Write-in candidate File: A pledge to open up often-murky BoE proceedings

Tue, 09/23/2008 - 3:33pm
By: Letters to the ...

You, as a member of this community, have a right to know what is going on — even behind the scenes — within our Fayette County Board of Education (FCBOE).

This is not a bold statement. Your right to know is not new; it is not subversive or radical. It is fundamental and very, very important.

Chances are every adult who reads these lines has a financial stake in the decisions of the FCBOE. We are a community. We all pay taxes, whether we have children in Fayette County schools or not.

The FCBOE ought to be fostering a system of open government so that we can all rest assured the school system is working for us and for our students, and not for the personal gain of a few individual adults.

I give you my word that if I am elected to the FCBOE, when you come to the FCBOE wanting to view documents on any subject, you will be given access to those documents even if I have to do the legwork to find them myself. This pertains to ESPLOST, land purchase agreements, redistricting plans or anything else.

The recent proposal for an ESPLOST seemed to fall from the sky after the July primary. Why? A recent Open Records request could not be accommodated. Why? Convincing the FCBOE to document meeting minutes and voting records has been a struggle. Why? You have a right to know.

I support quality education. I support having top-notch facilities. I applaud the efforts of our teachers and paraprofessionals. However, the FCBOE has evidenced a historical pattern of problems with transparency. And we must all ask, ‘Why?’

Too many questions about how some of our school bond funds have been spent and too few answers being offered by the people to whom we gave the authority, point us all in the direction of asking, “Why?”.

Parents and taxpayers deserve value for their significant tax payments. Yes, provide a quality education, but do it efficiently and do it openly.

If you write my name on the ballot for the FCBOE Post 1, I will commit to advocating the following fundamental and crucial steps:

1. I will ensure a higher degree of transparency by opening doors for parents and taxpayers that have been shut for too long. I will push for meeting agendas to be released for public review on the FCBOE website one week prior to board meetings. This will ensure that citizens and board members have adequate time to review and prepare for the upcoming meeting.

2. I will push for detailed meeting minutes, recording how board members voted on each item, and have them linked on the FCBOE website. In addition, hard copies of the minutes and associated documents will be kept at the FCBOE office for review by citizens at any time – and you will not have to supply your personal information. The community will know exactly where every board member stands on every issue. We deserve no less.

3. I will push for a statement of complete financial disclosure, tracking the FCBOE budget each month. This, too, will be posted for public review on the FCBOE website and/or on the cable channel 24. It’s your money. You have a right to know exactly how the board spends it.

4. If a parent or taxpayer has something to say at one of our FCBOE meetings, they will be allowed to have their say. They will not be cutoff in mid-sentence by a three-minute time limit.

5. Finally, open records requests will be handled in an efficient and timely manner. It is the FCBOE’s responsibility to provide parents and taxpayers with the information they seek. This is your right under the law.

Taking these steps toward promoting open government and providing full disclosure to the community does not cost a dime. Why hasn’t the FCBOE already taken the steps I propose? Again, we ask, ‘why?’

Please let me know your thoughts. Go to my website, and click on “Ask Nicole.”

I appreciate your consideration of my name as the write-in candidate on the ballot as your advocate for Post 1 of the FCBOE.

Nicole File

Write-in candidate, BoE, Post 1


Peachtree City, Ga.

login to post comments

Comment viewing options

Select your preferred way to display the comments and click "Save settings" to activate your changes.
Submitted by PreciousStahr on Wed, 09/24/2008 - 3:53pm.

I will write your name on the ballot for Post 1 of the FCBOE. Thank you and Good luck.

Submitted by PeteSake on Tue, 09/23/2008 - 6:19pm.

Last week I sent you a question using the Ask Nicole link on your website. I asked if you'd provide the full text of the correspondence between you and members of the board about the busses being used for the air show. You still haven't answered me, but that's okay because Janet Smola and Terri Smith responded right away.

Score: Nicky Fiel - 0 Janet Smola - 1

suggarfoot's picture
Submitted by suggarfoot on Tue, 09/23/2008 - 7:46pm.

where are the recipts from the rental of schools busses for the great american airshow that Smola was the....promoter of? Doesn't she keep books? Maybe that past BOE member would know? what was his name...Woody? he moved didn't he?

Submitted by Bonkers on Wed, 09/24/2008 - 3:41am.

I said before, it was a cash deal! This is Georgia!

Submitted by swac on Tue, 09/23/2008 - 8:56pm.


Surprise!! Janet Smola works for a living; and as one who knows a little of her schedule, she works darn hard earning her pay.
One of her jobs is marketing for The Great Georgia Air Show (GGAS).
She is not the treasurer; she is not the secretary; she is not the PR person; she does not keep the books.
Why then would she have "books" about the completely legal and ethical agreement for the GGAS to pay for the use of school buses at the air show?

suggarfoot's picture
Submitted by suggarfoot on Wed, 09/24/2008 - 5:31am.

Because she is paid a salary by both! A conflict of interest at best, in quite a few people's eyes. If this deal went down in cash, that is even worse!

I hope the blogger was joking about cash. If someone who works for the school system is taking cash payments and not reporting them, they should be fired. And if someone on the school board knows their company is giving ...cash.? payments, well guess what?

Submitted by Brooks Parent on Tue, 09/23/2008 - 9:26pm.

Like I have said before...Where is the contract between the school system and the air show? Why is Smola working with Smith to write a handbook for the board the restrict the public's knowledge even more. Give me a break!

suggarfoot's picture
Submitted by suggarfoot on Wed, 09/24/2008 - 5:37am.

I hope that is a joke too. Who died and made them God? If it has anything todo with the ethical standards for the BOE members, the public should have 99% input. The writing should go something this, we John Q Public, dictate, Janet, you can take dictation, and Smith, you can hold the pencil if you want.

Comment viewing options

Select your preferred way to display the comments and click "Save settings" to activate your changes.