Muscogee County School District elections (2014)

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2014 Muscogee County School District Elections

General Election date:
May 20, 2014
Runoff Election date:
July 22, 2014
Table of Contents
About the district
Method of election
Elections
What was at stake?
Key deadlines
Additional elections
External links
References
See also
Georgia
Muscogee County Schools
Muscogee County, Georgia ballot measures
Local ballot measures, Georgia
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Five seats on the Muscogee County Board of Education were up for general election on May 20, 2014. Newcomer Kia Chambers defeated fellow challengers Owen Ditchfield and Nate Sanderson for the at-large seat held by Cathy Williams. Incumbent John Wells and challenger John F. Thomas defeated Victor Morales and John "Bart" Steed but did not garner 50 percent plus one of the vote in the election. Thomas defeated Wells in a runoff election on July 22, 2014. Frank Myers defeated incumbent Beth Harris in the District 8 race. Incumbents Naomi Buckner and Mark Cantrell won re-election without opposition in Districts 4 and 6, respectively.

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.[1] Muscogee County School District is the 11th-largest school district in Georgia, serving 32,231 students during the 2011-2012 school year.[2]

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.[1]

Racial Demographics, 2012[1]
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.[3]

Method of board member selection

The Muscogee County Board of Education consists of nine members elected to four-year terms. Eight members are elected to specific geographic districts while the ninth member is elected at-large. There was no primary election and the general election was held on May 20, 2014. Five seats were up for election in 2014 and four seats will be up for election in 2016.[4]

Candidates began to file affidavits of candidacy on March 3, 2014. The filing deadline for school board candidates to get on the ballot in the general election was March 7, 2014.[5]

Elections

2014

Candidates

[edit]

  • Kia Chambers Green check mark transparent.png
    • Graduate, Albany State University and Troy University
    • Managing broker, ERA Elite Ventures Realty
  • Owen Ditchfield Defeatedd
    • Retired media specialist
    • Former board member, 2000-2004
  • Nate Sanderson Defeatedd
    • Veteran, U.S. Army

Election 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.


Muscogee County School District, District 4 General Election, 4-year term, 2014
Party Candidate Vote % Votes
     Nonpartisan Green check mark transparent.pngNaomi Buckner Incumbent 100% 2,981
Total Votes 2,981
Source: Georgia Secretary of State, "UNOFFICIAL COUNTY RESULTS," May 20, 2014 These results are unofficial.


Muscogee County School District, District 6 General Election, 4-year term, 2014
Party Candidate Vote % Votes
     Nonpartisan Green check mark transparent.pngMark Cantrell Incumbent 100% 3,004
Total Votes 3,004
Source: Georgia Secretary of State, "UNOFFICIAL COUNTY RESULTS," May 20, 2014 These results are unofficial.


Muscogee County School District, District 8 General Election, 4-year term, 2014
Party Candidate Vote % Votes
     Nonpartisan Green check mark transparent.pngFrank Myers 64.5% 1,507
     Nonpartisan Beth Harris Incumbent 35.5% 830
Total Votes 2,337
Source: Georgia Secretary of State, "UNOFFICIAL COUNTY RESULTS," May 20, 2014 These results are unofficial.


Muscogee County School District, At-Large General Election, 4-year term, 2014
Party Candidate Vote % Votes
     Nonpartisan Green check mark transparent.pngKia Chambers 52.6% 12,306
     Nonpartisan Owen Ditchfield 30.8% 7,189
     Nonpartisan Nate Sanderson 16.6% 3,880
Total Votes 23,375
Source: Georgia Secretary of State, "UNOFFICIAL COUNTY RESULTS," May 20, 2014 These results are unofficial.

Endorsements

No candidates received an official endorsement in this election.

Campaign finance

Candidates reported $85,527.97 in contributions and $56,448.00 in expenditures to the Georgia Government Transparency and Campaign Finance Commission as of May 16, 2014.[6]

In the District 2 race, candidates raised a total of $27,146.00 and spent a total of $19,447.53.

Candidate Contributions Expenditures Cash on hand
Victor Morales $0.00 $0.00 $0.00
John "Bart" Steed $17,900.00 $10,260.00 $7,640.00
John F. Thomas $2,700.00 $2,641.53 $58.47
John Wells $6,546.00 $6,546.00 $0.00

Candidates in the District 4 and 6 races reported no contributions or expenditures.

Candidate Contributions Expenditures Cash on hand
Naomi Buckner $0.00 $0.00 $0.00
Mark Cantrell $0.00 $0.00 $0.00

In the District 8 race, candidates raised a total of $11,251.00 and spent a total of $7,357.56.

Candidate Contributions Expenditures Cash on hand
Beth Harris $600.00 $464.50 $135.50
Frank Myers $10,651.00 $6,893.06 $2,557.94

In the at-large race, candidates raised a total of $47,130.97 and spent a total of $29,642.91.

Candidate Contributions Expenditures Cash on hand
Kia Chambers $30,213.97 $20,510.92 $9,703.05
Owen Ditchfield $13,327.00 $7,648.37 $5,678.63
Nate Sanderson $3,590.00 $1,483.62 $2,106.38

Past elections

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:[8]

District 2

Incumbent John 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.[8]

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.[8]

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.[8]

Key deadlines

The following dates were key deadlines for the Muscogee County School District election in 2014:[5]

Deadline Event
March 3, 2014 First day to file nominating petitions
March 7, 2014 Last day to file nominating petitions
April 21, 2014 Last day to register to vote in the general election
April 28, 2014 Advance voting begins
May 20, 2014 Primary election
July 22, 2014 Runoff election (if needed)

Additional elections on the ballot

The school board election shared the ballot with local, state and national primary elections on May 20, 2014. Local elections included races for the mayoral seat in Columbus and three seats on the Superior Court. The primary ballot included races for Georgia House of Representatives and Georgia State Senate. There were also state executive elections including races for governor, lieutenant governor and attorney general. The May 20, 2014, election selected candidates for seats in the U.S. House of Representatives and U.S. Senate.[9]

Recent news

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See also

External links

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References