School board incumbent Banks says he will vote nay on charter amendment

Long-time east Cobb resident David Banks is seeking a second term on the Cobb school board representing post 5, which includes Pope and Lassiter high schools.

Banks, 73, was first elected to the school board in 2008. Since that time, he’s been outspoken on some issues, including the budget and the controversial balanced calendar.

Banks has two challengers — Lisa Hanson and Stephanie Henry — in the July 31 Republican primary. No Democrats are seeking the seat, so the winner of the primary will likely take office in January.

Here’s where he stands on some key issues.

Banks said he plans on voting against the charter school amendment that will be on Nov. 6 ballots statewide.

“The proposed amendment does not have any accountability to the local school district, but the local school district will have to absorb any charter school failure or shutdown,” he said. “Along with (House Bill 797), the state will have the authority to use taxpayer money to adequately fund any charter school in trouble without any taxpayer approval.”

Banks, who worked in information technology before his retirement, also said he supports using Teach For America staff. His fellow board member, David Morgan, has pushed to bring TFA to Cobb, and has the support of Cobb Superintendent Dr. Michael Hinojosa.

“I will support a board member’s effort when they feel that the option is viable and necessary to improve the educational process in their post,” he said.

As for whether the board spends enough time talking about academic issues in public, he said he was not sure that the board should become too involved with that. However, Banks said the board members should analyze and evaluate the scores with “academic experts” so that they can have “meaningful discussions with school communities.”

Banks said his biggest issue in the next term would be to ensure adequate financing for the district. He insists there should be a cap on the amount of money the state takes from Cobb schools and redistributes to poorer districts. The state also must stop cutting the dollars it allocates to each district, Banks said.

As for what he’s learned by being on the board, Banks said: “Sometimes governing is very difficult. Unfortunately, at the time that I came on the board, the economy changed drastically so we’ve had to make some personnel decisions and reductions in personnel that I would have preferred never having to make,” he said.

Banks is using his email newsletter, “David’s Grapevine,” and making a lot of phone calls to campaign.

His June 30 campaign-finance report filed with the state shows he has raised about $2,500 in contributions and loaned his campaign $20,000.

(Reprinted from the Marietta Daily Journal, July 12, 2012. Written by Lindsay Field. Read more: The Marietta Daily Journal – School board incumbent Banks says he will vote nay on charter amendment )

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