The Newnan Times-Herald

Opinion

Barker, school board deserve support


  • By The Newnan Times-Herald
  • |
  • Sep. 19, 2018 - 4:01 PM

We are writing to you to express our complete and total support of the superintendent of the Coweta County School System, Dr. Steve Barker, and the school board.

Over the years we have had the opportunity to interact with Dr. Barker on a number of initiatives and have found him to consistently be a man of honor, integrity and compassion. Over the summer at a gathering of the students granted the Governor’s Georgia REACH Scholarships, we saw Dr. Barker’s humility and self-effacing style shine through as he humorously related some of his life lessons to the students, who were
engaged and responsive.

Dr. Barker is the most recent recipient of the State of Georgia School Superintendent of the Year Award, an award that he richly deserved.

We also have worked with many of the members of the school board and have found each of them to not only be dedicated to the long-term success of our school system but willing to provide their skills and talents to our community in what is mostly a thankless job.

Together, Dr. Barker and the school board have served Coweta County extremely well by containing costs, striving for excellence, increasing teacher and staff morale and most importantly providing a more solid education for the children of this county – which has been clearly demonstrated in improved test scores.

We are shocked by what we believe to be a baseless assault on the integrity of Dr. Barker and the members of the school board by means of a threatened lawsuit and accusations of RICO violations related to the installation of new turf at the high school stadiums. It should be well noted by the public that The Newnan Times-Herald reported on September 10, 2018, the individual making these threats, Mr. Henry Ashmore indicated through his attorney, Mr. Josh McKoon, that he would consider an offer to “settle” his claim for compensation of three times his “damages” plus “punitive” damages.

Whether this is just an attempt by Messrs. Ashmore and McKoon to make money off the back of the taxpayers is left for each citizen to decide on their own. As for us, we wonder why a citizen would allege that there were felony violations of the law but be willing to “settle” if he receives payment.

While the motivation for these claims causes doubt in our minds, what is not in doubt is the taxpayers will be forced to pay for the defense of the claims.

As a community, we must let Dr. Barker and the school board know that we are grateful for their service, hold them in the highest esteem and will support and defend them. To do less not only harms them, but will harm our community and harm the children they work so very hard each and every day to serve.

Steve and Marie Swope
Newnan