Dear Decaturish – In support of Steven Bowden, DeKalb School Board District 2Steven Bowden
Editor’s note: Decaturish on March 14 sent a letter to all candidates in our coverage area running in the May 24 election and invited them to submit letters to the editor by April 15. Candidates were informed that letters sent after this date would be marked as late. After Decaturish published letters from the other three candidates in the Dekalb County School Board District 2 race, Steven Bowden sent the following three letters. The other candidates in this race turned in their letters by the April 15 deadline.
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As a 28-year DeKalb resident, I am writing to you today to proudly express my support for Steven Bowden for DeKalb County School Board District 2. Steven is a DeKalb Dad and is personally invested in our school system. Unlike so many others that have left our community because of our failing schools, Steven has his 9-year-old son attending Ashford Park Elementary School and has a set of 5-year-old fraternal twins that will be starting Kindergarten this Fall.
Steven is a dad and family man. Every weekend and volunteering as a baseball coach, Steven is at Murphey Candler Park supporting his kids and cheering on your little ones. That is what makes Steven special. You know that he will support all the students of DeKalb County as he would his own.
He has decided to get involved and will be a critical part of the solution which is desperately needed in a school system that has been plagued with problems for decades. DeKalb County School District received $500 Million from the CARES ACT. This was the highest grant in the entire state of Georgia. Several news outlets including Decaturish, found that DeKalb County School Officials have used Federal COVID-19 relief money to pay supplements or bonuses totaling nearly $90 million to more than 10,000 district employees. Some of them took home $10k in checks. Many of the schools, which are in serious disrepair, if not are uninhabitable received no money for repairs. As the DCSB is responsible for the allocation of these funds, I seriously urge you to vote for Steven Bowden.
Steven has a construction background, and this gives him a unique perspective to attack a major issue in our district. Videos have recently highlighted the issues with Druid Hills High School and Cross Keys High School. Steven understands the issue in the county isn’t with just these schools. It is a county wide issue. Steven’s experience with commercial preconstruction/estimating will allow him to be able to attack the maintenance, renovation, and new construction issues in the district. He will be able to challenge the costs that are being presented to ensure that the district is spending their money wisely. Unlike his predecessors, I trust Steven to be steward of our taxpayer dollars and ensure that our money is being spent wisely.
We also have schools in the district that are overcrowded, and we have schools that are underutilized. Tough decisions need to be made in order to better support our students. Steven has pledged to evaluate out school populations so that they can be right sized so that our students are receiving the resources that they need to succeed. It doesn’t matter if our students are in the northern or southern part of the district. All the students deserve equal opportunities with a path to success.
Our community has changed over the last two decades. And sadly, it is not for better. But we all love DeKalb. It is our home. I cannot wait to hear people say that I moved to DeKalb because of the great schools. Steven cares about the students. He cares about the teachers. He cares about the parents. He is a #DeKalbDad. He is willing to step up and make a difference. Vote Steven Bowden for School District 2 because #DeKalbDeservesBetter. Thank you.
Marci McCarthy – Chairman, The DeKalb Republican Party
I am writing to express my fullest support of Steven Bowden, candidate for the District 2 Board of Education seat. In the following paragraphs, I will outline why I believe that Steven is the best choice and only choice for District 2.
Firstly, I think the best school board members are those with children (or relatives) currently enrolled in the district. Steven is a parent of young elementary school aged children, including a 5th graders and twins enter school next year. This means that Steven and his family are going to be invested in Dekalb county schools for many years to come. That vested interest in the District 2 schools will mean that Steven will work tirelessly to supporting the needs of all the students in Dekalb County schools.
Secondly, it is no surprise to the readers of Decaturish that many Dekalb County Schools are in a state of disrepair, including Druid Hills, Cross Keys, Lakeside, and Dekalb School of the Arts. I believe that Steven’s background in construction will provide the much-needed expertise to help tackle tough issues like the backlog of maintenance repairs and need for modernization of numerous school buildings throughout the district. His construction experience will give Steven an edge when it comes to the complex issues of preconstruction estimation, which will enable him to challenge the costs of maintenance, renovations, and new construction projects and ensure that the district is spending taxpayer money wisely.
Last, but not least, I was impressed by Steven’s answers during the Decaturish Candidate Forum, especially regarding virtual learning.
A recent study from Harvard University entitled “The Consequences of Remote and Hybrid Instruction During the Pandemic,” has shown what parents and teachers in Dekalb County Schools already knew – that virtual learning was a disaster for K-12 students. A full year of virtual learning in 2020-2021 resulted in significant learning loss (27%), which is greatest in high poverty Title 1 schools with 50% learning loss among students. These data demonstrate that virtual learning has had a detrimental effect on children during these formative years. It is critical that Dekalb County School District follow the science and avoid the same virtual learning mistakes in the future. Steven is the only District 2 candidate to follow that science, to recognize the harm that a year of virtual learning has done to Dekalb County students, and to state he would not recommend virtual learning for K-12 in the future.
As a mom of two elementary aged boys, I write this letter to express my unequivocal support for Steven Bowden for district 2. DeKalb County School District has lost sight of what is important – the students and the teachers. Steven will help to bring DeKalb County School District out of disrepair so that it may once again provide all students with the education they deserve.
Jessica Lawrence, Fernbank Elementary
I am writing to you today to express my support for Steven Bowden. Steven is a DeKalb dad and is invested in the school system. He has a son going into 5th grade and has twins starting kindergarten in the fall at Ashford Park Elementary. Steven sees the issues that Dekalb faces and instead of sitting back and just complaining he is taking action to work for a better Dekalb school board.
My family knows Steven not only through the school but have played baseball with him and against his teams since our boys were very young. . This year his twin son and daughter also started playing at Murphey Candler and there isn’t a weekend where you won’t see him at the park supporting his kids. That is what makes Steven special. You know that he will support all the students of DeKalb County as he would his own. Steven is well loved around Murphy Chandler and is hugely respected as a coach and father.
Steven has a construction background, and this gives him a unique perspective to attack a major issue in our district. Videos have recently highlighted the issues with Druid Hills High School and Cross Keys High School. Steven understands the issue in the county isn’t with just these schools. It is a county wide issue.
Steven’s experience with commercial preconstruction/estimating will allow him to be able to attack the maintenance, renovation, and new construction issues in the district. He will be able to challenge the costs that are being presented to ensure that the district is spending their money wisely. I trust Steven to be steward of the taxpayers’ dollars and ensure our money is being spent wisely.
Steven is focused on ensuring that the DeKalb County School District will remain accountable. He has spoken to me about how he cannot believe how the school board isn’t being transparent to the stakeholders. The parents, teachers, and students of the county should be aware of the day-to-day operations of the district take place. The fact that the school board holds closed door meetings is unacceptable. Steven is committed to making sure that the school board makes sure that all the stakeholders are aware of the day-to-day operations of the district. I as a parent feel that the school board hasn’t been open about the decision making and I want to know what is going on.
We have schools in the district that are overcrowded, his home school being one of them, and we have schools that are underutilized. Tough decisions need to be made in order to better support our students. Steven has pledged to evaluate our school populations so that they can be right sized so that our students are receiving the resources that they need to succeed. It doesn’t matter if our students are in the northern or southern part of the district. All the students deserve the same chance.
Steven cares about the students. He cares about the teachers. He cares about the parents. He is a parent. He is willing to step up and make a difference. The students in DeKalb deserve better. The teachers in DeKalb deserve better. Steven is going to work as hard as he can to make our system better.
I write this letter to express my opinion and my desire to vote for Steven Bowden for Board of Education District 2. The district has lost sight of what is important. We need to focus on our students. We need to support our teachers. Parents need to be involved. Let’s make DeKalb County one of the school districts in the state. We deserve better.
Parent of a current 3rd and Kindergarten students in DeKalb County
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