Gray, Kittle vie for Bartow BOE Post 4 seat
by Mark Andrews
Oct 30, 2012 | 1514 views | 0 0 comments | 7 7 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Wanda Cagle Gray and Fred Kittle are both running for the Post 4, Euharlee, Bartow County Board of Education seat. Gray is running for re-election as an Independent while Kittle is running as a Republican.

Name: Wanda Cagle Gray

Occupation: Full-time realtor for Asher Realty, retired educator. Serves at Tabernacle Baptist Church, pre-school ministry/ladies’ ministry; Rainbow mentor at Woodland Middle School; Salvation Army Bell Ringer; American Red Cross active blood donor; Youth Leadership Bartow Advisory /Cartersville Chamber of Commerce.

Residence: Euharlee

Family: Husband Steve and labradors Ace and Diamond

Education: Cartersville High School; Berry College, Bachelor’s of Science-Health/Physical Education; University of Western Georgia, M.Ed. Health/Physical Education; University of Western Georgia, Add-On M.Ed. of Guidance and Counseling; University of Alabama, Ed.S., Guidance and Counseling.

Serving on the school board, you are no stranger to controversy. If re-elected, what will you do to maintain a “spirit of harmony,” as recommended by the recent Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, while still working in the best interest of students and taxpayers?

A: It is my responsibility, as a board member, to ask questions when there are appearances of wrongdoing, especially if it’s brought to me by the taxpayers. I will continue to ask questions and hold board members and the superintendent accountable for their behaviors. And I want to be held accountable for my behavior also. A “spirit of harmony” is defined in many different ways. I believe the taxpayers knows that I am standing up and am not afraid to ask questions, especially since it affects our children in so many different areas of education. I will always seek fairness and consistency.

What do you see as the biggest obstacle the school board currently faces and how do you plan to help the board work through, or eradicate, that obstacle?

A: I want this board to be more accountable to the taxpayers. That would lead to less negatives throughout our school system. If we have not followed board policies, code of ethics and/or the Georgia state laws then board members need to say we “messed up,” take the punishment, try to recover and strive to regain the trust of the community. Transparency should be at the top of the list for all elected officials with my focus being on school board members. Of course money is always an issue since the majority of public education funding comes through our state government. I will continue to encourage taxpayers to talk with their representatives and tell them to place public education as a priority for our future. Board members can not have the fear with “not being popular” if we truly want to help our children.

The system’s chief financial advisor has reported for the last year the ongoing increase in employee insurance as well as cuts in state and federal funding. The board has been able to avoid a millage increase for some time, compensating through a reduced calendar year, furloughs and other measures, but a tax increase has been proposed in recent years. Are you in support of a millage increase if it is necessary to maintain the budget as the system receives less funding amidst a growing student population, or do you see any specific areas of the budget — specifically in the FY 2012 and FY 2013 budgets — that need to be trimmed?

A: I never want to vote for a tax increase, but if our state government does not place public education as a priority, the millage rate is bound to increase. If the taxpayer knows of a different plan than to raise the millage, I do want to hear from them before the vote. I will listen. I will also be looking for ways to curtail excessive spending if need be as we move forward with our childrens’ future in Bartow County Schools.

Name: Fred Kittle

Occupation: Employed by WESCO. Volunteer at Tabernacle Baptist Church; serving on the Cartersville/Bartow County Chamber of Commerce Board, where he has been the vice chairman of Business and Industry and vice chairman of Community Partners since 2007; chairman of the Cartersville/Bartow County Chamber Board for 2011.

Residence: Euharlee

Family: Six children: Catherine, Frederick, Andrew, Cynthia, Donald and Charlotte

Education: FT Wills High School in Smyrna; graduate of Louisiana Tech University.

Serving on the school board, you are no stranger to controversy. If elected, what will you do to maintain a "spirit of harmony," as recommended by the recent Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, while still working in the best interest of students and taxpayers?

A: I have a long history of working with others to accomplish goals. An example was my being chosen as the Bartow Work Ready Team Leader for three years. Our team consisted of leaders from business, industry, our school systems, radio, newspaper, etc.

Out of 159 counties, Bartow County was the first large county to be certified and second overall in the state. This has helped new and existing business and allowed our citizens to go ahead of the line for many jobs. Another example of working together in harmony would be the leaders I have worked with on my six years with the Cartersville-Bartow County Chamber of Commerce. As the 2011 chairman, I worked with the board and community. The chamber had record growth, events were full, and we had a sold-out annual meeting. Thanks to the leaders this year, the chamber growth is continuing at a rapid pace.

What do you see as the biggest obstacle the school board currently faces and how do you plan to help the board work through, or eradicate, that obstacle?

A: Students must be provided more opportunities to be successful. The current drop-out rate has many consequences. I am a fan and committee member for the College and Career Academy Charter School. The academy will give students the opportunity to get college credit and certifications. This will help students with their career paths. Graduation rates are an average of 98 percent with similar career academies.

I am a believer in waivers. Teachers should not have to teach to the test. Teachers have spent their time and capital to obtain their degrees. I believe in allowing teachers to teach.

The system's chief financial advisor has reported for the last year the ongoing increase in employee insurance as well as cuts in state and federal funding. The board has been able to avoid a millage increase for some time, compensating through a reduced calendar year, furloughs and other measures, but a tax increase has been proposed in recent years. Are you in support of a millage increase if it is necessary to maintain the budget as the system receives less funding amidst a growing student population, or do you see any specific areas of the budget — specifically in the FY 2012 and FY 2013 budgets — that need to be trimmed?

A: Taxes should not be raised. I have talked with financial and business people in the community, and they will volunteer to help. I would propose us looking at using Lean and Six Sigma Principles. Using this business management strategy possibly would save a lot of dollars.

I would also ask for our county to go to 100 percent Freeport [exemption]. This would take the tax off inventory that is a stumbling block for new industry to locate in Bartow County. I believe the new jobs and taxes collected from the new industries will be an increase of revenue for our school system.