Wednesday, July 9, 2014
Editor’s note: This is one in a series of stories about contested races in the August county general election. Check upcoming editions of North Hamilton Weekly for a roundup of other area candidates. Early voting runs July 18-Aug. 2. The last day to register to vote was July 8.
A former educator, a parent and a businessman — who is best to serve as the representative for School Board District 6?
Incumbent Joe Galloway, who has held the position for four years, is running in the Aug. 7 election to maintain his seat. Newcomers Oscar Brock and Ballard Scearce are also vying for the position.
Galloway describes himself as a lifelong educator, having taught in multiple roles — teacher, assistant principal and athletic director — at Lookout Valley High School for 39 years. He says he is still the candidate for the job because of his extensive experience in the education system.
“I don’t believe either one of the other candidates have had any experience working in education; I think I have more experience in the area of education,” Galloway said. “Having coached and taught so long, I have a real passion for helping children.”
Since his election to the board, Galloway says he’s always strived to create unity on the board while still voicing differing opinions.
He expects school vouchers, a program that would allow certain children vouchers for private school tuition, to be heavily discussed among board members in coming years. He says he is personally against this program, which has been kicked around in Tennessee legislation for years, because he feels it is detrimental to the public schools.
“If folks are pleased with the job I’ve done I hope they’ll re-elect me,” Galloway said, adding that he’s available for public input. “My phone number is in the phone book and I always return calls and I answer emails.”
Brock, who received a bachelor’s in economics from Stanford University and a Master of Business Administration from Vanderbilt University, says his background gives him an informed perspective when working with the multi-million dollar budget the school board controls.
He also says he hopes to bring the actions of the board to the forefront of community members’ minds.
“We as a community don’t pay attention to school board races. I hope to raise the profile of the school board race,” Brock said. “It’s the single-biggest expenditure authority in the county — roughly $400 million.”
If elected, Brock says he wants to give each Hamilton County student an equal chance at success.
“We need to provide children with equality of opportunity. They have to have their fighting chance, and right now in too many schools we’re not giving them a fighting chance,” he said. “I love this community; I’m very passionate about it. I think we need to do right by our children and by our taxpayers. By doing right we help everybody.”
As a parent of three Hamilton County students, Scearce says he is the standout candidate for the job.
“I’m the only candidate who has children who are currently in the school system in Hamilton County,” he said. “My contemporaries are also in the same boat. I talk to these folks … about issues. You just run in those circles and I think that uniquely qualifies me.”
As owner of Scearce Law Firm PC, he adds that he can bring a unique perspective to the board when it comes to actions such as negotiating contracts.
“The major decision of why I got into the race in the first place, after having dealt with the school board on some issues at my children’s school, I just felt like there needed to be a higher level of engagement from the board member,” Scearce said. “I am uniquely invested and want to be as engaged as I possibly can for the benefit of my kids.”
More about each of the candidates’ platforms can be found at facebook.com/JoeGalloway4SchoolBoard, oscarbrock.com and ballardscearce.com.