Meet the candidates Q and A: Marietta Board of Education
November 03, 2013 11:34 PM | 1766 views | 0 0 comments | 13 13 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Brett Bittner (i)
Age: 33
First elected in 2012
Occupation: Executive director of the Libertarian Party of Georgia
Brett Bittner (i) Age: 33 First elected in 2012 Occupation: Executive director of the Libertarian Party of Georgia
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Justin Clarke
Age: 36 
Family: Wife, Mary Beth, children:  Madilynn 5, Makenzie 4, and Joseph 2
Education: Harrison High School Class of 1996, attended Kennesaw State University
Occupation: Assistant vice president, Bank of America
Justin Clarke Age: 36 Family: Wife, Mary Beth, children: Madilynn 5, Makenzie 4, and Joseph 2 Education: Harrison High School Class of 1996, attended Kennesaw State University Occupation: Assistant vice president, Bank of America
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Christopher Everett
Age: 34
Family: Wife, Katrina Everett; daughter, Mckenzie 
Education: Bachelor’s of Biology
Occupation: Owner of a rental property management company
Christopher Everett Age: 34 Family: Wife, Katrina Everett; daughter, Mckenzie Education: Bachelor’s of Biology Occupation: Owner of a rental property management company
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Jason Waters
Age:37
Family: Wife, Katie, children, Virginia, 3, and Hank, 2
Education: Bachelor of Business Administration, University of Georgia
Occupation:  First vice president, commercial relationship manager, SunTrust Bank
Jason Waters Age:37 Family: Wife, Katie, children, Virginia, 3, and Hank, 2 Education: Bachelor of Business Administration, University of Georgia Occupation: First vice president, commercial relationship manager, SunTrust Bank
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Jeriene Grimes
Family:  Married, three adult children, one daughter at Marietta High; three grandchildren, expecting a fourth
Education: Sprayberry High School Class of 1979, Bachelor’s of Marketing, Albany State University 
Occupation:  Certified event specialist, professional bondsman, vice president of the PTSA Council for Marietta City Schools
Jeriene Grimes Family: Married, three adult children, one daughter at Marietta High; three grandchildren, expecting a fourth Education: Sprayberry High School Class of 1979, Bachelor’s of Marketing, Albany State University Occupation: Certified event specialist, professional bondsman, vice president of the PTSA Council for Marietta City Schools
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Paul Gilreath
Age:52 
Family:  Wife, Channie Gilreath, children: Quint, 11, attends Marietta Sixth Grade Academy, and Birdie, 9, attends Marietta Center for Advanced Academics
Education:  Doctor of Dental Medicine, Medical College of Georgia; Bachelor’s of Music Composition, Stetson University, Florida
Paul Gilreath Age:52 Family: Wife, Channie Gilreath, children: Quint, 11, attends Marietta Sixth Grade Academy, and Birdie, 9, attends Marietta Center for Advanced Academics Education: Doctor of Dental Medicine, Medical College of Georgia; Bachelor’s of Music Composition, Stetson University, Florida
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1. Will you be voting for or against the Franklin Road bond? Why or why not?

Ward 1

Brett Bittner(i)

Against. The risk of spending nearly $100 million of taxpayers’ money over the next twenty years in hopes of regaining it through higher tax revenues does not make sense. By not requiring sales proceeds to pay down the debt incurred, there is a potential “slush fund.”

Justin Clarke

I will be voting yes for the Franklin Road bond because I want to see the city become a better place for my kids to live,

and due to the nature of the transient population in that area it causes a negative effect on our graduation rate.

Christopher Everett

Undecided as of today.

Ward 2

Jason Waters

I will be voting for the bond. The stabilization of the Franklin Road Community will lead to lower drop-out rates and safer schools. A ‘Yes’ vote on the bond is a ‘Yes’ vote for our children.

Ward 5

Paul Gilreath

Yes. Franklin Road is an area that presents with a disproportional amount of tax dollar usage vs. the tax dollars revenue received from the area. There are about 14,000 people living in this area and it tends to be very transient. Currently, there are almost 1,500 students attending the Marietta City Schools from this area. However, the tax base from Franklin Road is very small and, unfortunately, crime in this area is off the charts — Drugs, prostitution, violent crimes. By changing this area into a vibrant business area, we will be able to have more tax dollars for the school system while lessening the occupancy burden on the school system. Additionally, we all know that Franklin Road is the most crime-infested area in Cobb and there is no doubt that this filters into our school system. A revitalization of Franklin Road will provide more tax dollars for our school system while lessening the burden on all our city resources.

Jeriene Grimes

The citizens of Marietta will vote for or against the Franklin Road Bond.

2. Do you fully support the implementation of “teacher effectiveness pay?” Why or why not?

Ward 1

Bittner

I moved and voted to direct our superintendent to share the flexible framework with MCS faculty. The current model does not promote student achievement and is not sustainable. There is only one opportunity to get this right, and the feedback I encounter is positive about the proposed change.

Clarke

I do not fully support teacher effectiveness pay as I believe that teaching is an art, not a business. I believe that there are many other ways to measure the success of our teachers other than just test scores.

Everett

Yes.

Ward 2

Waters

We have great teachers that need to be rewarded for their work. Studies show that effective teachers improve student performance. Teacher effectiveness pay will help attract and retain great teachers.

Ward 5

Gilreath

Yes. The current system provides the same pay structure for all teachers. I believe that those teachers that have the most impact on our students should have the opportunity to make more money. Like in the business world, salary that is based on performance will draw the most talented individuals to those positions.

Grimes

The Marietta City School Board voted to implement teacher effectiveness pay.

3. Are you satisfied with the direction the high school and district are headed in trying to increase the graduation rates? Why or why not?

Ward 1

Bittner

I believe we are headed in the right direction, yet there is always more to do. I think the culture of our school system is a strong one, however that culture has yet to reach each Mariettan. It will take the entire community’s involvement to fully implement the Marietta difference.

Clarke

I believe that the district is trying to head in the right direction. I feel that there are many avenues and pathways that we can look at to increase the graduation rate. Some examples would be developing partnerships with local colleges and high school students in a tutoring program for lower level students and more parental and community involvement.

Everett

I am happy with the improvements our schools have made and recognize that there is always room for improvement.

Ward 2

Waters

I won’t be satisfied until we graduate all the students we can. We have dedicated teachers and administrators that I’m sure feel the same way. I will push to bring in community partners and civic organizations to help us in this effort.

Ward 5

Gilreath

Yes, but we can always do better. The new Graduate Marietta campaign is designed to inform our high school students on the importance of graduating from school and how that impacts the future employment.

Grimes

The high school and the district are both doing a good job to improve the graduation rate. There is room for improvement.

4. What do you consider to be the No. 1 problem in the Marietta City School system? Why?

Ward 1

Bittner

As Mariettans, we own our schools, their successes, and their opportunities. The education community is fully committed. As a community, whether we have students in the system or not, we should be active in our schools volunteering, mentoring and ensuring that our students have the tools to succeed.

Clarke

I believe the No. 1 problem is the graduation rate. While the graduation rate has increased, it needs to be much higher and should be the No. 1 priority of the next school board.

Everett

For the most part our schools are wonderful, however there is room for improvement. For example, we should require students to learn about personal financial management. We should offer personal financial courses from K-12.

Ward 2

Waters

Transiency. That’s why the redevelopment bond is so important. We have to build communities that people want to move to and stay.

Ward 5

Gilreath

The transient situation on Franklin Road. Studies have shown that students who move from school to school perform lower than those students who are not transient. Not only is this bad for the students, it also puts a burden on the teachers because they are continually having to try to catch these students up to the remaining class.

Grimes

I believe the issue is all children are not receiving a quality education.

5. Why do you want to continue to serve or to join the Marietta City Board of Education?

Ward 1

Bittner

My partial term was filled with activity, as we adopted our strategic plan through 2016, earned SACS re-accreditation with exceptional reviews, enacted several exciting pilot programs, and embarked on re-designing our compensation model to focus on the achievement of our students. I am ready to keep improving Marietta City Schools.

Clarke

I want to serve because I am fully vested in the successes and failures of this school system because my children do and will attend Marietta City Schools.

Everett

I love my city and this would be a great honor to represent it. I am committed to making our kids competitive in the work place with the help of parents and teachers.

Ward 2

Waters

Our schools are the most important part of our community. Quality schools improve home values, quality of life, and most importantly, the future of our children. My passion for community service and my dedication to children makes this the perfect place for me to serve.

Ward 5

Gilreath

I want the very best school system that we can help prepare our young people for a successful livelihood. Also, education is the single best resource we have to break the cycle of poverty. I have a strong business background, I have served on numerous boards, and I am an author of a 700-page textbook used in colleges and universities.

Grimes

I want to be a voice for the community and the children. Since I care about children, I would like to be a part of the process to ensure quality education for all children.

6. Would you ever vote for a property tax increase?

Bittner

I cannot envision a scenario in which I would be able to vote to have my fellow Mariettans pay more in taxes, period.

Clarke

If I believe that the best solution was to increase property taxes then yes I would vote to increase property taxes. I don’t believe that anyone can rule it out, but we should exhaust all other avenues before a property tax increase.

Everett

Yes, if the money is being used to create programs that make sense.

Ward 2

Waters

Raising taxes is always a last resort. We should look for every alternative before raising taxes. I’m afraid that at some point we may have to increase local taxes due to the gross mismanagement in Washington. We have fewer dollars and more unfunded mandates from the state and federal government.

Ward 5

Gilreath

Doubtful

Grimes

Not in favor, unless it is necessary to enhance the education of the children and the school system.

*(i) means incumbent

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