Self-described 'conservative' seeking re-election

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Mattingly sees technical education, overcrowding as big issues

By Stephen Lega

Joe Mattingly has been a member of the Marion County Board of Education since 2005, and he hopes voters in District 4 will re-elect him Nov. 4.

Mattingly is running again "to continue to be an active part of something very important to all of us - the education of our children, our future."

Mattingly, 54, has been a small business owner for 32 years, and in addition to serving on the school board, he is a member of St. Charles Church and the Knights of Columbus.

"I consider our kids the future of our community and of this Commonwealth," he said.

A self-described conservative, Mattingly did vote in favor of adding the "recallable nickel" (which will also be on the ballot this fall) to the district's tax base.

As someone who owns multiple properties in Marion County, Mattingly said he took the decision to support the "nickel" seriously because he knows paying property taxes can be difficult.

Nevertheless, in the end, he and the other board members believed the "nickel" is needed for the district to comply with the requirements of the Americans with Disabilities Act and the Kentucky Department of Education.

"I don't take spending money, mine or anybody else's, lightly," Mattingly said. "I don't mind investing in something, if careful analysis has been made and the opportunity for success is real."

At the same time, Mattingly pointed out that he is the only board member who voted against annual tax rate increases as long as he's been on the board.

Next spring, board members will also face one of their most important decisions - choosing the next superintendent of schools. Superintendent Roger Marcum announced that he is retiring at the end of the 2008-09 school year.

Mattingly said he'll look for a replacement who is model for the community, who is dedicated to education and who is involved in public service.

"It takes a strong track record in education and community involvement with the priorities of quality education first and foremost," Mattingly said.

As fuel prices, health care costs and other expenses rise, board members have to look closer at how the available resources are spent.

Mattingly supports funding programs that are proven successful, but the district should analyze bus routes and reduce unnecessary travel and eliminate any unneeded payroll expenses, he said.

"All aspects of funding all programs have to be carefully examined and cuts, as painful as they are, will have to be considered," he said.

He added that the most important issues facing the district in the next four years will be improving technical education and updating Calvary Elementary to reduce overcrowding, which will also reduce the need to bus students who live near Calvary  to other schools.

"I take the opportunities they have to prepare for the future very, very seriously," Mattingly said. "I love Marion County, and feel the people here want the same thing."