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John Wells (Georgia)

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John Wells
John Wells (Georgia).jpg
Board member, Muscogee County Board of Education, District 2
Incumbent
Term ends
July 2014
Years in position 29
Elections and appointments
Last electionJuly 22, 2014
First elected1986
Term limitsN/A
Education
Bachelor'sColumbus State University
Personal
ProfessionBusiness owner
Websites
Office website
Campaign website
John Wells currently represents District 2 on the Muscogee County Board of Education in Georgia. He first won election to the board in 1986. Wells advanced from the general election on May 20, 2014 but lost to challenger John F. Thomas in the runoff election on July 22, 2014.

Biography

Wells earned a B.S. from Columbus State University. He is a business owner and property manager. Wells has two children and five grandchildren.[1]

Elections

2014

See also: Muscogee County School District elections (2014)

Opposition

John Wells ran against Victor Morales, John "Bart" Steed and John F. Thomas in the general election on May 20, 2014. Wells lost to Thomas in the runoff election on July 22, 2014.

Results

Runoff election
Muscogee County School District, District 2 Runoff Election, 4-year term, 2014
Party Candidate Vote % Votes
     Nonpartisan Green check mark transparent.pngJohn F. Thomas 80.3% 1,887
     Nonpartisan John Wells Incumbent 19.7% 462
Total Votes 2,349
Source: Georgia Secretary of State, "UNOFFICIAL COUNTY RESULTS," July 22, 2014 These results are unofficial.
General election
Muscogee County School District, District 2 General Election, 4-year term, 2014
Party Candidate Vote % Votes
     Nonpartisan Green check mark transparent.pngJohn F. Thomas 35.3% 1,449
     Nonpartisan Green check mark transparent.pngJohn Wells Incumbent 27.6% 1,132
     Nonpartisan John "Bart" Steed 26.6% 1,093
     Nonpartisan Victor Morales 10.5% 429
Total Votes 4,103
Source: Georgia Secretary of State, "UNOFFICIAL COUNTY RESULTS," May 20, 2014 These results are unofficial.

Funding

Wells reported $6,546.00 in contributions and $6,546.00 in expenditures to the Georgia Government Transparency and Campaign Finance Commission, leaving his campaign with no cash on hand as of May 16, 2014.[2]

Endorsements

Wells received no official endorsements in this election.

Campaign themes

2014

Wells explained his themes for the 2014 campaign in an interview with the Ledger-Enquirer:

Should the school district divide into three regions -- east, west and central -- as proposed by the superintendent?

Superintendent David Lewis has proposed the school district be administered through three districts, thereby decentralizing decision making while providing greater coordination of resources through the most efficient and effective method. His proposal should make better use of personnel with a greater focus on student improvement.

Should every school have the exact same resources?

Every school should have the exact same resources. However, there are federal and state funding sources that are targeted to certain groups of children. Title One for instance, is a program targeted toward economically disadvantaged students and by law can only be used to benefit that group of students. Therefore unless the law specifically states otherwise, the resources should be the same.

Was the school board right to vote against then-superintendent Susan Andrews' appointments in May 2012?

It is incumbent upon a superintendent to provide timely answers to board members' questions concerning proposals being made at a board meeting. Clear answers eliminate uncertainty and confusion about the proposal. When all questions are answered satisfactorily to the individual board member, they will vote yes or no. Each board member has only one vote and should vote according to their knowledge and understanding of the proposal.

If elected, will you support another special purpose local option sales tax (SPLOST)?

The school district has options to increase revenue for the operation of the district. One is to raise property taxes. We haven't had a property tax increase in 17 years.

I will not support an increase in property taxes on homeowners in Muscogee County.

Another option is the Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax (SPLOST). If needs arise that necessitate additional funding for building, remodeling or additions to schools, then the SPLOST is available. The needs assessment and funding requirement is calculated. A dollar amount is determined and must be approved by the voters. A SPLOST only lasts five years. The good part is shoppers from outside our county help us pay for our school improvements. I would support a SPLOST if necessary.

Should the school district open up the bidding process for law firms?

I always support the open bidding process for all contractual work for the Board of Education.

According to state law, the superintendent is authorized to propose and recommend the hiring of a law firm to represent the MCSD. The selection of a law firm to represent the District with all the varied state, federal and local laws specific to school and education law is a complex decision.

I believe all interested firms should be afforded the opportunity to bid on this work.

I do however support local companies.

[3]

Ledger-Enquirer, (2014), [1]

What was at stake?

Issues in the election

April 24 candidate forum

MidTown Inc. hosted a candidate forum on April 24, 2014 featuring all nine candidates for the three contested seats. Here are highlights of candidate responses at the forum divided by board race:[4]

District 2

Wells touted the district's improving graduation rates as a source of pride for current board members. He advocated for a continuation of the reading program and supervisory changes implemented by Superintendent David Lewis. John "Bart" Steed argued that the district's graduation rate is still too low and education equity has to be achieved throughout district schools. Victor Morales suggested that more programs for struggling students are necessary to bring schools up to the level of success stories like Columbus High School. John F. Thomas stated that the district needs to reallocate resources to struggling schools in order to improve academic performance.[4]

District 8

Incumbent Beth Harris supported efforts by the superintendent to improving academic performance but also advocated for better communications. She suggested that teachers and principals throughout the district could spread good ideas with the help of district administrators. Frank Myers countered that Wells, Harris and other board members might limit the education reforms promoted by Superintendent Lewis.[4]

At-large

Kia Chambers and Nate Sanderson spoke about the vast disparities between high-performing and low-performing schools during the forum. Chambers suggested that the district must focus on improving programs for students with disabilities and other groups with low graduation rates to close the district's achievement gap. Sanderson argued for replicating successful programs at high-performing schools throughout the district to increase academic performance. Owen Ditchfield noted that the district has to pursue state and federal education grants along with community partnerships to boost the district's prospects.[4]

About the district

See also: Muscogee County School District, Georgia
Muscogee County School District is located in Muscogee County, Georgia
Muscogee County School District is located in Muscogee County, Georgia. The county seat of Muscogee County is Columbus, Georgia. Muscogee County is home to 202,824 residents, according to the United States Census Bureau.[5] Muscogee County School District is the 11th-largest school district in Georgia, serving 32,231 students during the 2011-2012 school year.[6]

Demographics

Muscogee County underperformed in comparison to the rest of Georgia in terms of higher education achievement in 2012. The United States Census Bureau found that 22.1 percent of Muscogee County residents aged 25 years and older had attained a bachelor's degree compared to 27.8 percent for Georgia as a whole. The median household income in Muscogee County was $41,443 compared to $49,604 for the state of Georgia. The poverty rate in Muscogee County was 18.8 percent compared to 17.4 percent for the entire state.[5]

Racial Demographics, 2012[5]
Race Muscogee County (%) Georgia (%)
White 48.3 62.8
Black or African American 46.1 31.2
American Indian and Alaska Native 0.5 0.5
Asian 2.3 3.5
Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander 0.2 0.1
Two or More Races 2.6 1.8
Hispanic or Latino 7.2 9.2

Note: The United States Census Bureau considers "Hispanic or Latino" to be a place of origin, not a race. Therefore, the Census allows citizens to report both their race and that they are from a "Hispanic or Latino" place of origin simultaneously. As a result, the percentages in each column of the racial demographics table will exceed 100 percent. Each column will add up to 100 percent after removing the "Hispanic or Latino" place of origin percentages, although rounding by the Census Bureau may make the total one or two tenths off from being exactly 100 percent.[7]

Recent news

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See also

External links

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References