If there’s one thing the three Cobb Board of Education Post 3 candidates agree on, it’s that students should be at the forefront of any discussion pertaining to education in the county.
The three candidates, all Democrats, explained before a crowd of at least 50 Wednesday why they deserve July 31 primary votes.
The forum at the was hosted by state Rep. David Wilkerson and the Powder Springs Task Force, and also .
The first school board candidate to speak was Bobby Allen, an adjunct business professor at Shorter University and an instructional coach with Atlanta Public Schools.
Allen said he has been involved in education “all my life. I’m either a student or an educator.”
He didn’t criticize incumbent David Morgan by name , but did denounce the actions of the current school board.
“No longer will we have people who sit on the board and fail to advocate for our schools, who fail to advocate for our students,” he said.
The Cobb County School District has “had some successes, but not enough,” Allen said, adding that the school system “has honestly failed them.”
He said that his daughter still attending school in the district is “why I stand here today.”
Allen mentioned that South Cobb schools are lagging behind by “double digits.”
Two solutions he pointed to: getting parents more involved in schools, and increased transparency by the Board of Education.
The second candidate, realtor Karyn Harrison, who gave perhaps the shortest speech of the forum, noted her involvement in PTAs and said she has an “unwavering commitment to public education.”
Students “should be educated by highly qualified teachers that are motivated and committed to our children here in Southwest Cobb County,” she said.
Morgan said that when he first ran four years ago, South Cobb schools were “marginalized,” “overlooked” and “taken for granted.”
“And during my four years, now that I come back to you, the voters, I would like to think that I played an instrumental role in the …conversation changing about how we educate our children,” he said.
Morgan said he isn’t doing his “job well if there aren’t some people upset with what I’m doing."
Accomplishments he noted for his first term include making the achievement gap in South Cobb a “first priority” and hosting more than 40 town hall meetings. It’s “one thing to talk about empowering people; it’s another to produce results,” Morgan said.
For future, he said he’d like to see the district bring in a third party to perform an academic audit similar to a financial audit.
Post 3 currently includes , South Cobb and Pebblebrook high schools, but reapportionment is likely to push McEachern into Post 7. , , and will likely stay in Post 3, according to .
, it appears that whichever Democrat takes the primary will take the seat.
Voters should be registered by July 2 to participate in the July 31 primaries, non-partisan elections, and TSPLOST vote.
For the Nov. 6 general election, which includes voting for president, citizens should be registered by Oct. 9.