Anna Hill

Anna Hill.

Occupation: Certified Public Accountant, owner of Accounting We Will Go

Previous elected offices held: None

Other community service experience: Chamblee Downtown Development Authority, CPA, 2015-2017; Parent Volunteer, Huntley Hills Elementary, Chamblee Middle School, and Chamblee Charter High School; Co-founder ADHD advocacy Facebook group “Buckhead/Brookhaven/Vinings ADHD Parent Group”; Co-founder of The Village, a group for women business owners and leaders living in Chamblee, Brookhaven, Dunwoody, and nearby.

What is motivating you to run for this office?

As adults, we must all be responsible stewards of our children’s education dollars.

Overcrowding is rampant, facilities are not well-maintained, teachers are teaching in moldy trailers and some do not even have their own classrooms. We need to ensure every single dollar is making it to the classroom. I believe we can do better than we are now.

As a mom of a DCSD graduate in 2019, a CPA and a taxpayer, I simply cannot look the other way as the financial accounting difficulties continue. There was no choice for me except to run for District 1, Board of Education.

What is the biggest issue facing the school district and how will you address it?

The BOE has 11 powers and duties, including “to work with the superintendent to ensure that adequate facilities are available to educate all students in the district.”

The inability of the current BOE to appropriately fulfill this duty is the biggest issue. I will encourage two things to ensure adequate facilities are available to educate all students:

1. The implementation of a Comprehensive Master Plan that encompasses facility improvements, deferred maintenance and removal of temporary trailers.

2. The approval of an annual budget to fund and fully meet the CMP and that provides an increase in dollars directed to the classrooms.

What is the best approach to deal with school overcrowding and how can the school district feasibly pay for it?

The ceiling millage rate for Georgia is 19.25; however, DCSD’s millage rate is 23.18 With a budget of $1.2 billion and a millage rate higher than almost all counties in the state, there is no reason that DCSD cannot pay for needed expansion.

The lack of timely financial reporting by DCSD contributes to deficiencies in planning and operations. Submitting extremely late auditing data to the state auditor prevents the DCSD from gauging its own financial health and evaluating the effectiveness of internal controls.

My experience as a CPA enables me to serve as a valuable resource.

What strengths and weaknesses has the coronavirus pandemic crisis revealed in the school district?

The crisis highlighted the teachers and staff who work tirelessly for all of DeKalb’s students; I am grateful. Our students continue to show us a genuine love of learning despite the technological challenges.

However, learning gaps have also been identified when some students are able to continue to thrive while others are not able to overcome these new obstacles.

We have been reminded that flexibility is crucial to meeting the different needs of all learners. The crisis has forced all stakeholders to think creatively to eliminate barriers and I hope this is something we all work collaboratively to continue.

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John Ruch

John Ruch is an Atlanta-based journalist. Previously, he was Managing Editor of Reporter Newspapers.