Thursday, October 01, 2020

Ormes, Parker Provide Written Responses To Question From Board Of Education Virtuall Candidate Forum

***Ormes Called For Mask Mandate In Schools***

Laura Ormes joined two of the three other candidates for Board of Education Posts 4 and 5 in calling for a mask mandate at Oconee County Schools.

Only incumbent Post 4 Board Member Tim Burgess, Ormes’ opponent in the Nov. 3 election, opposes the mandate. Mask wearing is encouraged but not required under current school policy.

Ormes also said Board members should respond to citizens who write to them, something Joan Parker also said, but neither Burgess nor Michael Ransom did.

Friction between the Board of Education and Board of Commissioners is something that needs to be addressed, Ormes said, as did Ransom and Parker. Burgess said the two Boards have a good working relationship.

Ormes agreed with the other three candidates in saying that Oconee County Schools should charge the county Parks and Recreation Department for use of school sports facilities, but Ormes said she wasn’t “positive that the amount they are being asked to pay is fair and proportionate.”

Ormes was responding in writing to the questions posed by citizens in the virtual candidate forum for the four Board of Education candidates on Sept. 17. Ormes withdrew from the forum on the day of the event because of the sudden death of her sister.

Ormes and Parker also responded to questions submitted by participants in the forum that candidates did not have a chance to address because of time constraints.

In those responses both were very critical of the distance learning platforms that Oconee County Schools currently is using for students and parents who opted for distance rather than in-person instruction.

Ormes and Parker are the Democratic Party nominees for Post 4 and Post 5 respectively, while Burgess and Ransom are the Republican Party nominees for those two posts, respectively.

Virtual Forum And Questions

I moderated the candidate forum via Zoom on Sept. 17 and was assisted by my wife, Ann Hollifield, and co-hosts Philip Ashford and Karen Hilyard.


I had solicited questions in advance and asked them first. I then used questions submitted in the chat feature of Zoom as the forum progressed.

The video of that session is annotated and embedded in a post I did after the session

Because we ran out of time before I could pose all of the questions asked, I said I would submit them to the candidates for their written response.

I also said I would give the questions I did ask to Ormes and give her a chance to respond. Out of fairness, I felt I should give the three candidates who did participate the chance to respond in writing as well if they wished.

Written Responses

Parker responded to the unasked questions but did not add any additional responses to the questions asked at the forum.

Parker’s answers are HERE.  

Ransom sent me an email on Tuesday saying: “I have been working on a timber price report that we publish at the end of every quarter and I haven't responded to the additional questions.

“Could you please provide my contact information to anyone that may like to contact me directly and discuss any questions: 229-805-0076;

Burgess did not respond to my offer of an opportunity to provide written responses.

The written responses of Ormes are HERE.  

Ormes began her comments with an introduction paralleling what each of the other candidates gave at the virtual forum.

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