On this day, two years ago, Kent Davis (a major funder of Curlee, Burgos, Cash, and Emerson) laid out the plan for the final days of the 2014 WCSB campaign. He wrote that final ads should be “focused on helping the candidates and should ignore the opponents.” Davis also noted that pictures are “dynamite” and the “fact that there are four is also dynamite.” He also encouraged the ads to focus on Common Core and against federal interference. “Funding would be the least of the issues,” he said, and went on to say that he would “defer to whoever believes we can put together an effective ad on short notice.”
(On August 5th and 6th, the two days before the election, identical, glossy sets of three Americans for Prosperity mailers were sent to households in the four contested districts. AFP later bragged that it spent $500,000 in Tennessee in the six weeks prior to the August elections and called the new WCS board a major victory. The mailers included high-resolution photos of the candidates (not available off the internet) and their phone numbers, instructing voters to “thank” the candidates. AFP is not a registered PAC.)
Later that day (7/24/14), Burgos, Cash, Curlee, and Emerson held a press statement at Centennial High School. The press contact was Franklin Alderman Bev Burger (using the name Elka Ahearn). Burger had hosted campaign fundraisers for Burgos, Curlee, Emerson and Paul Bartholomew and later endorsed Cash.
The prepared statement read by Beth Burgos stated:
“Not one of us has remotely entertained or expressed the desire to replace our superintendent Dr. Looney.”
“We have not made any of our campaigns political or partisan. BUT … a fair election process has been ROBBED FROM US by highly partisan groups and individuals…”
“We find it disturbing that special interest groups would stoop to ANY measure to protect the status quo.”
The candidates refused to answer questions.
And now fast-forward one year to July 24, 2015… WCS Superintendent Dr. Mike Looney, after ten months of strife with some of the new board members who had stated emphatically exactly one year earlier that “not one of us has remotely entertained or expressed the desire to replace our superintendent Dr. Looney” and after a month of tension over his contract and the threat of an ouster vote, decided to remain at Williamson County Schools despite an offer from MNPS.
“The support from the Williamson County community, including parents, former parents, students, Williamson Inc. and the business community, and Williamson County Schools employees has been overwhelming. I also appreciate the support of the Williamson County School Board members who have worked with County Mayor Rogers Anderson and Williamson County Commissioners.” – Dr. Mike Looney, WCS Superintendent, 7/24/15
“It was the upheaval that occurred when Dr. Looney was considering leaving Williamson County for the Davidson County position that was the spearhead of the entire process and our decision on why we needed to get involved. Business leaders saw the overwhelming support from parents, teachers and citizens who did not want to see Dr. Looney leave.”
“Quality public education is key to our community’s overall success, including continued economic development and students that are benefiting from a robust education system. This election is critical to making sure we have a School Board that focuses on our students to ensure they are receiving the highest quality of education.” – Dennis Norvet, Williamson Business PAC Chairman
“I started this PAC last summer as a reaction to the effort by certain board members to oust Dr. Looney from his position as Director of Schools for Williamson County.”
“In general, we will be supporting candidates that place the best interests of the school system, including the students, the parents, the teachers, the administration, and the staff of WCS as the top priority. Furthermore, and again—as a general rule—we will be supporting candidates who regard WCS as a local asset to be protected and maintained, rather than a liability to be somehow fixed, altered or even dismantled.” – Roger Abramson, WillCo Rising PAC President