At least three candidates have announced they will challenge an incumbent Cobb County School Board member in the May Republican primary.
Shelley O’Malley, Rob Madayag and Matt Harper have all launched bids to challenge incumbent David Banks for the Post 5 seat, which is in east Cobb and includes some of the schools that feed into the Pope and Lassiter high school boundaries. Banks, who has been in office since January 2009, has not formally announced if he’s running for re-election.
Madayag, a patent and corporate law attorney at Lee & Hayes PC, said he became involved with the school system after seeing “how poorly they handled bullying” across the district. He was one of two lawyers who represented a Cobb parent who said the district forced his son, a victim of bullying, to admit he was equally responsible for a fight, resulting in felony charges.
O’Malley, a Delta Air Lines pilot, said she is running because she wants to make sure Cobb school board members focus on its mission of providing a first-class education to all of its students.
“It’s important for us to remain focused on what we want: for children to be educated and to be productive and responsible citizens of the world,” she added.
Harper, an IT project manager, said he wants the school district to maintain its healthy financial status, continue the use of Education Special Purpose Local Option Sales Taxes for school construction projects and require all elementary schools to have 20 minutes of recess time. He also said he supports keeping the existing senior tax exemption for residents age 62 and older on the school board portion of property taxes.
If elected, Madayag, 47, said he would push for the district to conduct an assessment to see how bullying is handled countywide, hire a chief equity officer to address concerns of racism and bias, provide better support to parents of special needs students and set new guidelines on when Cobb school police officers should become involved with student incidents.
O’Malley, 54, graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy and served in the Navy for 10 years. She and her husband, Brian, are raising three children in the Cobb County School District.
Madayag, who is married to wife Rebecca and has three children enrolled in Cobb schools, also served in the U.S. Navy and after receiving an honorable discharge, he attended and graduated from the Georgia Institute of Technology with a bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering. He also obtained his juris doctorate from the University of Villanova Law School.
Harper, who declined to provide his age, obtained his associate’s degree from Young Harris College and his bachelor’s degree in forest resources from the University of Georgia. He and his wife Sharon also have two children in Cobb schools.
Other Cobb school board members who are up for re-election include David Morgan, Randy Scamihorn and Brad Wheeler. The primary election will be May 19, and the deadline to register to vote in the primary is April 20. The general election is set for Nov. 3.
You can visit the Secretary of State My Voter Page to check your registration status at https://www.mvp.sos.ga.gov/MVP/mvp.do
Support real journalism. Support local journalism. Subscribe to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution today. See offers.
Your subscription to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution funds in-depth reporting and investigations that keep you informed. Thank you for supporting real journalism.