that is so effective and adapt that process to the upper grades.
Sent from my iPhone

 

 ——————————————————————————-

On Jun 15, 2022, at 5:10 PM, David Daniel <ddaniel5999@outlook.com> wrote:

Thank you for responding to my offer Mr. Cotner.

I am not of the opinion that a newspaper should normally allow someone being interviewed to have the questions in advance of the interview and especially letting one candidate have questions in advance while the other did not receive the same opportunity seems a good way for the us to be accused of being biased.

This is why I called Mr. McGee after receipt of your stipulations, to be sure he would have the opportunity to object if he felt so inclined.  He did not object.  

Therefore, I will happy to accept your proposition to send your written response to the questions that were asked of Mr. McGee and I will publish them to our on-line publication, the “Bibb Voice” as quickly as possible because I want all we do at the Centreville Press to be done in the best interest of the people and also to treat each candidate fairly.

Your timely response will be much appreciated.

David Daniel

From: Kevin Cotner <cotnekd@gmail.com>
Sent: Wednesday, June 15, 2022 1:36 PM
To: David Daniel <ddaniel5999@outlook.com>
Subject: Re: Political Candidate Forum

Mr. Daniel, 

I have ball games tomorrow night and leave for a conference on Friday. Would you be willing to allow me to give you a typed response to each question Mr. McGee was asked? And I can make a public statement thanking you for reaching out to me and and doing the interview? 

Thanks,

Kevin Cotner 

On Jun 15, 2022, at 9:37 AM, David Daniel <ddaniel5999@outlook.com> wrote:

Hello Mr. Cotner,

This is David Daniel, Publisher of the Centreville Press.

I would like to personally extend to you an invitation to participate in our effort to inform the people of our County about each candidate’s platform, plans and/or goals in your run for  Superintendent of Education for Bibb County.

Mr. McGee has already done an in person interview, as I am sure you already know.  The Centreville Press wants to be sure you also have this same and equal opportunity to reach the voters of our community.

I believe this is an important function of a local News Paper and I will be happy to do this at a time of your choosing.

My personal phone number is 205-534-5520.

As time is of the essence, I look forward to hearing from you about this matter and I wish you all the best.

Thank you,

David Daniel

From: Mike Hobson <mike.hobson@centrevilletech.com>
Sent: Wednesday, June 8, 2022 8:53 AM
To: David Daniel <ddaniel5999@outlook.com>
Subject: FW: Political Candidate Forum

From: Mike Hobson <mike.hobson@centrevilletech.com>
Date: Tuesday, June 7, 2022 at 2:32 PM
To: Kevin Cotner <cotnekd@gmail.com>, Mike Hobson <mike.hobson@centrevillepress.com>
Subject: Re: Political Candidate Forum

We can do that. No questions have been written yet but if the candidates agree we will get them prepared in advance of the forum.

From: Kevin Cotner <cotnekd@gmail.com>
Date: Tuesday, June 7, 2022 at 12:03 PM
To: Mike Hobson <mike.hobson@centrevillepress.com>
Subject: Re: Political Candidate Forum

Mike, 

Will we be given the questions in advance? 
Thanks, 
Kevin Cotner 

Sent from my iPhone

On Jun 7, 2022, at 9:40 AM, Mike Hobson <mike.hobson@centrevillepress.com> wrote:

Kevin: The Centreville Press is sponsoring a candidate forum for the Superintendent run-off. Candidates will be interviewed at the Centreville Press office (no audience or live questions). It will not be a debate format.

We are inviting you to participate. If you participate the interviewer will be myself or David Daniel.
The possible dates are Monday June 13 or Wednesday June 15 between 3-5 p.m.

Please let us know if you would like to participate.

If these dates/times are not workable for you please let us know what alternate times/dates you could be available before the runoff election.

I can be reached at the cell phone number below or leave a message at the press office. I would call you but I do not have your number.

Thomas Michael Hobson, Editor
The Bibb Voice | Centreville Press | Marion Times Standard | Western Star
32 Court Square West
Centreville, AL 35042
Ofc 205.926.9769     Cell 205.370.9586

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David Daniel, 72, is a resident of Bibb County and lives in Centreville. In 1982 David, with the help of his wife Karen, designed and built the first Cable TV system in Bibb County which served all municipalities in the county. In 11/03/2008, David co-authored a book on behalf of the Centreville Historic Preservation Commission called "Bibb County", Images of America, ISBN: 9780738567297. More than 109 families and individuals contributed to this community effort. Daniel enjoys spending time with his wife and grandchildren and he enjoys working with local history enthusiasts.