Political newcomers Kyla Cromer, 48, and Kelly Marlow, 45, may be new to campaigning, but are both old hands at being involved on the education scene.
Cromer, who taught for nine years, worked as a director of education for Sylvan Learning Center and volunteered as a PTA president and chairperson, calls herself a consensus builder and listener who possesses the knowledge to help Cherokee County schools.
Marlow, a proponent of Cherokee Charter Academy, has volunteered as room mom, PTA board member and PTO leader and calls herself a lifetime advocate for children. Before she became a mother, she worked as a professional in the health care industry and later as a preschool and substitute teacher.
Cromer, who is married and has two children, says the most pressing issue facing the local school system is the budget and shortfall in funding.
“Because of decreased revenue from both local and state resources and a continued increase in student population, the schools are being asked to do more with less,” Cromer said. “If elected, I would make fiscally responsible decisions for all students, teachers and parents.”
Marlow, married for 15 years and the mother of 9-year-old twins, said she believes the single biggest weakness in the school system is communication.
“With a budget in excess of $500 million, we must find ways to engage the community at large in a more robust conversation,” Marlow said. “No longer should it be acceptable that the only time we hear from the citizens is during a three minute, one-way comment at a monthly school board meeting. As the next school board member in the Cherokee County School District, I intend to hold regular town hall meetings and I will make it my mission to meet with parents, taxpayers, community leaders and lawmakers who both support and oppose the initiatives of the district.”
Marlow said on House Resolution 1162 that she applauds the state legislature for responding to the taxpaying citizens of Cherokee County bu approving a bipartisan resolution that gives the power to the voters.
The resolution sponsored by Senate Majority Leader Chip Rogers (R-Woodstock) allows for the voters in November to decide to give the state the right to create charter schools.
“The decision to allow for a basic right of appeal is fundamental. Do the innovative parents and educators in our community deserve less than the common criminal?” Marlow said. “As an added bonus, the Legislature made sure that the language of HR1162 states explicitly that no local funds will be used to support these public schools over the objection of local boards. It’s simple. Parents want options and teachers want jobs.”
Cromer says the resolution is not really about school choice or charter schools.
“It is about changing the state’s Constitution to allow an appointed board to approve special schools that have been denied by the local school board,” Cromer said. “Any time power shifts away from the local elected body to a non-elected state body, control is taken away. The ability to appeal a local school board’s decision to the state school board already exists; therefore, implementation of this amendment would waste taxpayer’s money by creating another level of state bureaucracy.”