School board to hold input session on SPLOST

Thu, 07/24/2008 - 12:51pm
By: The Citizen

Get ready to have your say. The Fayette County Board of Education (FCBOE) is exploring the possibility of asking voters to approve a one percent ESPLOST (Education Special Local Option Sales Tax) in November to help the school system maintain its current level of education while lowering property taxes, school board officials said Thursday. A public input meeting on the issue will be held July 31.

A public input session will be held at the Fayette County Board of Education located at 210 Stonewall Avenue Fayetteville on July 31 at 7 p.m.

Residents wishing to make comments on the proposal will need to sign up that evening prior to the beginning of the session, FCBOE said in the Thursday press release. Each person will be limited to two minutes in order to ensure that everyone who wants to speak has an opportunity to do so.

Doors will open at 6 p.m. Sign-in sheets will be removed promptly at 7 p.m. Written and emailed comments are also welcome.

School officials said austerity cuts over the last several years have resulted in a loss of approximately $21 million in state funding. That, coupled with rising fuel costs and increased prices for basic supplies, has forced the school system to make some tough funding decisions that could have a direct impact on students.

A one percent SPLOST would generate approximately $100-115 million over a five-year period to help fund needs that have been postponed as well as address future needs. Specifically, the SPLOST would fund debt service ($38 million), which will lower property taxes, technology ($35 million), security ($2.5 million), textbook adoption ($2.5 million), facilities five-year plan and warehouse relocation ($17 million), transportation ($10 million) and an aquatic facility ($10 million) for school swim teams and swimming lessons.
It is estimated that the SPLOST would lower property taxes through a reduction of the school system’s bond millage rate ranging between 0.83 mills to 1.59 mills during the time it is in place, Comptroller Laura Brock told board members July 21. This would lower the property tax bill on a $250,000 home between $83 and $159 each year, she said.

The board of education has until August 4 to adopt a resolution for the SPLOST. If a resolution is adopted by the board and approved by voters in November, the new tax will take effect April 1, 2009.

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sniffles5's picture
Submitted by sniffles5 on Tue, 07/29/2008 - 1:53pm.

I've heard a number of people in Peachtree City today talking about how the Board of Education has dropped the Pool Taj Mahal from the upcoming SPLOST wishlist.

No word in the Citizen yet?

Submitted by Linda Wheatley on Tue, 07/29/2008 - 2:33pm.

I completely agree about fiscal responsibility of the school system. However, I just went on the fcboe website and under the board minutes for Thursday-there is a powerpoint presentation about the SPLOST. It says the following positions are in jeopardy if the SPLOST doesn't pass: Half of the Kindergarten paraprofessionals,All of the first grade paraprofessionals, One assistant principal and counselor per middle and high school, assistant principals at elementary level will travel between two schools, 5th grade band, All art teachers, all music teachers, all technology teachers, school nurses, chorus and band teachers, connections teachers, and resource officers at the middle school. I don't want my children or any of the Fayette county children to lose these services. There must be a way to compromise....

Submitted by Robert Burton on Tue, 07/29/2008 - 5:04pm.

Can you post the link to the powerpoint presentation? I can't find it on the site.

Submitted by Linda Wheatley on Tue, 07/29/2008 - 5:16pm.

sniffles5's picture
Submitted by sniffles5 on Tue, 07/29/2008 - 5:20pm.

Powerpoint Presentation "Let's Scare The Sheep!"

Click on agenda item 10.E in the lower left hand corner. Powerpoint required.

They also have other detailed docs.

NUK_1's picture
Submitted by NUK_1 on Tue, 07/29/2008 - 3:51pm.

If that is the approach that the school board takes, it will stand zero chance of passing. The "possibility" that is mentioned that all these positions will be lost and blah blah blah is overblown. They don't mention how "realistic" the possibilities are and they also seem to be ignoring the fact that it's never an "all or nothing" situation in the first place when it comes to budgeting and taxation.

Submitted by Bonkers on Tue, 07/29/2008 - 6:17pm.

I have no way of knowing whether the county has to cut 2-3 hundred people of some sort to meet budget, but what I do know is the following:

3-4 thousand people work for the school system, 1-2 thousand work for county hospitals and emergency rooms. That is 4-6 thousands people on either non-productive or tax paid jobs.

Then we have all of the other County and town and city employees who are paid by taxes primarily. Also, upkeep of jails and their prisoners.l

Police and fire departments must be considered seperate due to the fact that they can't be cut! Anybody know the total?

There are other tax paid jobs in the county: animal people fish, wildlife, etc. but they are very difficult to count.

Now, consider who is employed other than the above:

About 100,000 population. (military not included)
65,000 children (most don't work or make little---no taxes)
25,000 stay at home Moms (about one-half)
5000 handicapped and helpless and sick and retired. (maybe more than this)

That only leaves 5000 of the total to pay the bills!!!!!!!!!! AND THOSE ARE THE SCHOOL SYSTEM, POLICE AND FIRE, HOSPITAL AND CLERKS!!!!

So why is a cut of tax spending so bad in such recession times??????????

Submitted by Linda Wheatley on Tue, 07/29/2008 - 4:00pm.

I hope the cuts don't take place either way. I especially hate when the fine arts are always the first programs on the chopping block!

Submitted by head_ragg on Tue, 07/29/2008 - 3:16pm.

Yes there ...WAS....something we COULD HAVE DONE. It was to vote in Houston with his business background, and Mary Kay. Both had great backgrounds. Now we are stuck.

Submitted by Linda Wheatley on Tue, 07/29/2008 - 3:20pm.

I voted for Dave and Mary Kay. I realize that we are stuck. But, I don't want the children to suffer!

mapleleaf's picture
Submitted by mapleleaf on Mon, 07/28/2008 - 10:39am.

The school system comptroller reportedly said that the extra sales tax from SPLOST would lower the property tax bill on a $250,000 home between $83 and $159 each year.

If we assume that a family living in a $250,000 home spends $50,000 a year (for food, clothing, household maintenance, furniture, cars, gas, utilities, etc.), it would pay $500 extra in sales tax each year to save between $83 and $159 in property tax.

Meanwhile, a bank (which spends virtually nothing on food, clothing, household maintenance, furniture, cars, and gas) would simply get a property tax reduction.

There's a nice exercise in math and logic in store for our Fayette citizens here. Will they pass the test?

Submitted by head_ragg on Tue, 07/29/2008 - 5:21pm.

It doesn't sound like the taxpayers would come out ahead in any manner, especially the 65 and older who have paid their dues 10 times over.

I would like to echo Dr Todd, why was this not mentioned earlier so things could be taken into consideration?

Hate to say it, but maybe....

....cause it would have spotlighted the wonderful business background of Houston.

....It may also have underscored the bad decisions made by a couple on the board that are now is either ...or.!

Submitted by Bonkers on Mon, 07/28/2008 - 12:04pm.

Don't ever do the math on sales taxes, bonds, budgets, etc., from
government issues! They hire some specialized guys for advice.

They go to the same schools as those dudes who work for banks, and higher echelon corporation officers! (You know foreign corporations who wash out the dirt then refund it through several other corporations).

They also build Tennis Centers and ise ranks.
they never count in the interest charges! They just say it is $10,000 per month for 40 years. Do that math!

We have an average if a sixth grade education out here and are easy to fool.

Submitted by BBQ Jones on Mon, 07/28/2008 - 8:10am.

In addition to all the tax and bond money, the schools charge the students/parents athletic participation fees, parking fees, class dues, booster dues, hold endless fund raisers, and now a tax increase! Where does all this money go? When my costs go up I have to adjust my spending, not just keep asking for more money.

Someone has got to stop this rampant spending, there is no accountability at the BoE and the School Board. Please someone stop this craziness and insert some fiscal retraint!

Additionally, what is the real cost of that aquatic facility? The $10 million is the first cost, but what about the maintenance, repairs, and liability associated with it that we will have to fund for years to come. We need to see the business case for these items, not emotional arguements that the BoE needs them.

Submitted by PTC Observer on Mon, 07/28/2008 - 2:56pm.

Now this is something you and I can agree on. Too bad our elected representatives represent special interests, not ours. I guess this goes back to the issue of less than 25% of the electorate voting in the primary.

If you want acccountabilty then get people that think like you to get out there and vote, go to BOE meetings, get involved. Or the special interests will prevail.

I don't want or need an aquatic center, nor I believe do most of the citizens of this county. We need to get the government more firmly grounded in economic reality.

sniffles5's picture
Submitted by sniffles5 on Fri, 07/25/2008 - 1:40pm.

If you two fine bloggers would like to join me next Tuesday evening at the public commentary hearing, I guarantee you will hear at least two minutes of scorched earth oratory on the subject of public fiscal responsibility, the likes of which you have never heard before.


I'd like to get as many of my fellow bloggers who truly care about the state of public education in Fayette county to join me.

I started working on my remarks this morning. "Smith/Smola Slushfund" has quite an alliterative ring to it, no?

Main Stream's picture
Submitted by Main Stream on Fri, 07/25/2008 - 4:46pm.

go sniffles!

NUK_1's picture
Submitted by NUK_1 on Mon, 07/28/2008 - 10:53am.

Isn't the meeting Thursday and not Tuesday? Or will you be performing fiscal Responsibility 101 somewhere else on Tues night? Smiling

sniffles5's picture
Submitted by sniffles5 on Mon, 07/28/2008 - 11:23am.

The FCBOE meeting is THURSDAY night, not TUESDAY. My error.

Are you going to attend?

NUK_1's picture
Submitted by NUK_1 on Mon, 07/28/2008 - 3:46pm.

I do plan to attend that meeting and am looking forward to seeing who they decide gets to speak and who doesn't. Give 'em Hell, Sniffles!

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