With only two Democrats qualified in the election for the Walker County Board of Education post 2 seat, the contest will effectively be decided in the primary on July 18.
The two candidates for the post, which covers the Rossville and Fairview areas in the northeast part of the county, are incumbent Joe Moore, currently chairman of the board, and Susan Wells, a retired educator.
Wells, 53, is coordinator of Walker County Family Connection, a community partnership group that helps families be self-sufficient.
Joe Moore, 74, served on the Rossville City Council for 10 years. He was elected to the post 4 seat on the school board in 2002.
Joe Moore, chairman of the Walker County Board of Education and incumbent candidate for post 2, issued this prepared statement:
It has been my privilege to serve on the Board for these four years to continue moving our county forward and provide the best opportunities available for our young people. During my tenure on the Board it has been my policy to listen to the citizens and assure them that their views and opinions are important. I have attended State workshops in order to increase my knowledge about the functions of the board and the central office personnel. One of the pleasures of being a Board member is getting to visit in our schools and interact with the teachers and students. I have participated in school field trips, special assemblies and other extra curricular activities.
I take great pride in being a citizen of Walker County, where I have been a resident for 74 years. My three brothers, my sister and I are all graduates of the Walker County School System as well as my wife of 53 years, Barbara Mullinax Moore and our two sons, Rickey and Doug, and our grandson, T.J. Moore.
Wells was a teacher in the Walker County school system for 12 years before becoming an assistant principal at Chattanooga Valley Elementary School, a position she held for 13 years. She completed her 30-year career in education as an administrator in Catoosa County.
She says that as her retirement last July approached, she knew she wanted to run for school board. I want to stay involved in Walker County in a variety of different ways, and I think the school board would be a good fit for me.
In 2000 she took the position of director of student services for Catoosa County Schools, a job she says prepared her well for being on the school board. One of my main responsibilities was to field parent concerns all the phone calls about a variety of things having to do with the school system.
AUDIO: School board candidate Susan Wells talks about her goals for Walker County high school graduates. (0:50) Budget and taxes
With the budget for Walker County schools proposed to increase by $9.1 million for fiscal year 2007, Wells said she realizes the sensitive balance between school funding and property taxes. Weve got to be cognizant of our taxpayers. I think the citizens of Walker County want to have a great school system but they also want us to be fiscally responsible.
With budgets published in the newspaper and debate at school board meetings, Wells points out that the opportunities are there for taxpayers to be involved in the budget process. Im not sure how many seize that opportunity, but I would encourage people to do so.
Wells strongly supports the continuation of the one-cent education sales tax (ESPLOST), the approval of which would provide the school system with nearly $28.3 million over five years for construction, repairs, improvements and equipment purchases.
The ESPLOST question will be on the ballot of a special election September 19. I hope all of our citizens understand what a great thing ESPLOST is and support the initiative in the fall, Wells said.
Politics of education
State funding and mandates for local education are a large part of what the school board deals with, and Democrat Wells gives Republican Gov. Sonny Perdue a passing grade.
Of course, he has done a lot here in an election year, she said, but I think he does care about education in Georgia.
A politically nonpartisan outlook is the way Wells would prefer education issues to be addressed, and she says that she would support making the Walker County School Board posts nonpartisan.
We dont deal with a lot of those political issues, she said, and I think we just need to get the best people in those positions who care about the community, who care about children and that care about the educational system regardless of their political affiliation.
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