The students of this county deserve a world-class education. It is not good enough to be the best school system in Georgia or even the best school system in the United States. Our students will be competing with students from all over the world. Their education should allow them to compete effectively in the academic and corporate environment. I teach students from all over the world at Georgia Tech College of Management. I have been impressed with many of the Fayette county students that have come through my classes, but when you look at world-wide test scores, we (on average) have some work to do. Here is a study from 2010. As you can see, the U.S. students do above average with their reading, but are near the bottom in math and science. My vision is that Fayette county will lead the nation in climbing back to the top of these charts. Some say we should do away with AP classes. My vision is that we strive for a day when the AP class is the "normal" class that students take.
The school system belongs to us all. Your input is extremely important. The schools will not be successful without family and community involvement.
I believe that board members are stewards that act on your behalf. It is a position of trust, not a position of authority.
I believe that the Board of Education should always have some financial margin. They should not operate on the edge of insolvency. The fund reserve balance should only be used for unexpected shortfalls. We should not ever PLAN to spend it. What are you going to do next year if the economy does not improve? The Board of Education must be constrained by its revenues. The federal government does not have the same constraints because they can print their own money. We are not the federal government.
The Board needs to learn to say "no."
The board should seek to lower the millage rate. Charging the taxpayers the maximum allowable rate should be done only in times of financial crisis. As the economy recovers, the board should seek to reduce the taxpayer burden. Like an emergency fund, the millage rate should only be maxed out in unusual times. It should not be business as usual.
I believe that the board should have a policy of zero based budgeting. You do not automatically get 5% more every year and then call it a cut when you get only 2% more. Every year, you start with zero - not last year's allocation.
Some students do not want to go to college. They should have the liberty to opt out of college prep classes and have the opportunity to master a skill or a trade so that they will be prepared to become a contributing member to our community. They should be able to acquire the equivalent knowledge of a 2 year technical school by the time they graduate from a Fayette County high school.
I believe that parents of all income levels should have educational choices for their children. Countries with the best scores in math and science allow the money to follow the child to the school of their choice. I believe we should explore free market solutions to improve education.
I believe that the bulk of the money should be spent in the classroom and not on the classroom. We need adequate classrooms, not empty state-of-the art facilities. We should never forget that the most important part of education is bringing together a teacher and a student. If there are austerity cuts, it should be equal percentages, not equal days. We should trim administration to the state allocated level before we ever reduce another teacher's pay.
Students from other counties want to come to Fayette county schools. I believe that if they can pay they can stay. We should explore our legal options. Perhaps we could collect tuition from their parents or from their home county. If they cannot pay, then they are stealing from Fayette county children and they need to be sent home.
I believe that district voting is an injustice. You should have the right to vote for every board member because the decisions of the board impact all students in the county. District voting will motivate board members to behave like the worst politicians. They will try to take as much as they can from your district and give it to their district. Decisions will be made based on "what's in it for me" rather than what is best for the whole county. I think that voting for Board of Education posts should always be "at large."
If you look at my experience and my education I think that you will agree that I am absolutely the most qualified candidate for this position.
I currently teach finance classes at Georgia Tech and I interact with students from all over the world. I know what top-notch colleges are looking for and I see first hand how Fayette county students compete with students from other countries. I believe that I can add a unique perspective and bring some new relationships to the board.
In my previous career, I was an electrical engineer. I worked for Georgia Power Company and Ericsson Private Radio systems. I progressed from design, to project management, to technical sales. I have managed large budgets and big projects. I understand that revenues must be greater than expenses. I believe that the Board will benefit from my varied corporate experiences and corporate relationships.
My educational background is this: I have earned an electrical engineering degree from Georgia Tech and I have earned an MBA and a PhD in Finance from Florida State University.
I am fiscally (and socially) conservative. The men and women who recruited me to run for this position are frustrated with a school board that has built empty schools and voted to spend every last penny of their reserve fund. They want fiscal responsibility and fiscal sustainability. A strong school system is vital to the health of our community and the school system must be financially strong. Excellent teachers will not be attracted to a financially unstable school system.
This November, I want people with our conservative values to fill every office at the local, state, and national level. I can't do everything, but I can do this. THIS is something that I am well qualified for. THIS is an office where I can make a difference. THIS is is the office where I believe my background and qualifications give me the best opportunity to leave the world in a little bit better shape than I found it. This is a place where I can serve right now.
I am for fiscal responsibility, high educational standards, and common sense conservative values.
It will be my pleasure to serve you and your children on the Fayette County Board of Education.