Dukes Enters Campaign for BOE Chair
He said he will eliminate all teacher furloughs, cut the county dropout rate and never vote for a tax increase.
Pledging to eliminate all teacher furloughs by reducing a "bloated" central office, Cherokee Charter Academy governing board member Danny Dukes said late Tuesday night that he will run for county school board chair.
“We all deserve a school board with positive, collaborative energy and an effective leader who works for solutions based on conservative principles,” he said in a statement. “We can have the highest performing school system in Georgia if we put students first and pledge to work with other elected leaders to solve problems. And we can do all this without raising taxes.”
Dukes' decision came a little more than a month after he announced the formation of an exploratory committee to weigh the pros and cons of a campaign for the newly-created countywide chair position.
“During the last few weeks, I have discovered a groundswell of support for a true conservative as Cherokee County school board chair," he said Tuesday. "Parents, teachers, community leaders and citizens share my sincere passion for the children of our county."
In April, Board of Education Vice Chairwoman Janet Read said that she was running for chair. And BOE Chairman Mike Chapman and former school board member Eddie Blackwell said that they are mulling BOE runs, too.
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Chapman and Read were two of the four school board members who rejected Cherokee Charter Academy's third petition for a charter during a heated June 2011 meeting.
The state Board of Education subsequently approved the charter school, but the Cherokee County Republican Party in August called on Chapman, Read, Robert Wofford and Rick Steiner to “officially reconsider their actions” of denying the Cherokee Charter Academy or to “renounce their affiliation with the Republican Party.”
And in March, Gov. Nathan Deal signed a controversial redistricting measure that creates the elected chair position and effectively draws out Chapman and Read from their seats. Critics have said that the legislation, known as House Bill 978, is payback for that June 2011 charter vote, a claim that members of the Cherokee County Legislative Delegation have denied.
In Tuesday's announcement, Dukes said the school board has “engaged in a very public fight with families and community leaders” as the graduation rate in Cherokee fell, a reference to a new federal formula that resulted in a drop for the entire state.
“When elected school board chair, I can guarantee the working relationship between this school board and others will be repaired immediately,” he said. “Instead of fighting about charter schools, we will focus on making sure students graduate with an exceptional education.”
In addition to eliminating teacher furloughs and repairing strained relationships between the BOE and others, Dukes said he will "take every step possible" to cut the county dropout rate in half and never vote for a tax increase. He said his professional experience as the managing member of a financial consulting firm qualifies him to give Cherokee the "fiscal oversight many have felt was lacking on the school board for years."
For the full announcement, open the attached PDF document under Dukes' photo.