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."
to read the candidates' answers.