The Picture Is Clear
It’s clearer to me now. The clarity of why I’m even running for a third term on the Hall County Board of Education.
I had thought about stopping after two terms, but something in my gut wouldn’t let me do it. As I see things like Common Core and how the Federal Government is ever increasing it’s unwanted presence into our school system, I believe that the board of the next four years will have challenges that we can’t even imagine.
That’s why I’m running again. I have experience, I have the knowledge, and I hope and pray that I have shown the integrity that one should have to lead students and educators.Yes, it would have been easier if I had avoided this runoff with simply two more votes. Yep, that was a bummer. I defeated my 2nd place primary opponent by over 2700 votes, but that’s just the way it goes sometimes. The infamous 49.99% will remain in my memory for quite a while.
However, that’s not what concerns my heart about this school board campaign. Yes, I would like to win, but there are much larger issues at stake. Issues that concern how we are to proceed into future school board elections. How our children will perceive their leaders. Many educational leaders believe, as I do, that Hall County School Board Campaigns are not the place to employ the type of politics we have seen in this race. The focus has been upon attacks on the board, the administration, and of course, yours truly, rather than a laser like focus on how to better educate the precious students of Hall County.
Twice in the last eight years I put my hand on the Bible and took an oath to God to faithfully perform my duties as required of me by law to the best of my abilities, and to support the Constitution of the United States. I am a conservative Republican who holds strongly to Judeo/ Christian values, and the oath is to no man, no party, no special group. When my hand is on the bible, the oath is to the Almighty.
So, here is my simple question as a 55 year old, two term board member. “Have we just now been ushered into a totally new era of negative, unhealthy, local school board politics?” If this becomes the standard in Hall County it comes at a cost to our students. On the local school board campaign level, it’s just too close to a 1st grade class, middle school, or high school class. They have eyes and ears.
I’ve fielded attack after attack after another attack. Dr. Traci McBride, a career educator who ran an honorable, issues based campaign has firmly endorsed me. She just missed the runoff by less than 10 votes and is also greatly concerned about this topic as well.
While we have one of the most recognized and honored school systems in the state, our leadership has had to consistently put out fires by the young opponent so eager to get into politics. Are our students seeing people just accept this type of campaigning by their would-be leaders as okay? I submit to you that it is not okay. Hall County School Board races are typically run on issues. They are run with dignity, respect, and honor. This is not Washington, D.C. attack politics. Or, it shouldn’t be.
There is not a single member on our board who has been elected to their post with a “win at all cost” mentality. My colleagues on the board are experienced and seasoned. Together we have been tested by the fire of adversity and come out stronger and wiser for it. That’s why the Sloan Team has run the kind of campaign we have- focused on my experience and how I can use those many lessons I’ve learned in my 55 years to serve the students and educators in Hall County.
In five years we have taken 23 of our 33 schools and made them schools of choice, either by means of Charter schools or Programs of Choice meaning that a child no longer has only one option for schools. We have met the requirements to become a GSBA Distinguished Board for 2014-15. Last year we were the only school in the nation to win the School Safety Award from the National Association of School Resource Officers. I led the fight to keep the higher number of School Resource Officers that we have in place.
In this year’s academic state testing, 27 out of 30 tested areas showed significant improvement. 28 out of 30 tested areas matched or outpaced state growth rates.
From the 2010 School year until the end of the 2014 school year, property taxes went down 4.9 million dollars, and this year we lowered the millage rate, but unfortunately not enough for my opponent as the attacks keep coming.
My first roles are as husband, father, and Worship Pastor. And all three of those prevent me from campaigning in the same fashion as the campaign I’ve faced.
So, therefore, I hope that the wonderful people in Hall County will understand this, what our children are seeing in this race, and ask themselves if this is how they want their board to be run. I believe Hall County’s answer is an absolute no. This unified and successful board that leads quality successful educators and students should stay in place for now.
I ask you to consider these issues and I humbly asked for your vote this Tuesday, July 22nd.
Hall County Board of Education. Post 2