FoCo GOP candidates for school board to debate this Wednesday

Justine Lookenott
The Forsyth Board of Education held its workshop meeting on April 12(Image by John Thompson)

(Forsyth County, GA) Republican candidates vying for a position on the Forsyth County School Board of Education will be going head to head in a debate this Wednesday, April 20 in an event put on by the Forsyth County Republican Party (FCRP).

The upcoming General Primary and Nonpartisan General Election on May 24 includes two slots on the BOE. Districts 1 and 5 both have two Republicans and one Democrat with eyes on the openings.

District 1 Candidates

Republican Party: Wes McCall (incumbent) Occupation: Emergency Manager

Republican Party: Dennis Scheidt Occupation: Retired

Democrat Party: Janna Kregoski Occupation: Project Manager

District 5 Candidates

Republican Party: Erin Knight Occupation: Independent Reading Specialist

Republican Party: Mike Valdes Occupation: Construction Engineer

Democrat Party: Elaine Padgett Occupation: Nurse

FCRP Chairman Jerry Marinich, who will moderate the debate, said the event will start with candidates from district 1 at 6:30 p.m.; candidates from district 5 will start their debate around 7:30 p.m.

“All the topics will basically be questions from the moderator, which is me, and questions from the public, either in advance or on the day of the event,” Marinich said.

Marinich said each slot will contain five minutes for opening comments, 25 to 30 minutes of questions for the candidates, during which they will have two minutes each to respond to a question, and then three minutes for closing remarks.

Neither the FCRP or the Forsyth County Democratic Party (FCDP) currently plan for a debate with the Democratic candidates. The FDCP does have upcoming events with various local and state Democratic leaders.

Marinich said the FCRP does have several more political debates lined up for the future, including between candidates running for commissioner and the state house for this district. He said the events will be posted on the calendar soon.
Republican candidates for the Board of Education will be debating each other on April 20(Image by the Forsyth County Republican Party)

State and local school board debates

The past few years have been riddled with controversy at the BOE when parents, both for and against, crowded into school board meetings to debate several topics, including the banning of eight books earlier this year that some parents said contained “explicit” content.

At a state level, the Georgia General Assembly recently passed two controversial school bills. H.B. 1178, or the “Parents’ Bill of Rights,” gives parents the right to inspect their child’s curriculum and other teaching materials during the first two weeks of every nine-week grading period.

H.B. 1084, or the “Protect Students First Act,” prohibits the teaching of nine concepts regarding race including that an individual's moral character is inherently determined by his or her race, that one race is inherently superior or inferior to any other, and that the United States and Georgia are systemically racist.

It also prohibits transgender students born male from competing in most girls’ sports.

This week's debate will be held at the Forsyth County Administration Building on April 20. Doors will open at 6 p.m. and debates will begin at 6:30 p.m.

Debate attendees can submit their questions for the candidates before the event by emailing secretary@forsyth.GOP. More information can be found at the FCRP website.

If you have a news tip in Forsyth County, contact Justine Lookenott at

To learn more about the two school bills passed by the Georgia General Assembly, read "Two controversial education bills just passed in the Georgia General Assembly are hitting home in Forsyth County".

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I cover local news in Forsyth County, GA. My debut into the writing world began at the age of 10 when I won an essay contest in Around Acworth Magazine in which I wrote about spending the summer with my pet goat, Eclair. Since graduating from Kennesaw State University, I have been published in several newspapers and magazines in the Atlanta area including The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, the Atlanta School Guide, What Now Atlanta, Newcomer Magazine, the Marietta Daily Journal and the Cherokee Tribune.

Forsyth County, GA

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