Rumors began circulating this week that Fayette County Board of Education member Dr. Mary Kay Bacallao was considering stepping down from her seat on the board in order to run for State Superintendent. On Friday afternoon, Bacallao confirmed the rumor but said she does not plan any formal announcement until January.
"I am running," Bacallao confirmed, though she chose not to offer any more comment.
Bacallao, a college professor, was elected in Nov., 2012 over incumbent Terri Smith for the Post 2 seat. In her year on the board, she has been vocal about a number of issues, in particular her opposition to Common Core curriculum. She was also the loudest voice in opposition to the school closures and personnel reductions which the district underwent in March in order to close a $15 million gap in the budget.
"First of all, we hate to lose any board member," said superintendent Dr. Jody Barrow. The confirmation was news to Barrow and he said he had not personally heard from Bacallao, so his comments were made based on the confirmation from the Fayette County News.
"I would just say that I am surprised," said board chair Marion Key, "she hasn't been on the board that long, so I was surprised. I had heard the rumor just like everybody else but I had not been told officially, but I wish her well if that's what she wants to do."
"I wish her the best of luck," said Dr. Barry Marchman, "it's a surprise to all of us."
"It is a democratic country and anybody can run for anything they want," said Dr. Bob Todd, "Beyond that I don't know anything to say. People have a right to do what they want and then the voters have a right to elect who they want, and I've always respected that process. But it will leave us, you know, with a choice of needing to appoint someone."
"I think she's very passionate about education and what the future of ed policy should be an did know there have been times she's been frustrated on the local level because rules aren't made on the local level," said Leonard Presberg, "She has her issue with common core and getting rid of the federal governments influence on our policies and thats what she wants to do. She's got some guts to do it."
Bacallao would be running for the position vacated by Dr. John Barge, who recently announced his intention to run for Governor.
The Republican primary which Bacallao would be running in is set for May 20, 2014, with a run off set for Aug, 5. The general election will be Nov. 4.
Bacallao would be joining a crowded field including Kira Willis, Nancy Jester, Fitz Johnson, Mark Schultz and Richard Woods. One candidate, State Rep. Alisha Morgan, has announced to run as a democrat.