Marion Key says thanks for 20 years


Just wanted to take this opportunity to thank all of those who have supported me in my school board election campaigns as well as those who have given advice, suggestions and guidance during my 20 years as a Fayette County Board of Education member. I also want to thank my family, especially my husband, who have had to put up with all the inconveniences. We have had to fit vacations and camping trips around board meetings. I do not know how many times I’ve said, “We can’t (fill in the blank) because I have a board meeting.”

Speaking of board meetings, my best guesstimate is that I have attended 500. That number does not include graduations, training, PTO meetings, school council meetings, plays, school visits, athletic events, hearings, concerts, retirement ceremonies, teacher of the year events, etc. In the first six months of 2013, we had 25 meetings.

Here are some other interesting statistics. I have served on the board with 16 different board members. There have been five superintendents and three interim superintendents. Trigg Dalrymple, the first with whom I served, was the last of the elected superintendents.

When I was first on the board in 1993, we had 11 elementary schools, four middle schools, and three high schools. Since then we have built seven elementaries, two middle and two high schools. (We also rebuilt Fayette County High School.) The board has also closed four elementary schools and one middle school. Every school in the county has been built, added on to, or renovated since I first came on the board. Who knows how many times we’ve changed school attendance lines?

Student enrollment in 1993 was about 16,000. Our highest enrollment was close to 23,000 in 2006. We now have just over 20,000.

A beginning teacher with a four-year degree had a salary of about $21,500. Now a new teacher would be making about $36,000. (Still too low.)

The general fund budget in FY ‘93 was approximately $57 million. By 2008 it had risen to about $197 million. Then the recession hit.

One thing that has not changed in all these years is the great education the students in Fayette County receive. Not only do we have good students and parents who want the best education for their children, but we have always had outstanding employees from the county office level up to the school level. There were super people in place before I ever came on the scene who had a vision of what this system should be.

My hope is that the tradition of excellence will continue and that the new board members will take their job seriously and will remember that the education of 20,000 students rests on the decisions the board makes. It is the board’s duty to make sure that the Fayette County School System is always a place “Where Excellence Counts.”

Thanks for allowing me to serve you, the citizens of Fayette County.

Marion Key
Fayetteville, Ga.

[Key lost her reelection bid in the Republican primary last year.]