There will officially be a race for the District 1 seat on the Forsyth County Board of Education, as a second candidate has declared their intention to run for the seat.
Mark Weiss announced this week he was planning to run as a Republican for the seat currently held by Ann Crow, who has said she will not seek re-election. Weiss ran for the seat in 2014 and said he learned a lot from the experience.
“It really did help me. It taught me a lot,” Weiss said. “When I ran last time, I ran on [opposing] the concept of Common Core. Nobody likes it, but the problem is most people are [interested] more in the local issues.”
Weiss is a senior engineer with VeriFone, which he said manages 80 percent of the world’s credit card transactions. He has served as a local scout leader and precinct chair for the Forsyth County Republican Party.
Recently, fellow Republican Wesley McCall, a political newcomer, announced he would run for the seat. The primary for the race will be held on May 22, and the election is on Nov. 6.
Weiss said the recent process for redistricting was one reason he wants to pursue the seat.
“I kept saying, ‘I’m going to run again,’” he said. “Right after the school board in November made a vote on redistricting, boy, did I have the calls.”
The school system is currently considering a bond issue for capital projects, and Weiss said he had “never been for a bond.”
“They always say we have the lowest millage rate, but with the bonds and the SPLOST we pay, which I call hidden taxes, people don’t think of it that way,” he said. “If you took that out, our millage rate would be higher, and that’s how they’re trying to keep it hidden.”
Weiss said he would like to see the system take an approach more focused on individual students than test scores.
“I want to give our teachers more freedom to teach,” he said. “Don’t teach for the test. Teach for the class. Let the test represent us. My goal is when a student graduates from our schools, we give them the tools to go out and if they want to go to college, go to college. If they want to go to technical school, go to technical school, but we at least give them the toolset to do it.”
He said he recognizes the uses of technology but believes students are using technology to do things other than learning in class.
“When I talk to teachers, you know what their complaint is? Jonny’s sitting in the classroom with his phone or tablet, and guess what he’s doing? Netflix or games,” Weiss said. “All that money we spend on Wi-Fi, the kids don’t use that Wi-Fi. They use data systems their parents pay for. They know Big Brother is watching them.”
Weiss is a graduate of Florida State University and is a member of Congregation Beth Israel. He has lived in the county for about 18 years and has a son who attends local schools.