Around Town: Mountains, molehills or ‘The dog ate my homework ...’
by Lee B. Garrett, Joe Kirby and Otis Brumby III
July 05, 2013 11:23 PM | 6111 views | 5 5 comments | 76 76 recommendations | email to a friend | print

IS WHAT’S GOOD FOR THE GOOSE also good for the gander? Apparently so at the Cobb school board.

You’ll recall the recent tempest in a teapot (mentioned in last Saturday’s Around Town) over Superintendent Dr. Michael Hinojosa’s heel-dragging after being directed by School Board Chair Randy Scamihorn to send an email to all county staff correcting misinformation spread via a May 28 email blast from a Central Office underling about a board vote on the controversial Common Core curriculum. Hinojosa stalled for nearly two weeks before doing as Scamihorn had directed.

But now the shoe is on the other foot, with Scamihorn the tardy one, according to a series of emails shared with Around Town. When in Rome …


STATE Rep. David Wilkerson (D-Austell) emailed the school board June 27 asking if the board’s vote not to buy Common Core math textbooks would impact students, parents and/or teachers; and asking if the board’s vote stemmed from a belief that the state might drop Common Core.

But board members were quiet as church mice, prompting another email from Wilkerson on Tuesday.

“While I would have appreciated feedback from all board members to share with my constituents, I was hoping for at least a response from Chairman Scamihorn and my board member, Mr. (Tim) Stultz. That response has not come,” wrote Wilkerson that day.

Wilkerson’s nagging didn’t exactly unlock the floodgates, but it did pry responses from two more board members. Stultz replied on Wednesday that the chair of the Cobb legislative delegation has said Common Core will be taken up by the Assembly next session, to which Wilkerson answered that both Gov. Nathan Deal and state School Superintendent John Barge of Smyrna have said the issue is settled.


BOARD CHAIR Scamihorn also replied on Wednesday to Wilkerson’s second email — and offered a variation of “the dog ate my homework” as to why the cat had got his tongue.

Scamihorn’s email was addressed to Wilkerson, with copies to Stultz and state Sen. Judson Hill (R-east Cobb), who chairs the Cobb legislative delegation. (BTW, none of those recipients was the one who spilled the beans to AT for this story.)

“I did receive your first e-mail,” he wrote. “It was late afternoon on the day we were having what turned out to be a lengthy board meeting. It did not seem urgent to me at the time.

“That afternoon I was prepping for the meeting. My wife and I were scheduled to leave at 6 am the next morning for a high school reunion and a short 5 day visit with friends and family, to return this Friday. My intent was to give you a short reply while driving to Indiana. I did not get to go because our cat broke its leg just as we were putting luggage in the car.

“The next day, Saturday, I became very ill and found myself in the Kennestone ER at about 3:30 am Sunday morning. Since then, I have seen three doctors and I am still in A LOT of pain while trying to write this reply to you.

“I’m writing because I became puzzled by your impatience, feeling unappreciated, and your accusations. It makes me wonder why now, during the week of the 4th of July, when many of us would like to celebrate our country with friends and family.”


SCAMIHORN explained that the board had merely voted to delay the textbook purchase by a year to protect tax dollars while “important people at the state level … tell us unequivocally what direction Georgia is going. Many in the Cobb delegation don’t agree that the issue has been settled.”

The chair said it is more of an economic issue than an ideological one for the board.

“We taught math last year without books and our test scores were fine,” he wrote. “I believe, if it’s necessary, we can do one more year without textbooks but providing competent and good online support. with this. Many other counties are teaching without textbooks because of our financial situation. You could help Cobb County citizens by helping us bring back the money that we send to the state and they give to ‘poor’ counties like Gwinnett.”


SCAMIHORN closed his email with a perfunctory “Thank you for your concern” and in an oddly formal touch, signed it “Mr. Scamihorn.”

Then again, perhaps not so formal, considering what came next. Scamihorn closed his email with the following postscript:

“P.S. My apologies if I sound a bit crass, but I should be honest, I think you hurt my feelings.”


AND AROUND TOWN hopes it hasn’t hurt anybody’s feelings with this report — or made too big a mountain out of a molehill.


THE STATE COURT OF APPEALS this week threw out four of the charges against former Cobb EMC President/CEO Dwight Brown, saying they should have been dismissed by the Cobb trial judge in the case. But they upheld the other 31 counts in the indictment against him on charges of violating the state’s RICO Act, theft by taking, false swearing, conspiracy, influencing witnesses and threatening witnesses. Brown now has the option of appealing the Appeals Court’s decision to uphold the remaining 31 to the state Supreme Court.

Meanwhile, Cobb District Attorney Vic Reynolds is still awaiting a ruling from the Georgia Supreme Court on the other, initial 31-count indictment against Brown on similar charges. The initial indictment was dismissed in Cobb Superior Court after it was determined that it had not been delivered in open court, as required by law. That dismissal was upheld by the Appellate Court, but the state Supreme Court is now reviewing that decision.

Reynolds told the MDJ not long after taking office in January that he has told his prosecutors to be ready for trial once the higher courts act.

“At this point, we are still waiting,” Reynolds’ spokesperson Kim Isaza said on Friday.


HISTORIAN and author Dr. William P. Marchione will present a slide show and lecture titled “Smyrna, Emergent Commuter Suburb, 1905 to 1930” at 3 p.m. Sunday at the Smyrna Public Library. The talk is free and sponsored by the Friends of the Smyrna Public Library.


COBB’S BIGGEST BIPARTISAN political event of the year rolls around again on Monday, July 15: the annual Cobb Sheriff’s Corn Boilin’. Even in an “off” political year like this one with no statewide elections scheduled, candidates and incumbents from around the state will converge for the 5:30-7:30 p.m. gathering at Jim Miller Park at the Cobb County Fairgrounds. Unlike most political rallies, there are no speeches or fund-raising pitches to suffer through, although there will be no shortage of electoral hopefuls looking for folks to buttonhole.

Tickets are $20 per person for a down-home meal of locally-grown corn, tomatoes, cornbread, ice cream and iced tea, with proceeds donated to the Cobb County Youth Museum, reports Sheriff Neil Warren.


FINAL JOURNEY: Around Town offers its condolences to frequent MDJ guest columnist D.A. King on the death of his stepfather on Monday, Charles Carr, 79, of Montgomery, Ala. Carr married King’s mother when King was 10.

Carr earlier had played a memorable but unhappy role on the last night of the life of troubled country music legend Hank Williams.

Williams, who was battling long-standing problems with drink and painkillers, hired Carr, then a 19-year-old Auburn University freshman whose parents were family friends with Williams, to drive him from Montgomery to a New Year’s Day 1953 matinee concert in Canton, Ohio.

Carr chauffeured Williams’ blue Cadillac through ice and snow all day and evening on New Year’s Eve with the singer slouched by himself in the back seat. Williams was unresponsive when Carr stopped for gas early on New Year’s Day in Oak Hill, W.Va., and soon after was pronounced dead of an overdose of alcohol, morphine and chloral hydrate at age 29.


Comments-icon Post a Comment
@Randy also
July 08, 2013
Mr. Scamihorn, keep up the great job and try not to let the MDJ make a mountain out of a molehill. You are not a puppet to Wilkerson or Hinojosa. Many of us appreciate what you are doing and how you are calling some people out. My kudos to you!
You missed the point
July 06, 2013
Hinojosa works for Scamihorn. Scamihorn does not work for Wilkinson. Two completely different situations.

July 16, 2013
But they want Senor Hinojosa to lead us not into temptation. Him and Ragsdale are the district downfall. Has anyone looked how much technology has grown over the last few years? Talk about excess and waste. And do some serious digging into bids for technology. Bet you will find someone has gotten some nice perks for business. You can write the specifications to make sure your buddy gets the work can't you?
@ Mr. Scamihorn
July 06, 2013
You are quoted in this newspaper stating; "...we are not going to leave our math teachers and certainly our children in the lurch... “We will find a solution for this.”

So, apparently... You are going to wait one year AND leave teachers and children in the lurch. Are you going to wait longer IF the issue remains "unsettled"?

You've failed to find a solution and you've delayed delivering resources to students and teachers.

The only votes the board took was to reject resources.

When was a vote taken to delay important resource decisions for one-year? It certainly was not public.

When will we hear your mea culpa for this misinformation?

By the way... lame, multiple excuses for not getting back to Wilkerson.

With sympathies to the cat !
Bill Avagadro
July 16, 2013
So you think math, in principal, has changed in the last 3 years? Why not use the same books? I can make you a multiplication chart if you can't make one yourself. If a teacher with a possible advanced degree can not figure out how to teach kids the basics, do we really want them teaching???
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