Why I am supporting Alyson Otto for Fayette County School Board

5
1971

We have a great district because we have great teachers, administrators, involved parents and hardworking students. However, a district can never rest on its laurels and must keep moving forward. I think new prospective and new energy is required on the Fayette County Board of Education. I served on a New York School Board for two terms. I know how a School Board works. I think we need a change in District 2.

A school board must be fiscally prudent because they are overseeing millions and millions of taxpayer dollars. A motion was made by Roy Rabold in 2020 to build a new Booth Middle School rather than refurbishing the old one because “refurbishing would be disruptive to our kids’ education” and “we need more space.” So the school board voted to purchase 37 acres of rural, community land in Peachtree City with dirt roads.

The school district is not allowed to build roads and Peachtree City Council asked them to NOT build a school there. The neighbors hadn’t bargained for a high traffic neighborhood and existing roads were inadequate.

Regardless, Roy and the other members proceeded with this enormous project — projected $40 million, actual $47+ million dollars, and student enrollment in our district was falling!

Roy Rabold was cavalier at the candidate forum in April. Roy said he didn’t use taxpayer money, “all the money for new Booth came from SPLOST.” That is our tax dollars! The school was ready but could not be open because the road situation had not been figured yet with Peachtree City.

Meanwhile the old Booth school is being refurbished too! The school board decided to refurbish and rent it. How much are they spending now? I thought the refurbishing was not done because it was “disruptive to our kids’ education”?

There are some crazy politics spreading around our country. Critical Race Theory teaches kids to be divisive and judgmental rather than looking at what bonds us together as Americans in 2022.

Another current trend is transgender boys being permitted to play in girls’ sports. This is ultimately so unfair. Roy served but did not take action or lead the Board to action.

Why didn’t our Fayette County Board of Education make policies to protect our kids prior to waiting until 2022 when the state government acted. Roy stated at the candidate forum that “all policies are based on court order or law.” False.

In the absence of state or federal laws, every school board will and should make policies that give the school district direction. Roy doesn’t know that after 3 years on the school board?

This year I am voting for Alyson Otto who has the passion, the perspective, business background and even has a child in the schools!

Vicki M. Leopold

Fayetteville, Ga. 

[Mrs. Leopold is a psychotherapist and served previously (1996-2002) on the Half Hollow Hills School Board in New York.]

5 COMMENTS

  1. Alyson Otto will give us a new perspective – including, but not limited to:
    1. Four children of various ages giving us her knowledge of some of those age group needs. 2. Having moved here about two years ago she now knows many of the challenges of coming into new schools and is willing to work on the challenges she met there. 3. Having a special need child in our school system gives her insight on dealing with those issues. 4. Allison’s husband is a church planter, so, she’s familiar with community challenges in that respect as well. 5. Allison currently works as Office Administrator in their family business – she understands the importance of money, finances, and balancing the books.
    Please vote Alyson Otto! She IS a Fiscally Responsible, Conservative Candidate.

  2. I would like to clear up some errors in this letter. First, a school district can build a road as long as it is on their property. The School Board, prior to my serving, built Tiger Trail at FCHS, Wildcat Way at WHS, and the road in front of Peeples, Rising Starr, and Starr’s Mill. We have built a connecting road from Stage Coach Road to Carriage Lane. Second, so far, we have spent $40.3 million on the New Booth and have $1.2 million left in the budget. This was approved at the November Board Business meeting. This is not $47 million as stated. By the way, after four public hearings and a parent survey, over seventy percent of the parents voted for a new Booth Middle School. Third, at the Forum I thought everyone knew that I meant it was not property taxes that paid for the New Booth. Yes, I know a SPLOST is a tax. A SPLOST tax is paid by everyone. This means that people from outside our county pay the tax as well. It has been estimated, not by the board of education, that approximately 30% of SPLOST dollars come from outside the county. Fourth, the state paid for half of the refurbishing of the old Booth. Now a student will be able to start kindergarten and proceed to a college degree or a career technical diploma and not have to leave Fayette County. As for the transgender issue, it is not an issue. The state legislature did not rule on this and left it up to the GHSA to rule. Since our schools are members of the GHSA for athletics, we have to follow their rules. They ruled no and we have our decision. I did not take the lead on passing a policy that would have been futile before the GHSA decision. You are correct in that in the absence of state or federal laws a school board can make a policy. If you make a policy that is not based on state law, federal law, or a court decision you open yourself up to a lawsuit. This is a legal opinion from multiple attorneys I have spoken with. I prefer to spend our money on the education of our students and not on attorney fees and court costs. I don’t know how things worked in New York but I do know the laws and how they work in Georgia.

  3. The ENTIRE Fayette County School Board needs to be VOTED OUT and REPLACED with FISCALLY RESPONSIBLE and CONSERVATIVE people because of the OUTRAGEOUS WASTE and SQUANDERING of the taxpayers’ money that is going on with these MONEY WASTERS! I AM SICK OF IT! 🤬