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Little, Knight face questions at forum tonight

By By Georgia E. Frye / staff writer
Oct. 21, 2003
Lauderdale County School Superintendent David Little and challenger Joey Knight will have a chance to talk about education issues at a candidate forum tonight in Meridian.
The forum is intended for school district employees. Parents with children attending county schools, and who plan to vote in the Nov. 4 election for school superintendent, were not invited.
The forum is sponsored by the Lauderdale County American Federation of Teachers, a chapter of the Mississippi American Federation of Teachers one of two teacher unions in Mississippi.
The event is set for 6:30 p.m. in the East Mississippi Electric Power Association auditorium at 2128 Highway 39 North. After speaking for 15 minutes, each candidate will answer questions submitted before the forum.
Election forum
Little, a Democrat and county school superintendent since 1996, will meet Knight, a Republican and principal of Southeast Elementary School, in the Nov. 4 election.
At stake: the chief executive of the Lauderdale County School District a position that pays $72,000 a year. County residents who live in the county school district are eligible to vote in the race.
The school district includes four separate campuses: Southeast Lauderdale, Northeast Lauderdale, West Lauderdale and Clarkdale Attendance Center. This year, more than 6,000 students are enrolled in county schools.
Freeman said she wanted to host the forum to give Little and Knight a chance to make their positions clear to district employees.
Freeman said the forum wasn't initially intended to be open to the public because she felt district employees needed an opportunity to find out where the candidates stand.
Education issues
Maryann Graczyk, president of the Mississippi American Federation of Teachers, will moderate the forum.
Freeman said she choose to have teachers submit questions because each school has its own set of issues and she thought some teachers might be too intimidated to ask questions out loud.
Little said he plans to talk at the forum about improvements he has made in county schools. He also plans to discuss classroom safety and continuing efforts to improve the quality of education.
Knight said he plans to outline his hopes for the district including a prekindergarten program, vocational education, school nurses, smaller classes, parental involvement and classroom safety.