My Address to The Cherokee County Board of Education on 6/28

At the Cherokee County Board of Education meeting on 6/28/12, Republican for State House District 21 Candidate, Scot Turner, addressed the board by making the following statement:

My name is Scot Turner. I am a candidate for the Republican nomination for State House District 21, and I am a product of public schools. I come tonight to answer the recent editorial written by Doctor Petruzielo asking for all legislative candidates to level with the voters on where they stand regarding school funding.

I want to start by stating I support funding all forms of education to the highest level possible. And when I say all forms, I mean exactly that.

I stand before you as a member of a community that has been polarized into two groups. Labels like pro public and pro charter have been applied to these two distinct groups, and those groups have been divided and pitted against each other. And tonight, I am calling for an end to that polarization, and I call upon my fellow candidates for public office at all levels to quit the divisive us vs. them rhetoric and focus on what is right by the students.

I don’t subscribe to the argument that you have to be in one or the other groups. Standing for parental empowerment and standing in support of traditional public schools are not mutually exclusive concepts. And it is time we recognize the good in each option.

You will never hear me belittle the traditional public school faculty and staff of CCSD in order to champion parental empowerment because I believe that CCSD is meeting the needs of tens of thousands of students in our county. Likewise, I recognize that options like Cherokee Charter Academy are meeting needs that parents of those children have determined to be a better fit for them. This choice for those parents should not be seen as a knock on CCSD, but instead we all should recognize that there are circumstances when something different is needed. It should be up to the parent to make those decisions.

At this point, to see the elimination of any option in education would be the equivalent to a cut in education spending whether it be in traditional public or charter schools. I will not stand for that. I also will not stand for Cherokee County overpaying in the Local Fair Share portion of QBE. I recognize that it is disingenuous of the State to take more than they are entitled to and then claim that they are sending more to the local school districts year over year.

I also have a real problem with the fact that our current legislature has brought forth a series of budgets and spending programs that have no place in government. While you all have been trying to determine how many furlough days we will have year to year, our legislators were busy spending $19 million on a failed program called go fish, which was supposed to bring in a bevy of tourists to fish in Georgia.

And even now, they are giving a billionaire a half billion dollars in tax money to fund the construction of a new football stadium that promises to be used about 30 days per year.

To me, it is a matter of misplaced priorities. These are the projects that compete with education funding. We shouldn’t be looking at some educational options as a threat to traditional public schools, we should be looking at wasteful boondoggles like those I just mentioned. They are your culprit, and I promise to fight wasteful spending like those programs so that we can see adequate funding of all options for parents and students.

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