ATLANTA - Three people are running for a four-year term and competing for two seats on the Atlanta Community Schools Board of Education. The full term candidates include Chad Brown, Laurel Orm, Doris Smith. Larry Valentine will be on the ballot running for a partial term ending in 2015.
"I care about my kids and all of the kids at Atlanta Community Schools. I want decisions made for their best interests," Brown said. "I want the lawsuit terminated and to utilize the AMA ESD to the maximum capacity. We need to be utilizing the resources we have to the best benefit for our students."
Brown said he is willing to work with the board, along with anyone else who will facilitate positive changes to assist in furthering education at Atlanta.
"We have excellent faculty and students within our school district with a ton of potential. We could have a great outcome if we work toward educational goals," Brown said. "My main goal is to have a seat on the board for the next four years, to see our district survive and thrive."
Orm, a current school board trustee with a term expiring in December, said she is running because of her love for Atlanta schools.
"I love Atlanta schools, all three of my kids graduated here, with honors. I've also been on the board for 10 years and know a lot about what's going on," Orm said.
Orm said her board member goals include eliminating the AMA ESD lawsuit, having the ISD return to schools, hiring more teachers when possible, and offering more classes.
"When we get back on our feet I'd like to get more teachers and offer kids better and more classes. I want to see our kids come back to our schools, a lot are in Hillman and Johannesburg," Orm said. "We need to focus on balancing our budget and to try to get the agreement with the AMA signed and the lawsuits dropped. Our focus should be on kids."
Valentine said he is running as a partial term board member because of the actions of the current school board. His main concerns are sustainability and the future of the school.
"I didn't like the direction the school was going. Education is deteriorating, much due to the lawsuit with the AMA ESD. Special education services have not been equal to what the AMA was offering. I think the lawsuit is a frivolous wasting of money that could be going to kids," Valentine said. "My main goal is to bring the community back in to the schools and end the lawsuit. The present board is ignoring community wishes."
Valentine said his 32 years of teaching and background in negotiating contracts, finances, and business will help the school and its board of education.
"If we continue down the path we have been going its a liability, Atlanta Community Schools is in question," Valentine said.
Smith said as a board member she can make positive contributions in a school that is an integral part of the community.
"I do not have a list of changes to implement, but I am interested in the education and welfare of our young citizens," Smith said. "One of my goals is to implement the best educational opportunity for Atlanta's students, and to see the Atlanta public school cultivate a love for learning in an atmosphere of kindness and discipline to challenge students to set high achievement goals."
Smith said she plans to look at all sides of issues that come before the board and make decisions based on what is best for students, the school and community.
"I have been a resident in Atlanta for over 36 years. My husband, Peter, and I have owned and operated a centennial farm where we have raised our four children who are now college graduates and established in their careers. Now, I wish to give something back to my community," Smith said.
Emily Siegmon can be reached via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 358-5687.