Marty Rowley, a Republican candidate for the District 15 seat on the State Board of Education, spent Wednesday and part of Thursday visiting with school leaders and elected officials in Taylor County.
Rowley and his wife, Cindy, embarked on a 77-county tour when there were 77 days remaining before the May 29 primary election, and Taylor County was a stop along the way. The sprawling District 15 encompasses the entire Panhandle and several counties in western and northern Texas.
After visiting Taylor County, the couple planned to weave northward toward their home in Amarillo.
Rowley said he met with State Rep. Susan King, R-Abilene, Wylie Independent School District Superintendent Joey Light, and Abilene ISD Assistant Superintendent Mark Neal, among others.
A mediator and former pastor, Rowley said he believes he can bring his conflict resolution skills to a board that has been mired in controversy over curriculum in the past.
Several of the State Board of Education’s debates over the information Texas students learn, particularly in science and social studies classes, have been highly publicized, and Rowley said he believes he can bring the members together to reach consensus.
He said he’s a fiscal and social conservative who would like to see certain aspects of public education reformed, including school funding formulas, standardized testing and the level at which state and federal governments extend their control into local school districts.
“We need to solve the equity issue and solve the funding issue before we talk about throwing more money into the education system,” Rowley said. “More money may be needed but we don’t know that until the equity issue is resolved.”
Rowley is running against Anette Carlisle, an Amarillo school board member and founder and director of Panhandle Twenty/20. They will face off in the May 29 Republican primary.