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Decatur School Board candidate says he’s ‘keenly aware’ of importance of education


Decatur School Board candidate says he’s ‘keenly aware’ of importance of education

Tom DeSimone, left, with his family. Photo provided to Decaturish
Tom DeSimone, left, with his family. Photo provided to Decaturish

Tom DeSimone, left, with his family. Photo provided to Decaturish

Attorney Tom DeSimone says he understands the importance of providing everyone with access to a quality education. He has two children enrolled in City Schools of Decatur.

“I am keenly aware of the importance of providing all citizens with access to a quality education,” he said. “In fact, when my family and I were considering a move to the Atlanta area, one of the first things that we looked for was a place that had an excellent public education system from kindergarten to twelfth grade. City of Decatur schools fit that profile perfectly.”

DeSimone said the school system’s “level of enthusiasm and commitment to excellence” have inspired him to seek a seat on the city School Board. DeSimone will square off on Nov. 3 against Tasha White, another parent with children in the city school system. Both are seeking the District 2, Post B seat being vacated by Julie Rhame. He practices law with Robins Kaplan, LLP. He is an intellectual property attorney who focuses on patent litigation.

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His campaign platform:

– Overcrowding is the number one existential threat to the City of Decatur schools. As more and more families are attracted to the City of Decatur’s school district, we are faced with the very real prospect of overcrowded schools and dwindling resources, which could negatively impact the quality of education that we will be able to provide. I’m interested in developing meaningful solutions to ensure that as student enrollment inevitably increases, the quality of education does not suffer as a result.

– There have been a number of allegations in the past that the Board of Education has held several meetings outside the purview of the media and the public. The meetings and decisions of the Board of Education, whenever possible, should be operated with a high degree of transparency. I will ensure that unless there is a compelling reason to the contrary, all decisions and meetings of the Board of Education will be open and immediately available for review by the media and the public. If there is a compelling reason to hold a meeting in private, such reasoning will be clearly explained in advance of any meeting.

– During the upcoming election, the citizens of the City of Decatur will be asked to voice their support for a $75 million bond dedicated to expanding and improving our existing schools. This bond will be financed with an 8% increase in property taxes. This represents a substantial increase to what many feel is already a very high property tax rate. Accordingly, it should be the solemn duty of all Board of Education members to ensure that every cent of the money is spent in a manner that is efficient, transparent and accountable.

– The Board of Education must continue to support initiatives designed to ensure that the City of Decatur Schools remains a place where people of all creeds, colors and income levels continue to feel welcomed and involved.

– Many longtime residents of the City of Decatur have expressed frustration with property tax bills that continue to rise as a result of ballooning school taxes. Many of these people are on fixed incomes, have no children in the school system, and are increasingly faced with the prospect of moving out of the City of Decatur because they can no longer afford their property tax bills. I believe that we should explore ways to offer these residents relief in the form of tax freezes or exemptions in order to help ease their tax burden and keep them in the town they love.

According to DeSimone’s press release, he holds a Juris Doctorate from the Tulane University Law School and a Bachelor of Science Degree in Microbiology from the University of Florida.

The election is Nov. 3.