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Residents Take Kelly Marlow to Task Over PTA Criticism

The Cherokee school board member's attack on the PTA drew the ire of residents on Thursday.

Credit: Patch file photo
Credit: Patch file photo
Cherokee County School Board member Kelly Marlow was once again in the hot seat on Thursday as residents decried opinions she expressed on the Parent Teacher Association.  

Four residents spoke out during the board's meeting, and clarified the roles local PTA organizations play in Cherokee County public schools.

The residents questioned comments Marlow made on Facebook and through email in which she denounced the PTA's politics. 

The comments propelled Canton resident Kelly Poole to send the entire school board an email, noting she was "offended" by Marlow's assumptions about the organization.

"Without the help of our Cherokee County PTAs, many of our schools would not have many of the wonderful extras in the form of supplies and supplemental material that they need to educate our children," she wrote.

Marlow responded, and told Poole her words were directed at a few "rotten apples," and not the entire organization.

"I support the hard working parents who, as I said, break their backs and their banks to help the schools," she said. "It is my belief that many parents do not really know what the PTA does with the money nor are they happy that fundraising and politics are becoming the only talking points."

Marlow went on to label Poole as a PTA leader whose "politics have become part of the problem and not part of the solution."

During the meeting, Poole outlined the ways local PTA organizations keep schools up and running. She noted money raised by the PTA helps provide programs and purchase materials used by the students in the school. 

Holly Springs resident Debbie Proctor added she found Marlow's comments "troubling and insulting."

"Please stop attacking those who are truly involved in their children's schools," she said. 

Canton resident Lisa-Marie Haygood, president-elect of Georgia PTA, noted the local 38 units that make up the Cherokee County Council of PTAs led the way on several statewide efforts, such as securing state funding for school nurses and urging the Board of Regents to change research university requirements that would have resulted in high school students losing credit hours.

"You can rest assure that the Cherokee County Council of PTA is very busy advocating for the children of this county," she added.

Ball Ground resident and district teacher John Carter said he's "shocked and enraged" at Marlow's comments, which he characterized as "more wild accusations against good people who are working for our kids."

At the end of Thursday's meeting, Marlow took the time to apologize to residents who may have been offended by her words.

The board member noted she was "surprised" at the comments made by the residents, and added she would never "attack the volunteer work that you have done on behalf of these children."

She said she does not agree with the PTA's stance on certain issues and said, in turn, that many of the residents don't agree with the politics of her fellow board members.

Marlow told the audience her door is always open to residents who want to sit down and discuss how the community can make the PTA a better organization.

"I do not agree with the politics of the PTA," she said. "I said it before and I'll say it again. But, that doesn't mean that your work is not important and that your work is not valued. And I've said that it's a shame that a few political, quote on quote 'rotten apples,' are spoiling the hard work that you do. I don't think it's fair and I don't think it's right."

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Sarah Jessica December 07, 2013 at 10:07 AM
Ms. Marlow and Mr. Geist - As much as you want to turn the education of the students of this county into a business proposal and political platform, it's not going to happen. The residents are fully aware of your true intentions, and we are ready for you both to go back to functioning as citizens. Ms. Marlow - It is crystal clear that the "growth" Mr. Geist referenced in his letter to Gov. Deal was an outright lie. Your comments regarding the PTA and interrogation of the March of Dimes representatives not only shows your ignorance on the topic, but it is also disrespectful and embarrassing. With each board meeting, you confirm, yet again, that you CANNOT function in your role as a board member. Please resign and take Mr. Geist with you.
Stephen Guy Hardin December 07, 2013 at 10:51 AM
Just more politicians trying to build a career on the backs of our children.
patrick December 07, 2013 at 11:42 AM
The PTA supports the children of Cherokee County public schools and the betterment of our communities. Politics exist in every organization - family, church, school, government, work - however, the PTA has no room for political parties or political gain. Their great work requires cooperation, not name calling. Would like to see the Patch report more on the good works of the PTA and less on those who seek to tear down those good works.
David R December 07, 2013 at 11:42 AM
I attended this meeting. I applaud those who stood and called her out, including the president-elect of the Ga PTA. Ms Marlow never ceases to amaze the other board members and her audience/constituents with her lack of character, arrogant demeanor and blatant disregard for organizations that HELP school children, like the PTA and March of Dimes. She trashed the PTA on her Ed Choice Facebook page and then wouldn't own up to her own comments. Then, she began an embarrassing line of questioning to the March of Dimes organization reps who were there to thank the school board & district for their help. She consistently plays hard-line Tea Party politics with everything she encounters, all while saying she doesn't like their politics. The saddest part of all of this is that since taking office she hasn't made one positive contribution to the school district and school kids that she was elected to represent. She is an embarrassment to our county and it saddens me to think that we may be stuck with her for another 3 years....or at least until she goes to jail for her recent indictment of lying to police. What a joke.
Cassandra Miles December 07, 2013 at 11:48 AM
Marlow is just as dumb and just as spiteful as she was when she was erroneously elected. Geist is just as much the little puppet as he was when elected. Fortunately, even with the money coming from the Charter organizations to destroy the CCSD from within, and the Tea Party haters, she has no chance to succeed.
Thyme Tugeaux December 07, 2013 at 12:14 PM
Marlow doesn't like the 'politics' used by the PTA? Then she goes on an obvious politically-inspired interrogation of the March of Dimes representatives? Her entire "service" as a School Board member has been to advance her own political agenda, as well as her own self-aggrandizement. She looked truly unraveled without her puppet master at the meeting to tell her what to say via text.
Stephen Guy Hardin December 07, 2013 at 04:52 PM
I would hesitate to place Ms. Marlow under the banner of the TEA Party, as Cassandra Miles does. This is an agenda of personal political advancement. Also, taking this opportunity to bash the TEA Party goes to my point of political groups and activists using our children as tools for their propaganda.
David R December 07, 2013 at 09:41 PM
I hear you, Stephen. As I'm sure you can see, people get passionate about the damage that Ms. Marlow seems set on doing to our CCSD. She IS Tea Party though, as her support at some of the meetings by Dooley and Cosby demonstrate. However, I would agree with you that she has made it even more personal. She has gone beyond THAT TP ideology, or at the very least inflated it to insane proportions to push her political vendetta against others. And we all know who. It appears that she has diminishing support from the TP now as well. They seem to be distancing. Can't say as I blame them either as I'm sure that she is beginning to be viewed as more of a liability than an asset at this point.
Ryan Kasper December 09, 2013 at 09:11 AM
I was in attendance at this meeting on the 5th, as it was my daughter who was honored for winning the T-Shirt contest for the March of Dimes. We left after the recognition, and I am glad that my daughter did not need to sit through Ms. Marlow's unprepared attack against an organization who does some wonderful work. I also was very encouraged to see the public speaking out and very proud that my daughter was there to see community involvement in action.
David R December 09, 2013 at 08:36 PM
Ryan - congrats on your daughters art work! She's talented. Was cool to see them recognize her & bring her across the stage. I'm glad you got out of there before it got embarrassing though because it certainly did. Between her beating up the March of Dimes people with dumb, embarrassing questions and then making her feeble attempt to help the CCRP people "buy" more time for her for the audit review, she looked and sounded ridiculous. It was pretty pathetic.

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