By Rebecca Gaunt
The New Southern Majority IE PAC released a digital ad Monday targeting Cobb school board Chairman David Chastain for the board’s “misuse of taxpayer dollars.”
From the press release:
“A grand jury has determined that the school board, led by Chairman David Chastain, failed to follow its own rules for awarding contracts. One contract was awarded to a company caught up in an illegal kick-back scheme.“
The ad can be viewed HERE.
“David Chastain and the Cobb County School Board have mismanaged taxpayer dollars and ignored the pleas of students and parents for a safe and healthy learning environment,” said Brandon Jones, spokesperson for New Southern Majority. “Voters should know what’s going on under his leadership and that is precisely why we are spreading the word across the county.”
The kickback scheme referenced in the ad is related to the UV sanitizing lights Cobb installed in schools early in the COVID-19 pandemic. They had to be removed after a malfunction. WSB-TV dug into the link between the CCSD contract and a sweetheart deal being investigated in Florida.
The Courier reached out to both candidates Monday morning. Challenger Catherine Pozniak said she was not aware of the ad. Chastain also said he was not aware of the ad and declined to comment on the allegations it contains.
Jeff Hubbard, president of the Cobb County Association of Educators, also told the Courier that Pozniak was unaware of the ad.
The release for New Southern Majority said that it took action because “Cobb County parents and students have been challenging the school board for mismanaging funds and refusing to address racial discrimination and antisemitism in schools. Chairman Chastain’s continued negligence of parents’ and students’ concerns prompted New Southern Majority to shine a light on the school board’s management and pattern of misspending.”
The Southern Poverty Law Center Action Fund launched the PAC in September “to promote candidates running for office in the South who stand for racial justice and work to advance human rights for all people”
[Clarification: The original version of the article stated the purpose of the PAC was to “to help recruit, support and drive greater diversity among political candidates running for local offices throughout the South.” SPLC asked us to update the definition, as the New Southern Majority PAC does not recruit candidates]
UPDATE: Asked to comment, Jeff Hubbard, the president of the Cobb County Association of Eductors responded to the Courier in an email, “Our taxpayers and voters deserve full transparency on the intended usage and outcomes, and public approval of major purchases for both academic and operational purchases. I personally believe that any major purchase over $100,000 should be presented to the board at their work session and voted upon during the main meeting. And, if in fact the above has not been the practice, then any board members voting to approve such measures without transparency should be held accountable by the taxpayers and voters. We must be able to have full faith in our board members to utilize our financial and human resources with fidelity and efficacy.”
Rebecca Gaunt earned a degree in journalism from the University of Georgia and a master’s degree in education from Oglethorpe University. After teaching elementary school for several years, she returned to writing. She lives in Marietta with her husband, son, two cats, and a dog. In her spare time, she loves to read, binge Netflix and travel.