Taryn Bowman

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Taryn Bowman
Taryn Bowman.jpg
Former candidate for
Board Member, Atlanta Public Schools District, District 4
Elections and appointments
Last electionNovember 5, 2013
Term limitsN/A
Education
Bachelor'sSouthern Methodist University
Personal
ReligionEvangelical anglican
Websites
Campaign website
Taryn Bowman campaign logo
Taryn Bowman ran for the District 4 seat on the Atlanta Public Schools Board of Education in a general election on November 5, 2013.

Biography

Bowman was born in Athens, GA, and moved to Atlanta in 1975, at the age of six. She graduated with a B.A. from SMU in Dallas, TX, where she studied business accounting and communications. Her first job was in the Turner legal department helping plan for the 1990 Goodwill Games. She also helped run the low-first camera at the Braves games and acted as floor director for "Good News" at Turner Sports. Bowman's career path has included working at the Babbitt & Reiman advertising agency, working at Dorsey-Alston as a real estate agent, teaching 1st grade in an Atlanta school in Buckhead, working as the youth director at the Pacific Palisades Community United Methodist Church in CA, working for the Georgia Department of Labor in its Distance Learning Center, acting in films such as "Kingpin" and "Me, Myself, and Irene" out of Los Angeles where she earned her Screen Actors Guild (SAG) membership, working in the production and locations departments on the TV show "Nash Bridges" in San Francisco during its final seasons, working in the production accounting department for several big budget films shot in Atlanta including "Drumline" and "We Are Marshall," starting her own film production company, and writing a computer program specifically for Atlanta tax incentives, payroll, and set budgeting in the film industry. She also has her real estate broker's license. Bowman serves on the PTA where she is in her fourth year of chairing the annual publication of the school's art & literary magazine. She also implemented and runs an APS sponsored spirit club for the students to focus on student spirit, confidence, ownership, and leadership. Bowman is presently serving as the membership chairman on the board of the Mt. Paran-Northside Citizen's Association and is a member of the Church of the Apostles. She is married to Pete Bowman and has three children.[1]

Elections

2013

See also: Atlanta Public Schools elections (2013)

Opposition

Taryn Bowman ran for the District 4 seat against Nancy M. Meister on November 5, 2013.

Results

Atlanta Public Schools, District 4 General Election, 4-year term, 2013
Party Candidate Vote % Votes
     Nonpartisan Green check mark transparent.pngNancy Meister Incumbent 65.3% 5,114
     Nonpartisan Taryn Bowman 34.5% 2,703
     Nonpartisan Write-in 0.1% 11
Total Votes 7,828
Source: Fulton County Board of Election, "Election Results," accessed January 29, 2014

Funding

Bowman reported $17,624.00 in contributions and $17,499.34 in expenditures to the Georgia Government Transparency and Campaign Finance Commission , which left her campaign with $174.66 on hand.[2]

Endorsements

Bowman received endorsements from The Buckhead Coalition PAC, Atlanta Progressive News, American Federation of Teachers, and a number of district residents.[3]

Campaign themes

Bowman identified the following campaign themes for 2013:[4]

Immediate hiring of new superintendent

Hire a new superintendent that is a strong leader. We need a superintendent immediately who puts the interests of children, families, communities, and teachers first. This person needs to have the strong leadership ability, vision, and a desire for excellence that will bring the school system to a new level.

Budget transformation to control property tax increase

I plan to work closely with the board and the new superintendent in transforming the budget. The APS budget is in utter shambles at present. The APS reserve has dropped from approximately $200 million in 1997 to roughly $20 million today. It will soon be gone unless we act now. Money is going unreported, and no one is being held accountable for unnecessary spending. We, as taxpayers, deserve to know where every dollar, quarter, dime, nickel, and PENNY of our money is going. APS must be held accountable to the people they serve, you and me...US!

Localize the budget to give each district its own money

By localizing the money, we allow every district to control its own budget, thus instilling a sense of ownership to the local school, community, parents, teachers, and students. Who knows better what they need than the local schools themselves? We cannot let a central office continue to tell us what they "think" we need and throw our money away on their own agenda when we know exactly what our community schools need. By localizing the money, we empower our community schools to make important budgetary decisions themselves, thus taking the power away from the downtown bureaucracy who is not in the field with us on a day-to-day basis.

Smaller class sizes

Smaller class sizes, especially at the elementary school level, are known to increase learning and to help bridge the achievement gap between ethnic and racial groups. Not only do smaller class sizes improve the quality of teaching, they also reduce the rate at which students repeat grades, which translates into financial savings. Teachers get to know the student better. I will advocate reducing class sizes to the state maximum or below.

Increase graduation rates

With a 51% overall APS graduation rate and a 60% graduation rate at North Atlanta High School right here in our community, we clearly have opportunities to improve APS schools.

Student retention through early learn and vocational training

"Effective learning in the early childhood years leads to better outcomes in academic achievement, economic productivity, responsible citizenship, lifelong health, and successful parenting of the next generation."Center on the Developing Child, Harvard University. We need to give all children the chance to take advantage of this type of opportunity. I believe if we retain children in the early learning phase and install in them the love of learning at this young age, then we instill an extraordinary value in them that will carry them through life. Not every student plans to attend college for many reasons involving socio-economic backgrounds and personal preferences. I strongly believe that this group of students needs to be equipped through our public school system with vocational training that will allow them to become contributing members of our society.

Teacher satisfaction and retention

I believe that APS should empower every principal to be able to pick his or her own staff within the budget he or she is given. This would promote a more united and thriving school atmosphere. To teach effectively, teachers must feel a sense of ownership, community, and security that is lacking in the system today.

21st century learning

The world is changing and, with the effects of social media and the ability to have information instantly, it is changing rapidly. The classroom must keep up with this fast pace by implementing the life and career skills along with the information, media, and technology skills that keep our students relevant and competitive in today’s culture. Our students need the learning and innovation skills that will prepare them for the increasingly complex life and work environments in the world today.

Parent involvement and community based education

A school with parental involvement is a school that is involved! Parental involvement is essential to the overall success of a school and its students. Parental involvement has the ability to take a school from mediocre to excellent. Top down reform tends to cast blame and involve too many politics. I would work hard to help create parent, teacher, and community groups that focus on creating a cycle of involvement, improvement, and renewed investment.

Reducing bullying in all APS schools and buses

Although we have a no-tolerance policy, the enforcement of this policy is not at the level it should be. There is no excuse for violence or bullying in our schools or on our buses in any way. There must be a stronger system put into place for reporting incidences and having these reports be taken at the highest level of seriousness.

Implementation

As a board member seat is not a political district position, an APS board member must work as a team with fellow board members in implementing changes instead of trying to pursue a self-centered business or political agenda. A board member must also listen every constituent not just a select few and promote transparency by keeping the community well informed on a regular basis through all forms of social media including regular online blogs. I am fully prepared to do this with no hidden agenda. If elected to serve District 4, I pledge to serve my community, its children, its families, its teachers, and its schools. To do this effectively, I pledge to contribute to the board with service not politics. As an Atlanta School Board member, I will focus on the real issue at hand...our children. The only way to help this community is by working in concert with the board and, in doing so, gain their support. As a board member, I also pledge to hold the superintendent accountable to our community.


Note: The above quote is from the candidate's website, which may include some typographical or spelling errors.


What was at stake?

All nine seats on the Atlanta Public Schools Board of Education were at stake in the 2013 election. Brenda J. Muhammad, Byron D. Amos, Nancy M. Meister, Courtney D. English and Reuben McDaniel were the only incumbents seeking re-election, meaning that the election resulted in significant turnover in board members. Some suspect the large turnover was a result of a number of district issues, but most predominantly the criminal indictment of 34 district teachers and former superintendent Beverly Hall. Board members LaChandra Butler Burks, Cecily Harsch-Kinnane, and Emmett Johnson were some of Hall's biggest supporters, which may have been a factor in their decision not to seek re-election.[5]

Issues

CRCT testing scandal

In March 2013 a Fulton County grand jury indicted 35 Atlanta educators, including former superintendent Beverly Hall, in a cheating conspiracy the stretches across 58 schools. Each defendant was charged with Georgia RICO (Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations) conspiracy. The 65-count indictment also includes charges of False Statements and Writings, False Swearing, and Influencing Witnesses in connection with the alleged conspiracy to alter Criterion Referenced Competency Tests (CRCT) scores. Former superintendent Hall also faced theft charges because her salary rose with rising student test scores on standardized tests. Hall retired in 2011, just days before the allegations surfaced. The indictments came after a two-year investigation that looked at test scores dating back to 2005. Cheating allegations first surfaced in 2008, when The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported "statistically improbable increases" in scores on the state-mandated Criterion-Referenced Competency Test (CRCT) at one Atlanta school. In 2009, the newspaper found similar increases at a dozen schools. The stories eventually led then-governor Sonny Perdue to appoint two special investigators who found cheating in 44 in 2011. In all, they found that 178 educators had cheated on CRCT tests.[6][7]No school board members faced implications due to these allegations. During their first few months in office, the new school board members will have to select a new superintendent.

Budget

Another challenge the new board will face is the development of next year's budget. The new board will likely want a significant reallocation of resources away from administration and into the classroom. There is also a strong call for reducing deficit spending, ending teacher furloughs and granting teachers a pay raise. These cost reductions and reallocations amount to $40-50 million out of an operating budget of approximately $590 million. It is likely that the cost reductions in the administrative and operating functions will be difficult to achieve without reducing the cost inefficiencies created by a number of small schools that were slated for closure, yet still remain open.[8] The new board will also have to address how to pay off an old pension liability that costs about $550 million. Atlanta Public Schools initially intended to withhold start up funding from charter schools in order to repay the debt, but in September 2013 the Georgia Supreme Court ruled that the city’s school system can’t make charters share in the burden of paying off the pension debt. The court decided that the amount of money charter schools receive is set by state law. The debt was accumulating since the late 1970s, and charter schools don’t participate in Atlanta Public Schools’ pension system. The district released $415,000 to Atlanta Neighborhood Charter School after the money had been withheld last school year. The board is left to decide how to pay of the pension debt.[9]

Diploma misrepresentation

In August of 2013, Atlanta Progressive News reported that District 5 candidate Steven Lee had misleading educational credentials in documents prepared for the City of Atlanta. Three resolutions passed by the City Council of Atlanta, appointing him to three different boards in 2009, refer to him as Dr. Lee. Supporting documents, including Lee’s resume, also referred to him as Dr. Lee. Former Mayor Shirley Franklin, councilmembers Felicia Moore, CT Martin, Joyce Sheperd, and Lamar Willis and former councilman Jim Maddox each signed letters of recommendation referring to Lee as Dr. Lee. When first asked about the references to him as Dr. Lee in the City legislation, Lee told Atlanta Progressive News that his PhD was from Belford University. Belford University was a diploma mill that closed in 2012. It offered online, non-accredited college degrees to individuals for their previous life experiences for several hundred dollars. While it had a post office box in Humble, Texas, the degrees were mailed from the United Arab Emirates. Lee’s campaign materials did not mention that he previously referred to himself as Dr. Lee.[10]

Ethical questions regarding Shawnna Hayes-Tavares

In the summer of 2013, Atlanta Progressive News reported that Shawnna Hayes-Tavares, a candidate for Atlanta Public Schools Board of Education District 6, had an arrest record and was the subject of several investigations and actions involving JC Young Middle School. Hayes-Tavares was arrested on August 08, 2011, by DeKalb County Police, on three charges, including giving a false name and false information to the police, driving while license suspended or revoked and maximum limits.[11] Additionally, The Grady High School student newspaper and Atlanta Progressive News reported that the Young Middle School Local School Council claimed that Hayes-Tavares never reimbursed Young Middle School parents a total of $970 the parents had given her for uniforms during a summer camp. According to the March 18 Young Middle School LSC minutes, Hayes-Tavares collected $970 in full or partial uniform payments from the parents. Hayes-Tavares, however, claims that only four of the 15 girls at the camp paid for uniforms, which would equal $600 if those girls paid in full. After the majorette team was annexed by the After School All-Stars—a program with grant-provided funding for after-school activities—uniforms were no longer needed and Hayes-Tavares said she did not purchase them. Parents asked for a refund, according to the minutes from the meeting. Although Kelvin Griffin, the Young Middle School principal, asked Hayes-Tavares to return the $970, she had yet to refund the parents by the meeting on March 18, according to the LSC minutes. Griffin and Young Middle School decided to make the parents financially whole and reimbursed them. In an interview with The Southerner, Hayes-Tavares said she doesn’t know why Young Middle School is under the impression the parents were not refunded, but did not respond to an email asking her to clarify who refunded the parents.[12]

This is not the first allegation of financial misconduct made against Hayes-Tavares. When she was president of the Young Middle School PTSA, the Georgia PTA began to investigate the association’s finances and it was requested by a Georgia PTA official that no previous or current member of the Young Middle School PTSA should hold a position in any PTA/PTSA until the matter has been completely resolved. At the beginning of the 2011-2012 school year, Hayes-Tavares claimed there was a Georgia PTA letter which cleared her to serve again. Shortly after this claim was made, Hayes-Tavares collected gift certificates to be given to teachers for Christmas, but the gifts never made it to the teachers. Hayes-Tavares claimed the money was stolen from a school desk. After this incident, the LSC decided to look closer into Hayes-Tavares’ alleged PTA exoneration. In June of 2012, a Georgia PTA official claimed that the Georgia PTA was not aware of a letter exonerating Hayes-Tavares. On July 29, 2013, Hayes-Tavares also wrote an email to William Scott, director of the Office of Internal Compliance for APS, in which she claimed that since the audit was completed, the members of the 2006/2007 PTSA should be allowed to serve again.[12]

After Atlanta Progressive News editor Matthew Cardinale posted a story about the accusations against Hayes-Tavares, three comments were posted to the online story within 50 minutes defending Hayes-Tavares. One of the comments was signed “YoungMS Teacher”, another “T. Madhi” and the third was signed “Terry”, a resident of District 6. Cardinale saw that all three of the comments had the same IP address, meaning that they all came from the same computer. He then discovered that the IP addressed belonged to Hayes-Tavares’ computer because the candidate had previously commented on an Atlanta Progressive News article containing an interview with her on July 08, 2013. In a text message, Hayes-Tavares claimed that there were three campaign volunteers at her house posting the comments unbeknownst to her, and that she was not home.[13]

About the district

See also: Atlanta Public Schools, Georgia
Atlanta Public Schools is located in Fulton County and DeKalb County

Atlanta Public Schools is located in parts of Fulton County and DeKalb County, Georgia. Atlanta is the county seat of Fulton County. Atlanta is home to 443,775 residents.[14]

Demographics

Atlanta underperforms the state in median household income and poverty rate, but outperforms the state in higher education. According to the 2010 Census, the median household income in Atlanta is $45,946compared to Georgia's statewide median of $49,736. The rate of residents below the poverty level in Atlanta is 23.2% while the state rate is 16.5%. The percentage of residents over 25 with a bachelor's degree or higher in Atlanta is 46.1% compared to the state average of 27.5%.[14]

Racial Demographics, 2012[14]
Race Atlanta(%) Pennsylvania (%)
White 38.4 59.7
Black or African American 54.0 30.5
American Indian and Alaska Native 0.2 0.3
Asian 3.1 3.2
Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander Z 0.1
Two or More Races 2.0 2.1
Hispanic or Latino 5.2 8.8

Presidential Voting Pattern[15]
Year Democratic Vote (%) Republican Vote (%)
2012 34.4 64.1
2008 32.1 67.1
2004 39.9 59.3
2000 39.8 57.8


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.[16]

Recent news

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See also

External links

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References

  1. Vote for Bowman, "About accessed October 24, 2013
  2. Georgia Government Transparency and Campaign Finance Commission, "Bowman, Taryn Chilivis," accessed December 26, 2013
  3. Vote for Bowman, "Endorsements," accessed October 24, 2013
  4. Vote for Bowman, "Issues," accessed October 24, 2013
  5. Scott Henry, Atlanta Magazine, "School board races begin heating up," June 7, 2013
  6. Larry Coplan, USA TODAY, "School cheating scandal shakes up Atlanta," April 14, 2013
  7. Office of the Fulton County District Attorney, "GRAND JURY INDICTS 35 IN CONNECTION WITH ATLANTA PUBLIC SCHOOLS CHEATING SCANDAL," accessed October 23, 2013
  8. Maureen Downey The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, ""Most important school board election in the history of Atlanta,"" October 20, 2013
  9. Mark Miesse, ajc.com, "Georgia Supreme Court rules in favor of charter schools in pension fight," September 23, 2013
  10. MATTHEW CHARLES CARDINALE Atlanta Progressive News, "APS Board Candidate, Steven Lee, Touted Diploma Mill PhD," accessed October 24, 2013
  11. Atlanta Progressive News, "APS Candidate, Hayes-Tavares, Has Arrest Record, PTA Ban, Pending Lawsuit," MATTHEW CHARLES CARDINALE August 22, 2013
  12. 12.0 12.1 The Southerner, "APS board candidate faces accusations," JOSH WEINSTOCK AND ARCHIE KINNANE, October 17, 2013
  13. Atlanta Progressive News, "Hayes-Tavares Caught in Apparent Fake Commenter Scheme" MATTHEW CHARLES CARDINALE August 24, 2013
  14. 14.0 14.1 14.2 2010 Census: Quick Facts, "Atlanta," accessed October 23, 2013"
  15. Fulton County Registration and Elections, "Archived Election Results," accessed October 23, 2013
  16. United States Census Bureau, "Frequently Asked Questions," accessed April 21, 2014