UnifiEd Releases School Board Candidate Survey

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

With just over one week to go before election day, UnifiEd - described as "a community-led movement of parents, teachers, and citizens who want every student in Hamilton County to have the chance to attend great public schools" – has released initial results from its first-ever school board candidate survey.

Following the announcements of the settlement of the lawsuit between the Hamilton County Department of Education and the city of Chattanooga and the planned expansion of VW, UnifiEd surveyed candidates on four questions:

 - How do you believe that new funds -- from VW tax payments and the city settlement -- should be used to improve student performance in our public schools?

 - Why do you believe that these investments will improve student performance -- in other words, what evidence or data or research supports your proposed investment and what outcomes are you trying to achieve?

 - Would you support public reporting on how the funds are spent?  We know that the funds will be part of the annual budget, but would you support a separate reporting on these funds so it was clear to the public what the school system was doing with new revenue?

 - Would you also support public reporting on the outcomes -- in other words, how the use of funds did or did not achieve what you hoped?

 Of 18 candidates running active campaigns for school board, 12 responded to the UnifiEd survey, including incumbent School Board member Dr.

Greg Martin.  Six candidates failed to respond, including School Board members Joe Galloway and David Testerman.

“In reaching out to voters and during the debates that we sponsored with community partners, two things were clear.  Voters want the school board to focus on improving student performance and opportunities for our young people and they want transparency and accountability from the school system,” said Elizabeth Crews, executive director of UnifiEd.  “The good news is that the school system is going to get new resources – from the city and as a result of VW expansion.  But voters are looking to school board members to make sure that these new funds are used wisely and not wasted.”

UnifiEd will release the results of the survey responses today through Thursday, both to the press and to the public on the www.unifi-ed.org website.  Today, UnifiEd is releasing responses from candidates in Districts 5 and 9. In addition, UnifiEd will make more than 5,000 calls to registered voters over the next week to encourage early voting and voting during the Aug. 7 election.

 The following candidates responded to the UnifiEd survey:

·         Dr. Greg Martin (District 3)

·         Jim Watson (District 3)

·         Richard Bennett (District 5)

·         Karitsa Mosley (District 5)

·          Yashika Ward (District 5)

·         Oscar Brock (District 6)

·         Ballard Scearce (District 6)

·         Samevelyn Rock (District 8)

·         Steve Highlander (District 9)

·         Larry Lewis (District 9)

·         Dean Moorhouse (District 9)

·         Tim White (District 9)

The following candidates have not responded to the UnifiEd survey:

·         Patrick D. Hampton (District 5)

·         Jackie Anderson-Thomas (District 5)

·         Samuel Blakemore (District 5)

·         Joe Galloway (District 6)

·         David Testerman (District 8)

·         Karen Farrow (District 9)

 (Candidates in bold are incumbent members of the School Board)

Officials said, "UnifiEd is led by a bi-partisan Board of Directors that include community, business and civic leaders – including former teachers and public school parents – from across Hamilton County. UnifiEd is a nonprofit organization and does not endorse or support any candidate running for office."

Click here to read the candidates' answers.

Harris Taking Her Passion To Fort Valley State University

"Dr. Angela Harris has a passion for people." It was a phrase repeated several times during a reception to bid her farewell and good luck on her new job.  Dr. Harris - who worked at Dalton State for nearly 25 years, most recently as assistant vice president of enrollment services – is now serving as the vice president for student success and enrollment management at Fort ... (click for more)

Southern Honored For Promoting Workplace Health

Southern Adventist University has received the 2014 Governor’s Healthier Workplace award, part of the state's Healthier Tennessee initiative, for meeting all 32 of this program’s requirements and being an involved community advocate for wellness. The normal lifestyle on campus met many of the simple criteria for having a healthy workplace, including vegetarian meals and an alcohol- ... (click for more)

Linear Park Planned As Extension Of Walnut Street Bridge In Front Of Planned Boutique Hotel

A linear park that will be an extension of the Walnut Street Bridge public space is planned in front of a new boutique hotel at Walnut Street and Aquarium Way (Second Street). Mitch Patel of Vision Hospitality on Tuesday night told nearby residents that "the city pushed this idea of a linear park, and we agree that it is a great idea." He said the current situation in which ... (click for more)

Sharply-Divided City Council Approves Office Reorganization; Councilman Freeman Calls Move "Evil, Hellish"

A sharply-divided City Council on Tuesday voted 5-4 to completely reorganize the council office, leaving current staffers without a job down the road but with the option to reapply. Councilman Moses Freeman called the move "evil" and "hellish." He said, "We are punishing somebody on a personal level," though he said the office has been running smoothly. Saying the majority ... (click for more)

How To Reform The City Industrial Development Board - And Response (3)

My aims is to bring to the public’s attention the need for procedural changes that, if implemented, would significantly improve the information available the public, to the City Council and to the City Industrial Development Board about the verifiable benefits and costs of tax incentive financing structures and to make the entire process transparent. The public, the City ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: My October Garden

Hark! It is the first day of October and, as I make my monthly stroll through the garden, I find a growing numbers of leaves and acorns. Autumn leaves are beautiful while acorns are nuts, thus you will get the idea as we make our monthly awards: A PRETTY LEAF to Phil Hughes after the Minnesota Twins pitcher came within one inning of earning a $500,000 bonus this season. The deal ... (click for more)