Marchman announces for Fayette BoE Post 1 seat
The upcoming race for the Post 1 seat on the Fayette County Board of Education will be a race after all. Ga. Tech’s Dr. Barry Marchman at a meeting of the South Atlanta Tea Party on Thursday announced that he will be qualifying next week for the post now held by incumbent Janet Smola.
“The most critical issue facing the Board of Education right now is finance. I would like to offer the board a four-year course in fiscal discipline and free market economics,” said Marchman, who teaches finance at Ga. Tech’s College of Management. His comments come as the school board is considering a proposal by Superintendent Jeff Bearden that would use nearly all the school system’s remaining fund balance to adopt the 2012-2013 budget in June.
Marchman on his website said the school board should embrace excellence in education, community involvement and fiscal responsibility.
“I believe that the Board of Education should always have some financial margin. They should not operate on the edge of insolvency. The fund reserve balance should only be used for unexpected shortfalls,” Marchman said. “We should not ever plan to spend it. What are you going to do next year if the economy does not improve? The Board of Education must be constrained by its revenues. The federal government does not have the same constraints because they can print their own money. We are not the federal government.”
Marchman said the school board should also seek to lower the millage rate. Charging the taxpayers the maximum allowable rate should be done only in times of financial crisis, he said, adding that as the economy recovers, the board should seek to reduce the taxpayer burden.
Marchman also believes there should be viable alternatives to the customary route to a four-year college education.
“Some students do not want to go to college. They should have the liberty to opt out of college prep classes and have the opportunity to master a skill or a trade so that they will be prepared to become a contributing member to our community,” he said. “They should be able to acquire the equivalent knowledge of a two-year technical school by the time they graduate from a Fayette County high school.”
And in terms of what he referred to as “justice,” Marchman centered on teacher pay, out-of-county students and the current legal challenge of district voting.
“I believe that district voting is an injustice. You should have the right to vote for every board member because the decisions of the board impact all students in the county,” Marchman said.
Marchman’s position on teacher pay is that they are underpaid compared to others in the metro Atlanta area.
“I believe that this should be rectified. I believe that the bulk of the money should be spent in the classroom and not on the classroom. We need adequate facilities, not high-tech state of the art bells and whistles that will be obsolete before they are paid for. We should recruit, retain, and reward so that best teachers in the metro Atlanta area will want to work in Fayette county,” said Marchman.
As for our-of-county students, Marchman said the school system should explore its legal options and proceed from there.
“Students from other counties want to come to Fayette county schools. I believe that if they can pay they can stay. Perhaps we could collect tuition from their parents or from their home county. If they cannot pay, then they are stealing from Fayette county children and they need to be sent home,” Marchman said. “I believe that parents of all income levels should have educational choices for their children. Countries with the best scores in math and science allow the money to follow the child to the school of their choice. I believe we should explore free market solutions to improve education.”
Marchman currently teaches finance classes at Georgia Tech College of Management. Prior to that time he was an electrical engineer with Ericsson Private Radio Systems and the Georgia Power Company.
Marchman has a BEE from Georgia Tech, an MBA from Florida State, and a Ph.D. in Finance from Florida State. He has been married 17 years to Evelyn and they have three boys and four girls.