BoE candidates quizzed on closings, 3-2 votes

Fayette Board of Education candidates for Post 1 (L-R) Scott Hollowell and Barry Marchman, and for Post 2 (center to R)  Mary Kay Bacallao and Gary Griffin. Photo/Ben Nelms.

Supt. Bearden’s role questioned, criticized; Tyrone closing iffy

Harvest Christian Community Center in Fayetteville was the setting for a forum for candidates running in two contested races on the Fayette County Board of Education. The forum covered a wealth of topics such as Fayette County School System finances, split votes by the school board, potential school closures and at-large voting.

Participating in the forum were Post 1 candidates Scott Hollowell and Barry Marchman and Post 2 candidates Mary Kay Bacallao and Gary Griffin. Post 2 candidate and current board member Terri Smith, who is running as a Democrat and will not have her race decided until November, did not attend the forum. And though she faces no opposition, Post 3 candidate Marion Key joined the panel and did respond to a number of questions.

One of the questions pertained to the NAACP lawsuit over district voting and the establishment of a majority-minority voting district in north Fayette County. If successful, the current at-large voting method for school board members would be eliminated and would be replaced by voters voting only for the district in which they reside. Candidates were asked how they would have voted if they had been on the school board when that body agreed earlier this year to settle the lawsuit and institute district voting.

Responding first, Bacallao said, “This is the issue I thought was important. I’m disappointed that a majority of the board gave away your right to vote for four of our five board members. I don’t understand why anyone would willingly give up voting rights. If district voting is enacted, our community will be divided. You can already see this happening when discussions about school closures pit Fayette city schools against the schools in Tyrone and Brooks. I think every board member should be accountable to all the voters in the county.”

Next up was Hollowell, who said he was philosophically in favor of at-large voting, adding that are some issues with district voting.

“Had I been on the board the [course] I would have recommended would be to work more with the county commission and coordinate the effort to keep the cost to the school system down,” Hollowell said.

Marchman in his response said he agreed with the idea maintaining voting rights through at-large voting.

“I understand (school board chairman Leonard Presberg’s) position that we didn’t want to waste board of education money to fight the lawsuit, but I don’t know if that was the right position because, like Mary Kay said, you‘re taking away 80 percent of your voting rights,” said Marchman. “I think your voting rights are something worth fighting for. As a taxpayer I don’t think I would have minded if the school board spent the money to fight the lawsuit.”

And Griffin in his response essentially agreed, saying that philosophically, at-large voting is the way to go.

“But I do want to make sure that, if I’m elected, I’m all-inclusive and that we make decisions that celebrate the diversity of the county and the way it’s changing now,” Griffin said. “I would have been against fighting (the lawsuit). I think the budget’s already tight. I think it would have been better to come up with solutions without spending money that the district doesn’t have.”

Key, the only current school board member on the panel, was asked to respond and to address how the board’s vote to settle the lawsuit came about so quickly.

“I did not vote for it. I voted against it because it’s a countywide school system and I think everybody in the county needs to vote for all board members so there is not a split,” said Key. “When we talk about legal issues it’s done in executive session which is the correct way to do it. And I know it was in the newspaper that it had come up.”

Split votes on the board that sometimes occur, such as the 3-2 vote on the lawsuit settlement that included Key and board member Bob Todd in opposition, was the subject of the next question. Candidates were asked whether they are already entrenched with one side or the other and if they would be a guaranteed vote for either side.

Bacallao in her response said, “Because I ran four years ago I couldn’t possibly be entrenched with anybody because I ran, I wanted to run and I felt I had something to offer. Four years later I’m that same person with an expertise in education and who wants the best for our kids.”

Hollowell was up next on the issue of split votes.

“I know sometimes there are things circulating out there that one organization asked me to run or one person asked me to run. Really, it was some PTO parents who asked me to run and that’s why I decided to run,” Hollowell said. “But I think everyone on the board will look at every issue on its own merits and look at data and make decisions that are best.”

Marchman also responded to the question.

“I made a comment at the last board meeting where I strongly disagreed with three of the board members. I think I’m my own person and I can make up my own mind. I want to represent your views on the board. My job is to be the taxpayers’ representative. I’m not representing these two or these two. I’m your representative,” Marchman said.

Griffin in his remarks said he agreed with Marchman’s statement.

“I’m here to represent the residents and citizens of Fayette County. I’m not a go-along to get-along person. I’m very independent-minded and I’ve demonstrated that recently again,” Griffin said, noting his resignation from the Atlanta School System over issues with which he disagreed. “I’ll never sacrifice my integrity when it comes to giving the very best education we can give to our kids.”

Key also responded, saying that when she goes home after a school board meeting she has to live with herself.

“Whether the vote is for or against, it is not that I’m voting ‘with’ (someone). It is the issue that I voted for,” Key said.

The next question was as potent as any asked of the candidates and, arguably, the most important question of the evening. It centered on school system finances and the projection that the school system will have a June 30, 2013 fund balance of approximately $800,000.

By way of background, the school board voted 3-2, and with Todd and Key opposing, to adopt the 2012-2013 budget using nearly all of the $15 million fund balance from 2011-2012 and leaving only $800,000 at the end of the fiscal year next June 30. Even with potential school closures that could save $3.2 million, Superintendent Jeff Bearden has stated on several recent occasions that the next budget will have to be balanced through personnel cuts.

Candidates were asked their position on the current budget and what they would do differently.

Bacallao was up first.

“The current plan uses $14 million of our reserves and leaves $800,000 at the end of the year. That’s way too low,” Bacallao said. “In times past we have actually had to borrow money from SunTrust (Bank) to pay our teachers and that doesn’t give anyone confidence. We want to have confidence in the decisions of the school board and spending our reserves does not instill financial confidence. If I’m elected I would make sure that an Excel spreadsheet of every item in the budget was made public and I would join with others on the board and support zero-based budgeting ... and making sure all the expenditures are in line with our mission which is excellence in education for all our students.”

Hollowell, noting that he would elaborate more as the forum unfolded, addressed what he called the mechanics of building a fund balance.

“The way you do the fund balance is very specific. You have to have a future obligation tied to it. For example, if you wanted to build a fund balance of $2 million you’d set aside $2 million for future litigation costs. What you can’t do is set aside (that) $2 million as a rainy day fund. You have to a reasonable future expense,” Hollowell said. “Obviously it’s hard to build the fund balance in tough times. You build it in good times, but that’s the way, mechanically, you approach that.”

Marchman in his response said a large fund balance is needed to withstand financial emergencies.

“The single most important issue facing the board of education right now is financial sustainability,” Marchman said. “We cannot have a strong school system unless we have a solid financial base. The board recently voted to spend $14 million more than what we’ll receive next year. Just a few years ago the board had a very strong financial base. Then they voted to spend $5 million, $11 million and now $14 million more than they received and at the end of the next school year we’ll be left with about two days worth of money. So we’re going to be forced to take a Tax Anticipation Loan, a payday loan. This is not the path to financial sustainability. We need a large fund balance to carry us through emergencies.”

Hollowell offered a follow-up to Marchman’s remarks, saying the board should obtain information on property tax revenues earlier in the year.

“It’s easy to sit up here and say they spent all the money, they shouldn’t do it. But it is what it is. What are you going to do about it? So one of the suggestions I have is, the information from the tax assessor’s office collected in January, the school board gets it in around May. If they could use some statistical sampling in January that would give them a little bit of a heads-up as to how the tax digest is coming,” said Hollowell, adding that he would offer a pragmatic leadership approach by lobbying the state for an inflation rider to account for the lower levels of funding for public schools for which inflation is not taken into account.

Marchman then responded, saying all this can be forecast without too much margin of error, adding that, “I believe we pay about $14 million in administrative costs and I believe we have enough brain power on the board to balance the budget.”

Next up was Griffin, who said low reserve funds create risks for the school system and that he would like to see alternative sources of revenue identified.

“As I read that the reserve funds were so low, I think that creates risks for the district that were unnecessary. We all live in the real world and know in our personal lives that things happen, and they happen in the school district as well,” Griffin said. “So we have no padding in place for these unexpected expenses that are going to arise. That is a concern of mine. I would want to address that by making cuts to the budget, but more than making cuts and having a reserve, at least 10 percent, what I would most like to do is identify alternative funding and additional sources of revenue and reduce costs.”     

Key also addressed the issue, providing a take on the school board’s comments to Bearden when he proposed the budget.

“Last year we sent the budget back to the superintendent and asked him to cut some things. We need to have a workshop early on and come up with a multi-tiered list of items that can be cut and not wait until the last minute. We need to sit down and plan ahead what can be cut and how much it would save as we see what the revenues are going to be. It doesn’t need to be a last minute decision,” Key said.

Moderator Leslie Edwards noted the perception that the school board continues to add furlough days and reduce benefits to help balance the budget. Bacallao was asked what other cuts could be made beyond those affecting teachers and why teachers are leaving Fayette County.

Bacallao said all the action is happening in the classroom so that is what should be considered first.

“The cuts to be made should not affect the student-teacher relationship,” Bacallao said, adding that she would need more clarity than what was provided in the budget to know which areas to cut.

Responding to a similar question on what other cuts should be made instead of taking it from teachers, Marchman said the state funds 13 fewer principals, then changing his wordage to assistant principals, than the school system currently provides so perhaps that would be a place to start.

“It’s not the board’s job to tell the superintendent how to do his job. It’s the board’s job to set the vision and direction for the superintendent,” said Marchman. “My vision is that the school system will live within its means while budgeting a strong financial base for the future and I don’t think you can attract and keep good teachers in a system that’s living on the edge of insolvency every year. I will vote every time to support the superintendent when he has to make hard decisions that are the right thing for the community.”

Hollowell offered another perspective, saying that he recently spoke with Bearden and had received the impression that “everything was on the table when it came to the budget.” One of Bearden’s suggestions was outsourcing custodial staff so that classroom instruction is not impacted, Hollowell said.

Hollowell said Fayette does pay teachers higher than Douglas, Coweta, Fulton and Forsyth counties, adding that that does not mean Fayette teachers don’t deserve more.

Some of the school system employees in the audience took issue with Hollowell’s remarks. Issue was taken based on a lengthy presentation by teachers earlier this year showing that, based on the daily rate, Fayette pays less in wages than counties such as Coweta County and a number of others in metro Atlanta.

Asked if she wanted to respond, Key said,” When you look at the rate of pay you have to look at the daily rate ... We are way down the line with teachers. I talked to a teacher today who left our school system and went to Cobb County where they are making $7,000 more than they are making here.”

Bacallao also responded, saying the research she has seen agreed with Key’s assessment.

Griffin also weighed in, saying teachers are vital to the delivery of instruction in the classroom. He noted that large sums of money can be saved through analyzing various processes within the school system, though he did not offer any examples of those processes.

“I’m not for arbitrarily cutting teacher pay. But I will say that if cuts to pay or furlough days are necessary they should be based on data and decision points and they have to be fair and equitable across the board. If teachers have to make sacrifices then everybody should have to make sacrifices,” said Griffin. “There are ways to make process improvements if you analyze the different processes within the district and that can save hundreds of thousands, if not millions, and that can balance the budget.”

On another issue, Hollowell was asked to comment on what was said to have been his statement that he would not vote to close Tyrone Elementary School that is situated in his district. He was also asked what determination he would use for closing schools.

“What I actually said was that, first off, the superintendent has not recommended closing Tyrone or Brooks. And the board can only act on what the superintendent recommends. I guess you can keep voting down his proposal until you get the one you want. But what I said was I would support keeping Tyrone open if they fix the sewer and septic issue. I think that has to be a true partnership between the town and the school system,” said Hollowell, adding that he would favor using metrics for school closings that would have the least impact on students.

Hollowell was not correct on Bearden’s proposal to close only three Fayetteville schools with no mention of closing the schools in Brooks and Tyrone. Bearden did recommend the closure of the three Title I schools in Fayetteville on April 9. But one month later, on May 2, Chairman Leonard Presberg in referencing the potential closures said, “We need to look at a proposal that includes more schools than your original proposal.” Presberg’s comment was followed by Bearden referencing the closure of two additional schools with higher pupil cost due to lower enrollment: Tyrone and Brooks.

The subsequent discussion among board members concluded with the consensus agreement that Bearden should develop four optional closure plans for consideration. Those options include the potential closures of Fayette Middle School, Fayetteville Intermediate School, Hood Avenue Primary, and/or Brooks Elementary, and/or Tyrone Elementary and the opening of Rivers Elementary. The recommendation by board member Bob Todd to close Inman Elementary got no traction from a majority on the board.

As a follow-up question, Marchman, who lives in the Tyrone area, was asked about the suggestion by Tyrone Mayor Eric Dial that the Board of Education pay the cost of running sewer to Tyrone Elementary, whether he would vote to have the school system bear the cost or if he had any other ideas on the issue.

 “I would not support spending the school system’s money to build the sewer system. I don’t think we need to set that precedent. I don’t think that’s been done in any other schools,” Marchman said, adding that, “I have a gut feeling that closing Tyrone Elementary is a bad idea.”

Marchman said he hired a Georgia Tech student to do an economic impact study on school closures that found property values declined about 10 percent, which would equate locally to a drop of approximately $600,000 in property values.

“But I would not be a man of integrity if I promised you we would never do that,” Marchman said. “I would like to look at the numbers and do a more detailed economic impact study.”

Hollowell followed up quoting another study that showed a 25 percent drop in property values with a school closure.

Griffin also weighed in on the closure question. He a resident of south Fayette County where Brooks Elementary is located.

“The practical reality is that we’ve got 2,000 more seats than we have students. No one wants to see any school close and I’m in that boat. But taking a more objective view of it, we’re going to have to look at a lot of different factors, not just a single factor, and try to get our emotions out of it,” Griffin said.

Also commenting on the closure issue, Bacallao she is not in favor of closing schools, adding her belief that the closure issue has been used as a distraction from the larger budget issue.

“I look at it from the big picture. For a whole year they (Todd and Key) asked and asked for a budget for this coming year. And (Bearden) would just do pieces of it and wouldn’t provide the budget,” Bacallao said. “So this discussion of school closures, it got everybody off the main point, which was balancing the budget. So because we started talking about all these school closures, and people were worried about that, the budget just went through and it’s the worst budget it could possibly be because it leaves us with no money at the end. So I think it was sort of used to distract us from balancing the budget. I’m not in favor of closing any schools unless I can see more information.”

Marchman jumped in saying that he is for re-purposing Rivers Elementary, the school that would be opened with the closure of the two Fayetteville elementary schools.

“I don’t think we need to redistribute students to a school out in the middle of nowhere,” Marchman said.

 A question from the audience asked what school the candidates’ children attended. Marchman was one of the ones responding to the question since his children are home schooled.

“What if one of the finest teachers in one of the best schools in Georgia designed a custom-tailored program for each one of your seven children where they can have individual instruction in a very small classroom? Would you take that deal?” Marchman asked. “That was the deal that was offered to me. My wife has volunteered to (home school) our children. We moved to Fayette County, in part, because of the school system. We take comfort in knowing that if we ever choose not to do that, we live in the shadow of the finest school system in the state. Furthermore, I’m not running for president of the PTO, I’m running for the school board. I’m running to represent the taxpayers and want to be on the board to represent them. I want to be on the board that spends the majority of your tax money and makes sure (the school system) is held to financially sustainable standards.”

Hollowell then responded saying, “As a point of distinction, I’m running for taxpayers and students. I want to make sure I’m representing students.”

Marchman minutes later noted that he did not appreciate Hollowell’s insinuation that he is not passionate about students and their education.

Another question from the audience was one pertaining to the July 31 vote on the regional transportation T-SPLOST and the continuation of the county education (E-SPLOST) tax expected to be on the ballot in November. Candidates in a two-part question were asked their position on the two taxes.

Hollowell responded first, saying that the T-SPLOST was a complicated issue and that he would be happy to talk with the questioner after the meeting. Pressed on the issue, Hollowell declined to answer. He did not respond to the question on his position on the E-SPLOST.

Marchman said he would vote “no” on both referendum items. Referencing his position on the E-SPLOST, Marchman said, “I think that you need to give this board an opportunity to prove to you that they can handle your money with integrity and responsibility. And until you’ve got a board that can prove to you that they can run the school system as a well-oiled machine and not just keep spending more than we make year after year, only then do we have the right to ask for another penny of your sales tax.”  

Bacallao did not say which way she would vote on either tax.

And Griffin said he was still looking at the T-SPLOST though he was inclined to vote for it based on the support it received from the Fayette Chamber of Commerce. Griffin did not say how he would vote on the E-SPLOST. 

Griffin after the meeting was asked if he intended to step aside if he defeats Bacallao on July 31 to pave the way for Smith to run unopposed in November.

“No. I’m in this thing to win it. There’s no way I would put myself and my family in this if I didn’t want to win,” Griffin said.   

A question that came at the beginning of the forum was of a general nature pertaining to the relationship between the school board and the superintendent. As a sitting board member, Key responded. Her response might have come as a surprise to some in the audience.

The school board does not run the school system, Key said. The superintendent is responsible for the day-to-day operations of the school system.

“We give him direction and we hold him accountable for what he does,” Key said. “That is the basic relationship.”

 Though the school system is the largest tax levying entity in the county, Fayette County, like other public school systems, holds the superintendent more like a CEO who, by and large, makes recommendations that the board either accepts or rejects. Unlike the operation of city councils or county commissions, school boards, including the Fayette County Board of Education, customarily make motions on voting items based on whether “to accept the superintendent’s recommendation.”

Adding additional perspective to the issue, board member Bob Todd on Friday said that, by state law, a school superintendent is responsible to the school board for the successful operation of the school system.

“That’s his one and only responsibility,” Todd said, who served for decades in teaching and administrative capacities in Fayette and other Georgia counties. “It’s the school board’s responsibility through policy to set their expectations for the superintendent to fulfill his or her responsibilities. Under Georgia law a school board is responsible for the operations of the school system, not the superintendent.”

So why do school boards defer to a superintendent?

“For years a superintendent was elected in Georgia. That changed in the 1990s, yet school systems operate like the law never changed,” Todd said.

For a complete view of the two-hour forum visit http://fayettecountyissuesteaparty.org/Assets/Debates/BOE_debate_6-12.mp4

The candidate’s forum was held at the Harvest Christian Community Center in Fayetteville and was sponsored by the Fayette County Local Issues Tea Party.

rogger
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Well well well, this seems to

Please share some updates.

rogger
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Well well well, this seems to

Well well well, this seems to be like an interesting race, I hope the results will all be in the benefit of education. I am interested in this because I am studying for my nursing degree, nursing has changed and I need now all the support I can get.

Peter Pfeifer
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Presberg & the Parade

We saw Presberg. He was marching with the Obama group.

inmyopinion
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BOE Candidates -Smola/ Hollowell

Ms. Smola is ineed a very polarizing factor on the BOE,thus kudos for not running for this election. However upon further review, Mr. Hollowell is a hand picked follower of Smola --- and thus merely a replacement

suggarfoot
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Smola/Hollowwell

"Mr. Hollowell is a hand picked follower of Smola --- and thus merely a replacement"

Smolla sent Hollowell to a Tyrone meeting for the school instead of going herself. Her little hand picked lap dog. What she doesn't realize in her arrogance, is that any association with her is the kiss of death for a candidate. I live in her neighborhood and the joke for years was that whomever's campayne sign was in her yard, was who the neighborhood voted against!

G8rgirl
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misinformation

It is unfortunate the amount of blantant inaccuracies posted by some bloggers on The Citizen. The now previous PTO president of Tyrone Elementary contacted Scott Hollowell and invited him to the town meeting and I contacted Barry Marchman and asked him to attend.
Sugarfoot, your obivious disdain for Smola is clear, however she is not running for re-election. Post 1 is about Hollowell and Marchman and who the people of Fayette County believe will represent them the best on the Board of Education. Smearing one candidate's name to make the other look better really in the end just makes you look bad.

My vote is for Scott Hollowell.

Veritas
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.

.

Activist in Training
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Fascinating discussions...???

First, let me congratulate both Mr. Marchman and Mr. Hollowell for caring enough to take time from their careers and their families and not only run for office but actually fervantly desire to win and thus gain the honor of taking even more time away from their families and careers. In fact, let me thank their wives for their support as well.

Really, take a minute...they all deserve our praise.

I suspect the same respect is due Mrs. Smola. I sense that I'm stepping on a landmine here as I've heard that she's been a polzarizing figure and I'm not one of her drones (did someone really say that?!?!?!), but I'd hope that if her intent was actually malicious she'd have been removed before now.

The financial status of our school system is indeed deplorable -- and there's not too much comfort to be gleaned from the fact that this is true throughout communities nationwide. We do, however, have a fabulous school system here in county and I'm sure that both Mr. Hollowell and Mr. Marchman wish to see our students continue to flourish.

On a slightly humorous, but sarcastic front...I want to make a joke about GA Tech being the college for the best and brightest...I'll refrain though and simply agree that it is a fabulous school and undoubtedly the best engineering school here in Georgia. Any professor at GA Tech has proven themselves very intelligent and kudos to Mr. Marchman for being a part of that illustrious community.

There has been much talk on qualifications and merits.

I think it is clear that on theoretical financial merits, Mr. Marchman has the edge. In fact, it's got to be a whole lot more than an edge. However, when it comes to practical matters it's not nearly as clear to me. To run his own business and to have had his career, Mr. Hollowell has certainly also shown quality financial acumen. If required to pick, I probably still give Mr. Marchman the nod, but both gentlemen meet my financial standards.

Although I agree that a minimum level of financial acumen is critical, the real solution to our financial woes will involve understanding how our school system functions and identifying ways for it to function more efficiently, or perhaps even completely differently. To that end, I'd think someone with a Management Consulting career with perhaps an Industrial Engineering background would be what we most desire.

With four educators already on the board I like that Mr. Hollowell is a non-educator. I like that his business is here in the community. More importantly though, I like that he's been involved in his school's PTO and has been attending school board meetings for years.

Deciding where to send your children to school is both a difficult and intensely personal decision. I applaud the Marchmans for caring about their children's education enough to take the time to personally educate them. However, this does seem a fairly serious issue in a candidate for school board. Although not a litmus test, it does give Mr. Hollowell an edge in terms of understanding the inner workings of our local school system and seeing first hand the impact of school board decisions.

My vote is going to Mr. Hollowell.

Please do your own research and get involved. I confess that I'm finding it rather fun ;)

http://votehollowell.com

http://www.barrymarchman.com/Home.html

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@activist

I am guessing that you were at the meeting? Did you happen to hear Janet yell, "shut up" to Marion? I know several people did (myself included). Unfortunately, after this display my opinion of her is that she is an uncouth pig. One must always see for oneself.

In addition, I left the meeting with the feeling that Mr. Hollowell is a bit inept. I'm sure he is a very nice man and a wonderful, father/PTO pres/husband/etc. However, he did not appear to have his facts straight at the meeting. I believe his wife is a prof at Clayton State, and if I am not mistaken she teaches ed courses? If this is the case (I did read his bio, but can't remember everything) then surely she knows the state of affairs for GA teachers, especially those in FC. When I talk to the GSU profs about the interns (student teachers) they are on top of things and advise their interns accordingly. I have to question Mr. Hollowell's lack of basic knowledge about FC teacher pay as compared to the surrounding counties.

Remember everyone...you can vote today!

suggarfoot
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Smolla yelled "shut up"at Marion Keys at meeting?

"I am guessing that you were at the meeting? Did you happen to hear Janet yell, "shut up" to Marion? I know several people did (myself included). Unfortunately, after this display my opinion of her is that she is an uncouth pig. One must always see for oneself. "

I hate to hear that such a lady as Marion, had to put up with an "uncouth pig" as you put it, but I'm not surprised. Marion as always been a lady, and Smola, along with being a loud mouth, control freak, as always been in my eyes, as you say, an "uncouth pig".

Lepards don't change their spots. And Holloway being Smola's choice won't help him.

Smola and Smith have created quite a mess for someone to clean up.

Veritas
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Qualifications and experience Need

To be weighed carefully, rationally and logically. 15yrs experience of financial analysis and financial modeling for multibillion and multimillion dollar companies' versus 6 years experience of Edward Jones and LPL personal financial advising office 
( how many employees , operating cost , budget )not even remotely comparable.  ( you do know all of this is run via Edward Jones and LPL not the financial advisor..go to both companies web pages and research how to become a financial salesman ... Oops advisor and how to get an office).
"A. Edward Jones pays your setup costs and continues to pay your rent and utilities. In addition, the firm provides office furniture, four framed prints, a copier, a communications system, two computer terminals, a laser printer, a fax machine and a VCR. Edward Jones may also pay for additional expenses. Contact the Recruiting department for additional information." 
http://careers.edwardjones.com/us/fa/StartingYourFinancialSalesCareer/Th...
I would like to see what licenses Mr.Hollowell holds since none are listed in his Bio, Resume or LinkedIn 
ie CFP .. Certified Financial planner..PFS personal finance specialist ...CPA ..etc
He is not listed as such.
As to the inner workings  of education the nod goes again to the individual who actually works in education and knows how it functions financially and legally. Just because you volunteer or are a PTO president or All Star volunteer does not even remotely give you insight into the nuances of educational operation and finance... It's utterly laughable that people would even consider it viable. The real issue is the FACT that Dr. Marchman has been man enough to say every option , bar none must be  evaluated and weighed and considered . Mr.Hollowell can't even be forthright and make a decision ( for the T-Splost next meeting Against then won't answer at last forum).

It is a free country for an individual to make their personal decision. Just try and make it and educated one.

My support and vote is for Dr.Marchman

Y oh Y
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Veritas - question

"To be weighed carefully, rationally and logically. 15yrs experience of financial analysis and financial modeling for multibillion and multimillion dollar companies' versus 6 years experience of Edward Jones and LPL personal financial advising office"

Did Dr. Marchman hold any financial title such as Analyst, Accountant, Controller, ... in charge of the finanical analysis and modeling above or was his title along the engineer line? Looking at his information I thought his real world experience was in enginering. I am sure he had significant input, but was he in charge? Or did he have a Finance partner who was really accountable? Went to his website and did not see but you seem to know so any clarity would help. Thanks.

Activist in Training
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Agree to disagree

Looks like we must simply disagree.

I'm looking specifically at these statements:

I, Activist in Training, said:
"More importantly though, I like that [Scott Hollowell's] been involved in his school's PTO and has been attending school board meetings for years."

Veritas said:
"Just because you volunteer or are a PTO president or All Star volunteer does not even remotely give you insight into the nuances of educational operation and finance... It's utterly laughable that people would even consider it viable."

Scott Hollowell has children in our public school system. Barry Marchman does not.

Scott Hollowell has attended school board meetings for years. Barry Marchman has not.

Scott Hollowell has been active at his children's school (Kedron Elementary) for years. Barry Marchman has not.

Barry Marchman is a college Finance professor. Scott Hollowell is not.

Barry Marchman has been involved in the financial and legal aspects of his university system (that's included in the argument above -- mildly irrelevant to me as they are very different types of school systems, but has this been beyond the normal professorial involvement - was he in charge of the school's budget or something?). Scott Hollowell has not.

From those facts, Veritas concludes that Barry Marchman would have more insight into the "nuances of educational operations and finance" in our K-12 school system. I, however, conclude that Scott Hollowell would have the greater insight.

Disagree with my position if you wish, but considering it utterly laughable...seems...well...joking aside, it just seems wrong.

Activist in Training
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Fascinating discussions...???

Yikes...posted twice...can't find the delete button...sorry!

Veritas
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4 educators ... Try 2

Pressburg has never worked in public education as a teacher or any capacity and Terri Smith as a teacher maybe three yrs at most. (less though I believe)

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Speaking of Pressburg

I saw him at the Parade Wednesday morning, he was walking down the line of entrants to the parade and came upon the McIntosh Marching band and didn't even slow down. The Only Organization representing the FCBOE at the parade and the Chairman of the BOE didn't have the decency to stop and say hello/good morning or anything else to these kids or for that fact the Band Director. That just tells/confirms to me that he's not in it for the kids, of course we all knew that.

Veritas
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Dondol

It's called Self Importance.

Davids mom
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Geez

Maybe he didn't speak to them because he rode to the area on the bus with them? (Don't know this to be true - but to say Pressburg is not for 'kids' is ludicrous.

Dondol
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DM - Pressburg

No mom he didn't ride a bus to the event with them. He came from the head of the parade walking toward the end about 30 minutes before the parade began. He walked within 6ft of the McIntosh Music director and did not even turn his head in her direction. I was standing there watching the whole thing, couldn't believe my eyes.

Veritas
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Yes Please do your research

And make a truly informed decision. Talk to the candidates, attend the forums, read their Bios, resumes and web pages as I have done. It puzzles me though how people can blindly support someone who has contradicted his own position on the T-splost at two different forums and then refuses to answer at this forum. Yes please read each candidates qualifications and make a truly informed decision. It also concerns me that with the current financial crisis facing this system having some one who works in education and has a real financial background and understanding that applies itself to school finance is not considered important to some. Do the research become informed and then decide.
The last time a pseudo finance guru was put on this board (still sitting on the board for the last time thank god) look where their financial experience .... cough ..cough...has gotten us and they had kids in the system.

The Mole
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Honesty

I have a problem with honesty. The following quote is taken from Mr. Hollowell's website:

“I recently attended the Memorial Day Services in Peachtree City and found myself deeply moved and humbled by the sacrifices of our military and their loving families. Standing amongst veterans and neighbors reinforced my desire to serve my community."

I thought he had an epiphany to run while at the Memorial Day Service. He said this was the case at the PTC Rotary. Now he says a PTO asked him to run. Which is it?

Yes. Please read all materials the candidates put out. Then speak with each one before you decide. This vote is crucial for our schools.

tgarlock
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Mole wrong about Scott Hollowell

Mole, you should take care with accusations. Since you questioned Scott Hollowell's honesty about Memorial Day, please consider this.

I was the keynote speaker at that PTC event - an honor for me. I'm a bit uncomfortable that it may sound like chest-thumping, but I can tell you that Scott was clearly moved when I talked to him after the ceremony, and he told me being there had reinforced his thoughts about doing something he had always resisted - running for office, making a difference on the county school board. I told him he was a better man than me for enduring the pounding of a campaign. You were dead wrong in questioning what he said about Memorial Day, I was there.

I'm going to vote for Scott because I know him to be honest, passionate about our community, business-savvy and he has two young kids in the public school system, giving him skin in the game for a long time.

Now here's the important part, Mole. I don't know Mr. Marchman, other than he is a GA Tech Finance professor living in Tyrone and has 7 home-schooled kids. But I think he deserves my presumption that he is a good man. Maybe we have in this race the gift of two good men offering to serve in that office, and because I choose to vote for Scott that does not mean I need to, or should, take unwarranted swings at Mr. Marchman.

That's what is wrong with politics, well, one example anyway. Someone has to be demonized in order to select someone else. We should be careful in questioning the character of one to vote for another. We should be better than that.

That's as close as I will get to a sermon this morning.

Terry Garlock

Davids mom
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Mr. Garlock

Amen!

Davids mom
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Oops!

.

Veritas
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Mr.Garlock

I'm sure both candidates are fine men. But I do have cause for concern when one has been publicly disingenuous as to his position as Mr.Hollowell has when at a Council meeting states he supports the T-Splost but then at a tea party forum says he is against it and now refuses to answer at this forum? This calls his honesty to become suspect to me. By the way every single tax payer in this county has " Skin in the game". Just sayin.

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Veritas, TSPLOST has nothing to do with . . .

. . . running for the school board. Maybe Scott is wavering on TSPLOST, don't know and don't care. That litmus test for school board candidates is almost as absurd as David Barlow's demanding public officials declare their religious beliefs.

Terry Garlock

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TGarlock

Correct ... T-Splost has nothing to do with the BOE but making contradicting statements has a great deal to do with integrity and honesty towards your constituents. If he is your friend ask him of his statement when questioned at the tea party forum why his position changed to no " I just told them what they wanted to hear". Also for your comparison to Barlow's religious fiasco there is none. This has everything to do with what can we believe from what he says. You appear to be an intellegent man but .. Very weak defense /excuse/ comparison Mr. Garlock very weak.

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Right on Terry, having 2 good candidates is possible

Doesn't happen often, but it does. Might very well be happening here with Marchman and Hollowell.

The problem with good men or others that run for local office for the first time is they look uphill to more experienced politicians - specifically those that have been elected to higher office and then they copy them. The name-calling, attack ads and demonization of opponents or even groups that support an opponent starts at the top and works its way down the food chain. Don't have to look much further than President Obama or some of the Republicans in the primary sniping at one another. Sadly it works. It is how people like Haddix and Brown get elected and I fear we will be electing someone to county commission or school board this time who will surprise us in a not so positive way. Almost has to be so with so many candidates we mostly don't know.

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Verotas is so right...look at the damage smola did

" The last time a pseudo finance guru was put on this board (still sitting on the board for the last time thank god) look where their financial experience .... cough ..cough...has gotten us and they had kids in the system."

It will take years to dig out of the hole she created and the damage she did. Baffeling the public with BS and half truths are NOT WHAT WE NEED!

Dr Marchman is the logical choice!

suggarfoot
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Verotas is so right...look at the damage smola did

" The last time a pseudo finance guru was put on this board (still sitting on the board for the last time thank god) look where their financial experience .... cough ..cough...has gotten us and they had kids in the system."

It will take years to dig out of the hole she created and the damage she did. Baffeling the public with BS and half truths are NOT WHAT WE NEED!

Dr Marchman is the logical choice!

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Banter is nice.....

I have children that attend school in Fayette county. I volunteer at school and within the community and I keep up with what is going on. I encourage people to do some research and vote. I'm not so presumptuous as to say that my criteria are the only criteria for selecting a candidate. I have talked to both candidates, I have looked at their websites and facebook pages and I have made my decision. I am voting for Scott Hollowell. Don't want to do the research? Then get your information from people you know and trust. Would I take advice from random people? Nope. I read the Citizen and the numerous opinions....with a grain of salt. All this banter is nice, and I am sure it helps bring traffic to the website but in the end people need to make their own educated voting decisions and not rely on the abundant opinions of strangers.

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Teaching finance is one

Teaching finance is one thing, applying finance in the real world is different. I want someone with proven financial experience making tough financial decisions on my behalf. My vote is for Scott Hollowell.

Veritas
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G8rgirl make informed decisions

Now you make it obvious you haven't even looked at the qualifications. Once you found out his children were not in the school system that was it for you.   

Dr. Barry Marchman 

Financial analysis was one of his many duties at Georgia Power 1982-1995

Financial modeling another of his many duties while at TSE Ericsson 
1995-1997

He is obviously more versed and experienced in finance ,especially in business models than Mr.Hollowell. Does Mr. Hollowell have any corporate or business finance experience that would transfer knowledge to our school system? Not according to his own resume.
At Edward Jones There are no age requirements, college requirements and no finance background required . A person with such a limited background completes a 9 month training program to become an advisor. This training deals with stocks, mutual funds equities and retirement and deals in life insurance for individuals. This training  is not a corporate or business focused training ( in reality it is more of a sales training program) and does not apply itself in educational finance.

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Think?

If the criteria for serving on the school board is to have children in the school system, then most of us in this county would not be able to run for school board, including 4 out of the 5 currently on the board.

If I follow your logic, since I do not have any children in the school system, then I do not want my taxes supporting the school district.

The school system in this county affects all of us, including those whose children do not attend Fayette County Schools.

g8trgrl
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Can't vote for a man whose childrren are not in county schools

I had a feeling Marchman's kids were not in public school. After seeing his web site talking about all the places you would see him & he never mentioned a school. I will not be able to vote for him - no matter how great his resume' is. I feel you HAVE to have kids in the system to know what is really going on. Glad that question was answered for me.

Veritas
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Thank you for your honesty.....

In my opinion ....Seriously,flawed logic but Thank you for being honest.

Veritas
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.

.

Veritas
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.

.

The Mole
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PTO PRES

Which PTO pres? Tyrone Elementary?

Smart Woman
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Most qualified candidate

Scott Hollowell has a degree in communication and journalism. His financial experience began in January 2006. http://www.linkedin.com/pub/scott-hollowell/14/755/45b.

Dr. Marchman has a PhD in finance and is an educator who knows what type of student school districts should be producing.

I will vote for the person who is most qualified as both an educator and has finance knowledge.

Mr. Hollowell may be a nice man but it is evident from this article that his facts come from Bearden. (“breakfast with Bearden”) You would think that a man with extensive background in “news” would know better to check his facts than listen to the superintendent who seems only to want the public to have certain information.

G8rgirl
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Hollowell is a better choice.

I happen to be friends with the former PTO president that knows Scott Hollowell and asked him to run for the BOE. He is actively involved as a parent at Kedron Elementary, and is a local financial advisor. He has the financial experience necessary and is committed to the success of our public schools, not just for his own children but for ours as well.

www.votehollowell.com

Veritas
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G8rgirl why?

Just curious as to how you see Hollowell as a better choice.  Help me to make an informed decision.

Hollowell : degrees 
BA general communication
MA journalism

Finacial experience: 
4yrs Edward Jones advisor
2 yrs continuing- LPL financial advisor
Why at a Council meeting does he state he supports T-Splost but at a tea party forum says he is against it and now refuses to answer at this forum?
Marchman
Degrees 
BEE Electrical Engineering
MBA Entrepreneurship, finance 
PH.D Finance

Finance:
Multiple graduate degrees in the field.
5yrs continuing - teaching finance at Ga.Tech
3yrs teaching finance and business at florida A&M

I also note that you said in an earlier post that you would not vote for anyone who does not have children in the school system. Is this the primary basis for your decision?

g8trgrl
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Veritas

Just to be clear G8rgirl & G8trgrl are two different people. I have been online since 2007 - that person -since 2010. I said I would not vote for Marchman since he home schools his children. He has had little to no interaction with any school in Fayette & is going to look at the financial aspect of the school system. I would like to see a mix of this. I would like to see a person who has dealt with teachers, schools & had their children in the classroom to really understand what our schools are going through. I am sure Marchman is a highly qualified individual, he is just missing that piece of puzzle for ME.

Someone mentioned 4 of 5 on BOE don't have children in system. Smola did (son was also a teacher), Smith does, Presburg does, Todd has grandchildren in Fayette school & his son was, don't know about Key - but I have never voted for her.

G8rgirl
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Changed my pic to cut down on

Changed my pic to cut down on the confusion between our similar names.

G8rgirl
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Changed my pic to cut down on

Changed my pic to cut down on the confusion between our similar names.

The Mole
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Children in the school system

You said you couldn't vote for Marchman because he had no children in the school system. Adults aren't children.

suggarfoot
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il = Smola

"would like to see a person who has dealt with teachers, schools & had their children in the classroom to really understand what our schools are going through. I am sure Marchman is a highly qualified individual, he is just missing that piece of puzzle for ME. "

Are you kidding me?..."interaction with teachers"...he is a PROFESSOR! His wife also has a teaching degree...so that is why the homeschooling.

Holloway doesn't come close to the background in education, finances, or everyday experience, much less morals of Marchman.

Nice sleezy try Smola...you know you were so outclassed you couldn't run, nor could you run on your record. second string is just that, and a really bad one. Really bad try to hold on to power.

Your kid didn't have a teaching degree, but a Mama on the school board! so yes, he did teach, when others WITH A TEACHING DEGREE were walking the streets looking for a job. That is nothing to be proud of.

g8trgrl
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What did Smola try?

Hey suggargoot - what did Smola try? Backing Holloway?

Still can't vote for Marchman, but luckily we live in a country that lets me vote for who I want - even if it is strange logic. Maybe it is, it just bothers me that he has not sent a kid to public school. My vote, my choice. I am happy to say I never voted for Smola or Smith. I voted for Dave Houston & Mary Kay Bacallao last time.

suggarfoot
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g8trgrl-t8trgirl -Smola

Just forget trying to find flaws with Marchman...he doesn't have any.

"I would like to see a person who has dealt with teachers, schools & had their children in the classroom to really understand what our schools are going through. I am sure Marchman is a highly qualified individual, he is just missing that piece of puzzle for ME. "

Dealt with teachers? He is a professor! His wife has a degree also as a teacher...so that is the deal with home schooling...wish I had been so lucky. Smola (yours are out of school here) have been for a long time. Your kid didn't have a teaching degree, but a Mama on the school board! so yes, he did teach, when others WITH A TEACHING DEGREE were walking the streets looking for a job. That is nothing to be proud of.

Veritas
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.

suggarfoot
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Marchman is the man!!!!!

Mr Marchman doesn't just know about money...he is a professor of economics at Georgia Tech...the college for the best and brightest!

We are sooo lucky he is running. Hollowman is Smola's boy. I think Smola isn't running because she knows she is so outclassed. She is sending in her drone in hopes of still holding some sort of power. How very sad for the housewife with a fantasy of power. How sad that the apathy in Fayette county made that possible long enough for her to ruin the stability of the schools!
Good people go vote!!!!!!

suggarfoot
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Marchman is the man!!!!!

Mr Marchman doesn't just know about money...he is a professor of economics at Georgia Tech...the college for the best and brightest!

We are sooo lucky he is running. Hollowman is Smola's boy. I think Smola isn't running because she knows she is so outclassed. She is sending in her drone in hopes of still holding some sort of power. How very sad for the housewife with a fantasy of power. How sad that the apathy in Fayette county made that possible long enough for her to ruin the stability of the schools!
Good people go vote!!!!!!

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