Alison Bartlett was elected the Cobb County Board of Education’s new chairwoman as expected Sunday, and new board member Scott Sweeney was chosen as the vice chairman.
Both Bartlett (Post 7) and Sweeney (Post 6) were chosen through 4-0 votes at Sunday afternoon’s special called board meeting at the school district’s Central Office boardroom. New members Kathleen Angelucci (Post 4) and Tim Stultz (Post 2) also attended the meeting, which lasted about 20 minutes.
Board members Lynnda Crowder-Eagle (Post 1), David Morgan (Post 3) and David Banks (Post 5) did not attend the meeting. Crowder-Eagle, the outgoing chair, told Northeast Cobb Patch on Thursday night that the three would miss the special meeting because of previous commitments.
Under Cobb school board policy, a board member may not serve successive terms as chair.
“I’m very much looking forward to it,” Bartlett said of being the board chair. “I feel honored that the three newly elected board members felt I was the best qualified for the job. I feel that the other three not being here (indicates) that they support the decision.”
Sweeney said he and “my colleagues have a tremendous amount of work to do, and I’m ready to get to work.”
The main reason Bartlett, Sweeney, Angelucci and Stultz decided Thursday night, soon after the three new members were sworn in, to have a Sunday meeting was to add items to the agenda for Wednesday's 8:30 a.m. work session.
Crowder-Eagle said Thursday that the special meeting set a precedent: “In the history of Cobb, there’s never been a called meeting to elect a chair.”
Although the meeting required paying overtime to two technicians to televise the meeting, a district security officer and a custodian, Angelucci said the special meeting was needed.
“I think it was important for all of us to be on the same page in terms of the agenda,” she said. “It’s nice to have us all have input on the agenda for Wednesday. By doing it now we all hit the ground running.”
Sweeney had one new item for the agenda, discussion of a board policy related to the Facilities & Technology Committee.
Bartlett added five discussion items to the agenda:
- Board meetings and procedures.
- The strategic plan in terms of bringing back the meets-and-exceeds category. “We need to make sure we’re challenging our high achievers because they’re our future doctors, engineers and scientific research,” Bartlett said. “The majority of (students at) American colleges and universities in engineering, medical and science fields are not American, and 80 percent of the gross national product comes from these people.”
- What the board wants included in monthly budget reports.
- The information provided to the public and board members about meeting agendas.
- The district’s liability for vacation payouts for its nonteacher employees who have 180-day contracts. “I spoke about this during the budget last year, probably February or March, where we’re having employees leaving with more than a $20,000 check for vacation,” Bartlett said. “It comes out of the general fund, so it’s a direct hit to our general fund.”
Bartlett acknowledged possible tension developing between the board members present Sunday and those who weren’t.
“I’m a professional, and I know my fellow board members are professionals," she said. "I know we can learn to work as a team."