By Steve Hunley

The upcoming election for the 2nd district board of education seat is one of the most important races on the November ballot.

The outcome of that particular race will define the future direction of education in Knox County.

Jamie Rowe, Tracie Sanger, and Charlotte Dorsey are competing for this office.

Jamie Rowe would be an outstanding candidate for any office, especially school board.  Ms. Rowe has been involved in various community groups for decades.  Jamie Rowe has stood up for homeowners and neighborhoods for years.  Rowe has been tireless in her efforts to see that local government works efficiently and effectively for the public.

Jamie Rowe will help to restore credibility and accountability in the school system, an entity that currently spends over half a billion tax dollars annually.  Rowe has been completely forthright in her campaign, taking stands on issues big and small.  Jamie Rowe has publicly stated that if the issue was before the board she would vote to dismiss superintendent Jim McIntyre.  She has also stated that she would not have supported the recent extension of his contract. Rowe has also said the board should be more careful with the money it spends before asking county commission for additional funds.

The school folks, as we all know, have asked for a tax increase every year for as long as I can remember. I hope you are sitting down when you read this because this year they seem poised to ask for at least $50 million new tax dollars, which would require a whopping 22% increase in the property tax rate.

Of all three candidates, Jamie Rowe is clearly the most qualified and fiscally conservative. She would not would be another rubber stamp for McIntyre like the previous board member. Not surprisingly, Sanger has the endorsement of the recently departed board member. So, it is fair to state that Sanger is the “more of the same” candidate in the race.  Sanger has also ducked debates with Jamie Rowe and not taken any stand on any issues. Sanger has offered little or nothing in her public pronouncements to indicate what she would do on the board of education, except  for being another rubber stamp for whatever superintendent McIntyre wants.

Dorsey has made even less of an impression in the race. Dorsey was a candidate for school board in the 7th district (before redistricting) four years ago, losing then to Kim Severance.  Both Dorsey and Sanger back McIntyre.

Jamie Rowe is fiercely independent, highly intelligent, and amazingly well informed.  Rowe has diverse support from highly visible Republicans, Democrats and Independents alike. Jamie Rowe has worked in our community for years and is about as far from any special interests as one can get and still be on the same planet.

Jamie Rowe supports teachers being able to teach and opposes the dictatorial measures forced upon them by McIntyre. Many of us have not forgotten that more than seventy percent of our teachers indicated in a recent survey done by McIntyre that they feel that Knox County Schools is NOT a good place to work and learn.

Transparency and accountability are absolutely crucial in any government entity, especially one that spends half a billion taxpayer dollars yearly. Rowe believes the public’s business should always be done in public and not “behind closed doors.”

We desperately need people who are independent-minded on the board of education, who will answer to the people who elected them, not to an appointed superintendent.  We need Board of Education members who cannot be controlled by the Chamber of Commerce and wealthy elitists, most of whose children attend or have attended private schools anyway.

We need

Jamie Rowe.