BoE disappoints with call for SPLOST

Tue, 07/29/2008 - 3:27pm
By: Letters to the ...

Now that Fayette County Board of Education members Janet Smola, Terri Smith and Marion Key are assured of retaining their jobs for another four years, they’ve embarked on a crash campaign to raise our taxes.

A scant six days after the primaries, our dysfunctional school board is rushing to place an initiative on the November ballot to increase taxes to fund a wide range of dubious items.

First and foremost, of course, is a new school swimming pool. Rather than work with other public entities (i.e., Kedron pool) to secure practice facilities for school swim teams, our school board wants to do a little empire-building.

After all, don’t they have about a hundred surplus acres lying around idly from their last ill-advised school land purchase? Might as well put it to good use! Forget the fact that we’re in an economic downturn, let’s build a pool! Economic realities appear to matter very little to this school board.

The biggest disappointment, however, has to be in the technology area. This school board is famous for giving lip service to technology, yet technology is almost always the first item on the chopping block when budgets are considered.

There has not been a single significant technology expenditure in the past eight years under this school board that I can recall. This should not be surprising given that two members of the board appear to be Luddites who cannot seem to understand technological concepts such as “email.”

I was dismayed to learn that the school system is seriously considering replacing our aging meager personal computer resources with dubious “web appliances.” These “web appliances” are a cheap, failed technology. They’re essentially a 1970s-era dumb computer terminal with an Internet connection.

These dumb terminals cannot run common software programs such as Word or Powerpoint, so forget about having your child work on a term paper or presentation on a school computer.

Can they run a foreign language tutorial in a school language lab? No. They do one thing, and one thing only: access the Internet. We’d be doing our children a disservice by foisting this fringe technology on them.

It’s unfortunate that our school board has engaged in such Machiavellian posturing during this election year in attempting to sneak a tax increase in once their own jobs are safe, but sadly this sort of action is not unexpected from the Smola/Smith faction.

I’m most disappointed in Marion Key, however. I thought if anyone on this board was above playing these sort of political games with taxpayers, it’d be Mrs. Key. I guess I was mistaken.

I am of the opinion that this Board of Education should not be trusted with an ESPLOST, and the voters should vote against one in November.

Bob Jensen

Peachtree City, Ga.

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Submitted by PTC Observer on Fri, 08/01/2008 - 8:53pm.

It's interesting that government is the only organization in the world that gets more money for getting poorer and poorer results. The governmental solution to every problem is more money, in the case of education, as test scores go down, and conditions in our schools get worse. Where's the accountability for the results? Isn't it time we get government out of the education business? In a private system only those schools that excel get rewarded and excellent teachers get paid an excellent wage. Fayette schools may be good but their not getting great, it's going the other way. Let's privatize the schools and get the politics out of education.

Git Real's picture
Submitted by Git Real on Thu, 07/31/2008 - 8:18pm.

I will be voting no. Cut some bureacrats first and then we'll talk. Prove to us that we don't get hung with..... Oh never mind. If Smola got re-elected then I suppose it's a shoe-in that the SPLOST will pass too. WHAT are people thinking.

Perhaps we could spend some of the SPLOST monies on converting the Pavilion into the North Campus and take advantage of a bunch of that empty space we're getting ready to experience up there.

Bob Jensen..... Hmmmmmm.... I think I know that guy. Eye-wink

Submitted by inmyopinion on Thu, 07/31/2008 - 12:28pm.

The BOE has made mistakes in the past and will probably make some additional in the future. We must however understand the facts regarding a SPLOST and why it is the most attractive alternative to the current financial situation we face as a school system. The state will continue to cut back on their contribution to local funding. Our tax millage for the school portion of the property tax is close to maximum. The SPLOST will be able to address several areas of future budgets that could not be funded unless cuts were made to teaching and support positions. SPLOSTS are very specific as to what they are used to fund. True this is a tax, however a consumption tax and not spread out over thiry years as is a bond, that with interest allows us to pay two to three times the actual cost of school, buildings etc. We must retire our long term debt so we have the capability to address the current financial requirements of the system. I agree that a pool would be an item that would turn off voters as while needed by the schools is not seen as a vialble investment by the majority.

Finally, we passed a SPLOST for the roads. Are our children less important than asphalt??

Submitted by dixie-mom on Thu, 07/31/2008 - 2:32pm.

I totally agree with you that our kids are more important than the roads that the last SPLOST was intended for. However I am also strongly in favor of replacing our property taxes with a sales tax, but our "wonderful" BOE was one of the most vocal opponents against it and guess what now they are pushing it as a wonderful money making fix all. What the heck??? It is ok for them to propose this when they are at the limit on what they are billing us for on our property but it is not ok when we want to have it. Give me a break.
I do appreciate the education my children receive in Fayette but don't believe what they are receiving justifies the money the BOE is asking us to pay. I have lived here my entire life, 38 years, going from Kindergarten through High School and my children, of which one has graduated and the other 2 are currently in High School; have not received any better education than I did. So again I say I do not believe the BOE needs to take any more money from us until they prove that what we currently pay can be utilized properly. For example, not building schools when they are not needed. Prime example is Rivers Elementary, what a joke. The proper thing would be to stop construction NOW, sell the land and place the millions back in the general fund. I repeat Give Me A Break; this is not rocket science people just common sense.

Submitted by ole sarge on Wed, 07/30/2008 - 11:43am.

It is interesting to note that the technology section is one of the smallest in the entire school directory. Yet, they are required to service and repair all computers at each of the schools. I guess that leaves little time for their own web site, because as I observed this morning that Gregg Dunn and Linda Wells were still listed as partners in the Community School section.

The SPLOST will only enable continuing poor resource management. This is especially true with the proposed Aquatic Center. This is supposed to be a joint venture. I imagine that means, the BOE will provide funding for another agency to use and manage the facility. This has been sitting on the back burner for several years with the YMCA set to reap the benefits.

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