Kelly Marlow achieved more than she ever intended during her current tenure “representing” District 1 on the Cherokee County Board of Education.
Singlehandedly, or perhaps with a little support and direction from her tea party compatriots, she exposed the deficiencies of the “suspicious assault” approach to addressing public education and the misguided “shoot first and understand your target later” strategy demonstrated by her request for investigation of the CBOE by AdvanceED/SACs followed by her combative display during the budget discussions of the school board meeting held July 24.
Citizens countywide now understand just how adeptly the CBOE has navigated the financial challenges imposed on it in an extremely inhospitable and fiscally charged environment as painstakingly enumerated during the meeting by Superintendent Dr. Frank Petruzielo.
The Cherokee Board of Education managed to successfully return the school calendar to 180 days from 173 for the 2013-2014 school year despite severe cuts in the Cherokee County School District budget withheld at the federal, state and local levels of government: $1.2 million in Federal Sequestration cuts; $24.8 million in Georgia’s austerity cuts; and Cherokee’s woefully diminished property tax digest by 25 percent (2008-2012).
Meticulously, Dr. P. explained how value and savings is being squeezed out of every dollar in the interest of providing a top-notch education for CCSD students under incredibly fragile economic conditions, even going so far as to outsource the 2013-2014 custodial staff to Aramark, a significant savings in health insurance alone.
Even one of Cherokee’s top real estate agents along with the Cherokee Office of Economic Development recently emphasized that CCSD’s high quality education is a key draw for investment, homebuyers and businesses (as reported in the Woodstock-Townelake Patch, June 26).
Allowing the “Don’t Tread on Me” sensibility of the tea party to dominate this county where public education is concerned will only serve to marginalize our students’ educational future and drive business, residential sales and development toward our Cobb, north Fulton, and Forsyth county neighbors and further choke the tax base and property values here.
A question for the District 1 CBOE member is, “What’s your plan for providing a superior education for CCSD students?”