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Savannah-Chatham County Public School System elections (2014)

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2014 Savannah-Chatham County Public School System 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
Savannah-Chatham County Public School System
Chatham County, Georgia ballot measures
Local ballot measures, Georgia
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Five seats on the Savannah-Chatham County Board of Education were up for general election on May 20, 2014. The only competitive seat on the board was the presidency with five newcomers seeking to replace Joe Buck, who could not file for re-election because the board president is limited to two terms.[1] Newcomers Jolene Byrne and David Simons defeated Chester A. Ellis, Sadie C. Brown and George Seaborough but did not garner 50 percent plus one of the total vote. Byrne and Simons were heading to a runoff election on July 22, 2014 but Simons announced his withdrawal from the race on May 22, 2014. Byrne defeated third-place finisher Chester A. Ellis in the runoff election.[2] Incumbents Shawn A. Kachmar, Irene G. Hines, Larry Lower and Ruby D. Jones won election without opposition for Districts 4, 5, 6 and 8, respectively.

About the district

See also: Savannah-Chatham County Public School System, Georgia
Savannah-Chatham County Public School System is located in Chatham County, Georgia
Savannah-Chatham County Public School System is located in Chatham County, Georgia. The county seat of Chatham County is Savannah, Georgia. Chatham County is home to 278,434 residents, according to the United States Census Bureau.[3] Savannah-Chatham County Public School System is the 10th-largest school district in Georgia, serving 35,842 students during the 2011-2012 school year.[4]

Demographics

Chatham County outperformed the rest of Georgia in terms of higher education achievement in 2012. The United States Census Bureau found that 30.3 percent of Chatham 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 Chatham County was $45,653 compared to $49,604 for the state of Georgia. The poverty rate in Chatham County was 18.9 percent compared to 17.4 percent for the entire state.[3]

Racial Demographics, 2012[3]
Race Chatham County (%) Georgia (%)
White 54.7 62.8
Black or African American 40.2 31.2
American Indian and Alaska Native 0.3 0.5
Asian 2.6 3.5
Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander 0.1 0.1
Two or More Races 2.0 1.8
Hispanic or Latino 5.9 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.[5] This Ballotpedia page provides a more detailed explanation of how the Census Bureau handles race and ethnicity in its surveys.

Method of board member selection

The Savannah-Chatham 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 as board president. 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.[6]

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.[7] The filing fee for the board presidency was $480 while filing fees for Districts 1 through 8 was $360 for each seat.[8]

Elections

2014

Candidates

[edit]
  • Sadie C. Brown
    • Graduate, Savannah State College and Nova University
    • Retired district teacher
  • Jolene Byrne Green check mark transparent.png
    • Graduate, Armstrong Atlantic State University and Georgia Southern University
    • Former district teacher
    • Instructor, Armstrong Atlantic State University
  • Chester A. Ellis
    • Graduate, Savannah State College and Cambridge College
    • Former district teacher
    • Pastor, Saint Paul Missionary Baptist Church
  • George Seaborough
    • Graduate, Savannah State University
    • Former union organizer and community activist
  • David Simons
    • Graduate, MacMurray College and Golden Gate University
    • Owner, The Simons Political Group
    • Veteran, U.S. Army Special Forces

Note: David Simons placed second in the May 20, 2014 general election but withdrew from the runoff election on May 22, 2014.

  • Shawn A. Kachmar Green check mark transparent.png
    • Incumbent
    • Graduate, Penn State University and Emory University
    • Attorney
  • Irene G. Hines Green check mark transparent.png
    • Incumbent
    • Graduate, Savannah State College
    • Retired district teacher
  • Larry Lower Green check mark transparent.png
    • Incumbent
    • Retired
    • Veteran, U.s. Marine Corps
  • Ruby D. Jones Green check mark transparent.png
    • Incumbent
    • Graduate, Savannah State College
    • Retired

Election results

Runoff election
Savannah-Chatham County Public School System, Board President Runoff Election, 4-year term, 2014
Party Candidate Vote % Votes
     Nonpartisan Green check mark transparent.pngJolene Byrne 73.1% 17,617
     Nonpartisan Chester A. Ellis 26.9% 6,496
Total Votes 24,113
Source: Georgia Secretary of State, "UNOFFICIAL COUNTY RESULTS," July 22, 2014
General election
Savannah-Chatham County Public School System, Board President General Election, 4-year term, 2014
Party Candidate Vote % Votes
     Nonpartisan Green check mark transparent.pngJolene Byrne 40.1% 11,003
     Nonpartisan Green check mark transparent.pngDavid Simons 21.5% 5,900
     Nonpartisan Chester A. Ellis 17.2% 4,736
     Nonpartisan Sadie C. Brown 10.7% 2,941
     Nonpartisan George Seaborough 10.5% 2,889
Total Votes 27,469
Source: Georgia Secretary of State, "OFFICIAL COUNTY RESULTS," May 20, 2014


Savannah-Chatham County Public School System, District 4 General Election, 4-year term, 2014
Party Candidate Vote % Votes
     Nonpartisan Green check mark transparent.pngShawn A. Kachmar Incumbent 100% 5,375
Total Votes 5,375
Source: Georgia Secretary of State, "OFFICIAL COUNTY RESULTS," May 20, 2014


Savannah-Chatham County Public School System, District 5 General Election, 4-year term, 2014
Party Candidate Vote % Votes
     Nonpartisan Green check mark transparent.pngIrene G. Hines Incumbent 100% 2,120
Total Votes 2,120
Source: Georgia Secretary of State, "OFFICIAL COUNTY RESULTS," May 20, 2014


Savannah-Chatham County Public School System, District 6 General Election, 4-year term, 2014
Party Candidate Vote % Votes
     Nonpartisan Green check mark transparent.pngLarry Lower Incumbent 100% 2,307
Total Votes 2,307
Source: Georgia Secretary of State, "OFFICIAL COUNTY RESULTS," May 20, 2014


Savannah-Chatham County Public School System, District 8 General Election, 4-year term, 2014
Party Candidate Vote % Votes
     Nonpartisan Green check mark transparent.pngRuby D. Jones Incumbent 100% 1,684
Total Votes 1,684
Source: Georgia Secretary of State, "OFFICIAL COUNTY RESULTS," May 20, 2014

Endorsements

Chester A. Ellis earned the endorsement of The Savannah Tribune ahead of the May 20, 2014 election.[9] George Seaborough earned endorsements from State Representatives J. Craig Gordon (D) and Mickey Stephens (D) prior to the election.[10] After Seaborough's defeat in the general election, he endorsed Jolene Byrne over Ellis in the July 22 runoff election.[11]

Campaign finance

Candidates received a total of $68,071.00 and spent a total of $25,751.79, according to a report from Savannah Morning News.[12]

In the race for the board presidency, candidates raised a total of $68,071.00 and spent a total of $25,751.79.

Candidate Contributions Expenditures Cash on hand
Sadie C. Brown $0.00 $0.00 $0.00
Jolene Byrne $6,165.00 $3,717.84 $2,447.16
Chester A. Ellis $3,245.00 $711.00 $2,534.00
George Seaborough $8,045.00 $3,606.11 $4,438.89
David Simons $50,616.00 $17,716.84 $32,899.16

Candidates for Districts Districts 4, 5, 6 and 8 did not report any contributions or expenditures.

Past elections

What was at stake?

Issues in the election

Negative posters target David Simons

Detractors of board presidency candidate David Simons placed posters at the locations of candidate forums to attack the candidate's qualifications for office. A series of posters placed by unnamed opponents featured a police photo of Simons from a 2000 arrest for battery. The posters used phrases like "David Simons: A Role Model for Our Children" and "David Simons: Are Temper Tantrums a Community Value." Simons countered that the posters highlighted his frontrunner status in the race. Fellow candidates Jolene Byrne, George Seaborough and Chester A. Ellis did not address the posters but criticized Simons for his failure to attend candidate forums in interviews with the Savannah Morning News.[13]

Ethics complaint against David Simons

David Simons faces an ethics complaint and civil lawsuit related to contacts he made with Superintendent Thomas Lockamy on April 16, 2014 and five school board members on April 17, 2014. Simons, the owner of The Simons Political Group, reached out to Lockamy to meet with representatives for Rives Worrell. Rives Worrell is a Simons client and a construction firm that holds a $21 million contract with the district to build a new school. The April 17, 2014 emails to board members requested assistance in resolving a dispute with Michelle Jervey, a contractor engaged in a dispute with Rives Worrell over minority hiring claims. All five board members contacted by Simons are white and no African American board members were contacted regarding Jervey.[14]

Jervey filed a civil suit against Simons on May 14, 2014 and seeks $10,000 in damages on the grounds that the emails could damage her ability to seek future employment. Local realtor Clint Murphy submitted a complaint with the Georgia Ethics Commission claiming that Simons is lobbying public officials without registering with the state. Murphy's complaint notes that Simons has not registered as a lobbyist since 2010 despite work done by his company. Simons has criticized both claims as baseless efforts at weakening his board candidacy.[14]

April 23 candidate forum

Sadie C. Brown, Jolene Byrne, Chester A. Ellis and George Seaborough participated in a candidate forum on April 23, 2014 sponsored by the Downtown Neighborhood Association. The candidates shared their views on how to close the gap between high-performing schools and struggling schools in the district. Jolene Byrne and George Seaborough agreed that the district needs to encourage communication among principals to reproduce successful programs across the district. Byrne and Seaborough both advocated for expanded pursuit of education grants and argued against raising property taxes. Sadie C. Brown and Chester A. Ellis countered that they would reserve judgement on property tax changes until the Georgia State Legislature addresses aid formulas. Brown advocated for consistent implementation of district policies while Ellis noted that successful students have parents who are engaged through high school.[15]

Issues in the district

Bus driver protests

Bus drivers working for Savannah-Chatham County Public School System protested in early May 2014 for annual contracts and benefits. The protesters demonstrated at a school board meeting in the first week of May 2014 and the First Student bus operations office on May 14, 2014. First Student is a private bus company that has a contract with the district. Requests for year-round contracts and benefits stem from House Bill 714, a bill passed in April 2014 by the state legislature that prohibits school district contractors from seeking unemployment benefits during school breaks. Bus drivers were employed directly by the district prior to the 2012-2013 school year and received wages during school breaks. House Bill 714 was sponsored by State Representative Mark Hamilton in order to save school districts throughout the state up to $10 million per year. The Teamsters Local 728 organized the May 2014 protests to highlight the financial impacts of the state law on 60,000 contract workers. First Student has indicated that driver wages during school breaks will be mentioned during future negotiations with the district.[16]

Key deadlines

The following dates were key deadlines for the Savannah-Chatham County Public School System election in 2014:[7]

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 county, state and national primary elections on May 20, 2014. Chatham County residents voted in primaries for county coroner and elections board. 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.[8]

Recent news

This section displays the most recent stories in a Google news search for the term "Savannah + Chatham + County + Schools + Georgia"

All stories may not be relevant to this page due to the nature of the search engine.

Savannah-Chatham County Public School System News Feed

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See also

External links

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References

  1. Savannah Morning News, "Editorial: Next school board president must continue the progress," May 15, 2014
  2. Savannah Morning News, "Simons is out, Ellis is in for Savannah-Chatham school board race," May 24, 2014
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 United States Census Bureau, "Chatham County, Georgia," accessed May 13, 2014
  4. National Center for Education Statistics, "ELSI Table Generator," accessed May 13, 2014
  5. United States Census Bureau, "Frequently Asked Questions," accessed April 21, 2014
  6. Chatham County Board of Elections, "2014 Elections Calendar," accessed May 13, 2014
  7. 7.0 7.1 Georgia Secretary of State, "2014 Elections and Voter Registration Calendar," accessed May 8, 2014
  8. 8.0 8.1 Chatham County Board of Elections, "May 20, 2014 General Primary/Non-Partisan General Election - List of Positions," accessed May 15, 2014
  9. Savannah Tribune, "Ellis Is Our Choice For School Board President," May 14, 2014
  10. George Seaborough for School Board President, "Supporters of George Seaborough," accessed May 16, 2014
  11. WSAV, "Seaborough Endorses Byrne for Chatham Co. School Board President," June 12, 2014
  12. Savannah Morning News, "Construction contractors, politicos fund Savannah-Chatham school board candidate David Simons," May 11, 2014
  13. Savannah Morning News, "Attack posters hit Savannah school board race," April 24, 2014
  14. 14.0 14.1 Savannah Morning News, "David Simons faces lawsuit, ethics complaints in Savannah-Chatham school board race," May 13, 2014
  15. GPB News, "Savannah School Board President Candidates Talk Funding, Improvement At Forum," April 24, 2014
  16. Savannah Morning News, "Savannah-Chatham school bus drivers demand year-round pay," May 14, 2014