Laurie Paine, who led the recent protests to restore bus transportation to students, has announced she is running for the Oak Ridge Board of Education.
Paine said she is running because she wants children to be the top priority in the community.
“I am the proud mother of three children currently in the Oak Ridge school system: Kaitlan, Tyler, and Tristan,” Paine said in a press release. “My daughter Alexis recently graduated from Oak Ridge High School and is now attending the University of Tennessee in Chattanooga.”
Paine said she has lived in Oak Ridge for 26 years and has witnessed many changes, “some good and some bad. It’s time for change again and that change needs to start at the top with the leadership on the Board of Education.”
In her campaign and as an elected representative, Paine said she will continue pursuing the following:
- Quality education for all students
- Safe access to and within schools
- Financial accountability (to ensure both of the above)
“Quality education should be available to all of our students, not a select few,” Paine said. “We need to allocate resources to the benefit of the larger student population who have the most to gain. Our economically disadvantaged students are not burdens; they are our future, and the sooner we start pouring into them, the sooner they will pour back into our community.”
She said children must have safe access to school and a safe environment inside of school in order for them to have a chance at succeeding.
“Since 2007, I have fought twice to reinstate transportation for all students and eliminate walk zones that exposed our children to great dangers,” Paine said. “As the mother of a child who lost her life due to unsafe circumstances, I will not back down on this issue!”
Paine fought to reverse a previous short-lived one-mile “walk zone” after her 12-year-old daughter, Ashley, was run over by a school bus at the intersection of Oak Ridge Turnpike and Illinois Avenue while riding her bike home from Robertsville Middle School in November 2007.
In the press release this week, Paine said the management of school finances must be addressed in order for her goals to be achieved.
“Because my education includes a degree in accounting and business management and because of my exposure to the school budget over the years, I believe that current monies for our schools are either being mismanaged or improperly reported,” Paine said. “With some diligent research and collaboration with the public, I am confident that we can find better ways to manage funding issues in the future.”
Paine graduated from Oak Ridge High School in 1995. She graduated from Roane State Community College in 2001 with an AAS degree in Business Management-Accounting-Magna Cum Laude. She said she has 10 years’ experience in project management and five years’ experience in accounting.
In addition to her work on the transportation issue, Paine’s volunteer efforts include serving as a Girls Inc. softball coach and working in the Kids Ministry at Faith Promise Church, the press release said.
“In a society that is quickly being overtaken by drugs, bullying, and corruption, I would like to give our children hope,” Paine said. “Hope that their future can be brighter, hope that they can make a difference, hope that they have better choices, and absolute certainty that they matter!
“I ask you to vote for me, not because you may know my story, but because you are confident that I am the right candidate.”
To learn more about Paine, visit her Facebook page at Elect Laurie Paine for Oak Ridge Board of Education or her website at ElectLauriePaine.wordpress.com.