The remarks were made at a Tuesday forum hosted by the Cobb Republican Women's Club.
Republicans Kathleen Angelucci and Bill Borden are vying to replace Abraham on the Post 4 seat representing Kell and North Cobb High schools.
Both called for greater transparency on the school board.
"I think transparency is the highest on the list," Borden said. "I think first though we need to analyze why we don't have some transparency possibly on the board today. One of the things that we need to look at is the fact that the board needs to get back control. And to get back control we're going to have to build consensus on that board, and once that's done, the board is going to be able to communicate with the public, the board is going to be able to communicate with administration, the board is going to be able to communicate with teachers."
When that happens, Borden said the only things that should be "outside the public eye" are real estate negotiations and matters that impact teachers and staff, although he didn't elaborate what those staff matters were.
"Everything else should be completely out in the public. Everything should be televised. My phone is always open to everybody," Borden said.
Borden called on voters to "put a businessman at the helm of the county's largest economic engine" and bragged that he and his wife Brenda "spent over $6,000 dollars in school taxes alone last year."
Candidates were also asked what they thought of teacher and staff cuts this year and both expressed disappointment in how it was handled by the board.
"I actually was, as a parent and a citizen, I was very unhappy with the way the reduction in force took place," Angelucci said.
"When the budget forum sheets came out and the information was relayed to parents, the information on it included cuts and included deficit amounts on there such as the senior Homestead Exemption that had absolutely nothing to do with the Cobb County deficit. The district has not received those funds since the 1970s. With regard to our teachers, laying off the massive amounts that were laid off and then brought back within a few weeks makes one question whether the deficit is as large as is being claimed, and that worries me. The teachers feel strongly about not being told the truth about what's actually happened and to have that fear does not make their job as easy as it should be," she said.
An event planner and Kell High School mom, Angelucci touted her 15 years of volunteering in the school system, serving in such roles as substitute teacher, math and reading tutor and in various PTA leadership positions.
Sope Creek Elementary School dad Scott Sweeney, a technology consultant, and former Dodgen Middle School principal Jim Snell, who are vying to fill the Post 6 seat held by Crooks, echoed Angelucci and Borden in calls for increased transparency as well as their disappointment in the way the board handled teacher cuts this year.
After the forum, Donna Rowe, past president of the Cobb Republican Women's Club and its current bylaws chair, remarked that she knows a thing or two about the Cobb school board from when her husband, retired Army colonel Al Rowe, ran against Crooks in the last election.
Ms. Rowe said her votes are going to Sweeney and Angelucci.
"Honestly, when I looked at the candidates up there I really believe that your best candidates were Angelucci and Sweeney because they've been down in the trenches, they're parents," Rowe said.
Rowe said the line that Angelucci mentioned during the forum - that Angelucci was a full-time Cobb resident - was not lost on her.
"It would be nice if everyone that ran for office were from here and had an interest in being here all the time," Rowe said in reference to Borden, who arrived at the debate in his Ford pickup truck with an Alaska license plate.
Borden had the truck backed against the wall of the county's parking deck. Last week, the Cobb Tax Commissioner's Office sent Borden and his wife a letter, demanding they pay back taxes on their vehicles not registered in Georgia and threatening to cancel the couple's homestead exemption "if the matter is not resolved promptly."