SCRAM! shifts focus to 2014 BoE elections
by Michelle Babcock
February 05, 2014 04:00 AM | 1799 views | 0 0 comments | 14 14 recommendations | email to a friend | print
The group hoping to oust Cherokee School Board member Kelly Marlow has shifted its focus to a wider view as four Board of Education seats are up for election this year.

Christine Rea, founder of SCRAM!, said the group changed its name from “Smart Citizens Rally Against Marlow” to “Smart Citizens Realize Academics Matter,” as a move to emphasize the upcoming elections.

Rea said SCRAM! still wants Marlow off the Cherokee school board, but as the election nears, the group hopes to examine candidates on its website and back those who support public schools.

If people who support public schools are elected to the school board, Rea said, Marlow’s influence on the school district could be minimized.

“The fact is that we have four school board seats up for election,” Rea said. “If she’s going to stay there, let’s minimize the damage she can do and let’s focus on getting the right people elected to those positions.”

Rea said the group initially thought Marlow’s time on the board was limited after she was sanctioned Oct. 2 for violating school board ethics policies and, in a separate event, was indicted Oct. 15 on four felony counts.

Marlow and two of her associates were scheduled to appear in Cherokee County Superior Court today for their arraignment on felony charges of lying to police, stemming from an incident when police say Marlow and her associates alleged the superintendent tried to run them down with his car after a heated board meeting in June.

However, Rea said, ousting Marlow has become a “waiting game,” so the group turned its attention to the candidates in the upcoming election.

“She’s taking a back seat to everything else that’s coming up,” Rea said of Marlow. “We have registered as a PAC so we can go that route, as far as endorsing candidates and things of that nature.”

The group registered with the Georgia Government Transparency and Campaign Finance commission, formerly known as the State Ethics Commission, as a Political Action Committee, or PAC, called “SCRAM! Smart Citizens Realize Academics Matter!” in December. Rea is listed as the chairperson for the PAC.

Rea said the group will be looking to identify candidates who are “education friendly,” and will post information and discussions online on the SCRAM! Facebook page.

“I think everybody that has announced has been put on SCRAM!’s Web page,” Rea said. “People have truly voiced their opinion, and I encourage everyone to do their own homework.”

Rea said the group is still “very much interested” in Marlow’s role on the board, but wanted to recognize the importance of the entire district and school board in the upcoming election.

“We cannot afford to have another Marlow,” Rea said. “If we can help it, we want to get people elected that are there for the right reasons.”

She said the group’s name change reflects its desire to engage the community and spread information on all things related to Cherokee County schools.

“One of the first objectives of the group will be to keep the community abreast and informed of the upcoming Cherokee County School Board elections,” she said. “As we’ve learned, it is important to know the candidates. Even more important is voting and getting the best candidates for the job elected.”

Four Cherokee County school board seats are up for election this year, with the Republican primary May 20 and the general election in November.

District 3 board member Michael Geist announced in January he wouldn’t be running for re-election. John Harmon is the only candidate who has announced he will run for the seat that will be vacated by Geist.

District 4 incumbent Rick Steiner said he would run for re-election, and as of Tuesday, had not been challenged.

District 5 incumbent Rob Usher’s seat will be on this year’s ballot and challenger Clark Menard announced his candidacy in January. Usher has not yet announced whether he will seek a second term.

District 6 board member Robert Wofford said he would not seek re-election, and instead threw his support behind former school board member Mike Chapman, who announced his candidacy in January. Susie Tlacil of Canton has also announced intentions to run for the seat.

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