Wednesday, October 3, 2012

My Voting Guide for November 2012: Part 2

Now for the next race on my November ballot: Fayette County Board of Education:

For County Board of Education Post 2
TERRI SMITH - (Incumbent) Democrat

First, some reasons not to vote for Terri Smith. She seems to have some math problems. As evidence, the budget she voted for in which expenses exceed revenues to the tune of $14.2 million. Also, there's the $12.2 million "paperwork error" on her personal financial disclosure statements from 2008.

Next, there's her jump from the Republican party to Democrat. Any time a political figure jumps party, in either direction, we need to know why. In Smith's case, she does write on her Facebook page about why she switched. She says she believes that school board races should be non-partisan. Maybe she's right. But if that's really her motivation, then perhaps she should run as an Independent, instead of picking a party. But hey, that's just my take on it.

She says that her new party is better aligned with her own ideas for education. In particular, she strongly opposes both vouchers and charter schools. She says that they are all about draining funding from public schools. Ask any financially-challenged parent who is trying to take a more active role in their child's education, particularly in districts which treat the parent as the "little guy", and I'm sure you'll hear a different tune. The fact of the matter is, the money we pour into our public schools in Georgia is far above the national average, and we're still way at the bottom of the list in terms of results. Maybe, just maybe, the problem isn't a matter of not spending enough. Maybe the problem is that we aren't spending well. We can't rely on just the top-down pinch of state and federal mandates to improve our schools. We also need the bottom-up pinch of parent power. Charter schools and vouchers are just two ways of giving more power to the parents.

So, what about Mary Kay Bacallao? She supports zero-based budgeting for the school system. She wants to publish the school budget in the form of an Excel spreadsheet, open to scrutiny by any constituent. Those are some pretty positive ideas. Mary Kay Bacallao gets my vote for school board.

There's one more post to go, on the proposed state Constitutional Amendments and the Education SPLOST. Stay tuned....

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