A week after his primary opponent was endorsed by the leading teachers' group in the county, Cobb Board of Education member David Banks has lashed out at both.
Banks, who is seeking a second term to the Post 5 seat in East and Northeast Cobb, was highly critical of the Cobb County Association Association of Educators for its support of Lisa Hanson in the July 31 Republican primary.
"The one thing that is very apparent and should be of utmost concern to all Post 5 voters is the fact that teacher union support is totally predicated on absolute adherence to their agenda," Banks said in his e-mail newsletter distributed on Monday.
"I support and have strongly supported Cobb teachers when that support was in the best interest of student education, but I will not be held hostage by any union simply to garner their endorsement."
Banks did not detail what the CCAE's "agenda" was.
He also accused Hanson, a parent in the Lassiter High School district, of being "supported and financed by the same group that supported the anti-Balanced calendar candidates in 2010."
Banks was a stalwart foe of the school board's vote to revert to a traditional calendar, starting with the 2011-12 year, a year after following the balanced calendar he preferred.
He tried several times to get the board to reconsider its decision, without success.
CCAE president Connie Jackson told East Cobb Patch that while her group agreed with Banks on the calendar issue, it took issue with his efforts to "spend down to the reserves" to balance the Cobb County School District budget.
"We're more conservative than he is" on that issue, according to Jackson, who said the CCAE believes Hanson "has more realistic ideas in general" and was impressed with "her willingness to learn."
Hanson has been critical of Banks for his support for the aborted Teach for America proposal in Cobb schools that was strongly opposed by the CCAE. She also questioned decisions to spend reserve funds and raise property taxes.
Stephanie Henry, a parent in the Pope and Hightower Trail districts, is the other candidate in the three-way GOP race for the Post 5 seat, which includes portions of the Pope, Lassiter, Sprayberry and Wheeler high school districts.
In his e-newsletter, Banks reprinted a comment from a July 5 column in The Marietta Daily Journal that mentioned Hanson's endorsement by the CCAE, which is affiliated with the National Education Association but is not a union with collective bargaining authority.
The anonymous MDJ reader alleged that the "NEA is an inhibitor to quality education and any endorsement of a candidate to the School Board by an organization that is aligned with that organization should be highly suspect."
Banks finished his e-newsletter by saying that "the best endorsement from Teachers is their vote for me on July 31st."