Incumbent School Board Member Kim Cochran, 30, is facing challenger and political newcomer Patsy Jordan, 56, for the seat in the Republican Primary July 31.
Cochran, who lives in Free Home with her husband and two children, has a bachelor’s degree from Agnes Scott College and a master’s degree from Georgia State University. She is now a stay-at-home mom after teaching as a high school teacher.
Jordan, a Ball Ground resident, is married and has an education specialist’s degree in curriculum and instruction. She now works as a college supervisor and tutor.
Cochran says after completing her first term on the board her proven record and commitment to voters make her the best candidate.
“I am a proven public servant who has upheld my commitment to voters by being an effective, conservative, and independent voice on the BOE,” Cochran said. “I am invested in the future of this system and the need for it to truly work for our kids and community. I make myself available to constituents and always make researched, considered decisions by respecting the needs of all stakeholders in our county.”
Jordan points to her 35 years of experience in education as preparing her for the job.
“Throughout my career, I worked as a paraprofessional, school secretary, county payroll officer, school bus driver, classroom teacher, tutor and college supervisor,” Jordan said. “I have great respect for every position in the school system. I have a passion for teaching and learning and understand the importance of every child receiving a quality education regardless of gender, ethnicity, religion or socioeconomic status.”
Cochran says the biggest problem facing the school system is funding and needs to be addressed by identifying the right cuts and reducing spending.
“Our lack of system revenue originates from the recession’s depressed tax base, which has impacted everyone. In 2010, I opposed the millage rate increase because I felt government should “tighten its belt” the way families have done everywhere,” Cochran said.
“Regardless, we are within one mill of our cap, meaning that there is no way to tax our way out of shortfalls. Our challenge, therefore, is restructuring and identifying cuts by determining what it is we value most in our system. We claim to prioritize classrooms, and I have demonstrated and will continue to demonstrate that by funding classroom expenses over others,” according to the incumbent.
Jordan says the biggest problem facing education is decreasing funding.
“Decreased state and federal funding, and lower property values, have resulted in furlough days, larger class sizes and decreased faculty through attrition,” Jordan said. “I would encourage the local board of education and state delegation to work together and communicate for the benefit of all students, parents and employees. As adults and role models, it is the responsibility of all involved in the decision making to do everything possible to let all stakeholders know that the school board is a working team for the best educational opportunities for every child.”
Cochran said local control of the district means direct accountability to the stakeholders in the local school system, especially over the local funds collected.
“We are elected to serve the community as a whole by preparing its future members to be an educated, capable populace,” Cochran said. “The most local control is the source closest what is being considered, which in our position is children. Thus, it is absolutely imperative that we not only protect but promote parental control and the role they play in the education of their children, regardless of educational model.”
Jordan said she believes local control means the school board should set the policy for the school system.
“Elected members of the school board are accountable to the community for every decision made,” Jordan said. “School board members need to work together with parents, teachers and all residents to ensure that the policies approved will provide every child with excellent educational opportunities. School board decisions affect every aspect of local schools from the school calendar, boundaries, transportation funding, curriculum, clubs, athletics and funding of field trips.”