Janet Smola & the Importance of the Election of 2008

The recent collapse of our financial markets is the reasons why we can no longer elect the tax and spend politicians like Janet Smola. I use Smola as the most recent example of many because she is the centerpiece of the FCBOE increase in property taxes, having taken the lead in raising the millage rate; and her supporters don’t want taxpayers to get the spending records.

We are headed for years of very hard times because our politicians ignored the consequences of fiscal irresponsibility. This is true of local, state and federal officials. These big spenders are in effect criminals because they all will bear the responsibility of the losses and even deaths of the people they swore to protect, in the hard times that are upon us. And it is not like they didn’t know or should have known to quote the “law of negligence”.

There were warnings from our founding fathers. Thomas Jefferson warned us “not to print paper money that had no asset backing”. Ben Franklin told us we had a democratic government of people’s representatives to lead us, “if we could keep it”.

In the last 35 years, hundreds of books and articles have been written predicting the coming crash of our financial system from spending beyond our means. On my own book-shelf, I have more than 20 such books. Business Civilization In Decline (1976), The Impact Of Taxes On The American Economy (1971), The Downfall Of Capitalism (1978), The Grace Commission’s Report To Pres. Reagan (1985), The Coming Economic Earthquake (1991), Bankruptcy (1992), Telling The Truth (1995). Full Faith And Credit - A novel about the Financial collapse (1999), The Great Bu$t Ahead (2002), Conquer The Crash (2002). The Collapse of The Dollar (2004), The Dollar Crisis (2003), The Day of Reckoning (2007), Financial Armageddon (2007), The Revolution (2008). Read “The Revolution”, by Ron Paul. It’s a current top 10 best seller.

We must throw all incumbents out of office in November 2008. They all were negligent. They all knew what was coming; and if they didn’t, they were too uneducated on finance to have been elected to begin with. Let’s start with Janet Smola. In the midst of financial collapse, she personifies our problems by raising property taxes. Ninety Million Dollars being spent for Fayette Education which doesn’t even teach our children financial responsibility. Ben Franklin told us 220 years ago to watch our elected representatives or we would lose our freedom.

Which do you chose voters? The advice of Ben Franklin or the advice of Janet Smola?

The Shadow Knows

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Submitted by wheeljc on Mon, 09/22/2008 - 10:15am.

Did the current BOE attend the Franklin Raines school of economics? Sounds like they all took way too many courses under Jim Johnson!! We just never learn do we?? Seems that we ultimately get what we deserve by low voter turn out when the minimum level of mediocrity is selected.
Let's see if we can use out abilities to 'write in' this time and potentially save a bundle. ONE QUESTION EACH BOARD MEMBER SHOULD ANSWER: What metrics will be used to measure the effectiveness of 'new dollar investments' in terms of student test scores; reduced drop out rates; and subsequent 'go to college rates'? In today's world, there is such a thing as a longitudinal data base! BOE -- USE IT!!

Submitted by Nitpickers on Mon, 09/22/2008 - 3:55pm.

Huh, say Clayton students?
What you say man?

"metrics of new dollar investments?" A long tube data base, you say? To go to college, you say? Man. I'm outta here at 16!

Is you is or is you ain't smart--is all that matter.

Submitted by Y oh Y on Mon, 09/22/2008 - 11:25am.


You may have missed this in last week's letter's section. Here is spending data and metric results for 10 metro school systems from State DOE website.

Maybe we should look at what we got before we write in.


School system spends our tax money wisely
Tue, 09/09/2008 - 3:41pmBy: Letters to the ...
Given all the recent letters regarding the Fayette County Board of Education, I hope to bring some facts to the conversation.

I believe our Board of Education, Dr. DeCotis, Mr. Sweat, our teachers, our parents, and our students deserve a great deal of credit for their recent performance that seems to go unnoticed in your publication.

Our current seniors scored second in the recent SAT results (they were tied with Cherokee County). But when you consider over 79 percent of our kids took the test versus 69 percent in Fulton, 61 percent in Cherokee and 47 percent in Coweta (based on the number of SAT takers over the FY 2007 Grade 11 population), you get a sense of how much our kids really achieved.

None of our schools is on the AYP needs improvement list. Fulton County had the highest SAT scores but 15 (16 percent) of their schools are on the AYP list, including four high schools. Coweta has 10 schools or 37 percent of their schools on AYP and Cherokee have three or 9 percent. In fact Fayette is the only school system its size or larger to have ZERO schools on the infamous list.

Better yet, based on state Department of Education data for the last fiscal year, FCBOE has done this without spending the most money. Using data from Fulton, Fayette, Cherokee, Cobb, Henry, Clayton, Gwinnett, DeKalb, Spalding, and Coweta school boards, we have done quite well.

Cost of instruction per pupil (FTE) — $5,908 (5th out of the 10 above). Cost of pupil services (FTE) — $223 (4/10). Cost of general administration (FTE) — $321 (6/10). Cost of school administration (FTE) — $537 (5/10). Cost of transportation (FTE) — $361 (7/10). Maintenance and operations (FTE) — $651 (5/10). Cost per school facility — $6,757,193 (5/10).

Given the discussions in this paper regarding the reckless behavior of our board, I was surprised to find these cost drivers to be squarely in the middle of the pack.

Based on our performance that is quite a return on investment that our board, administration, teachers, parents, and students have given the taxpayers of Fayette County. Congratulations to all of you!

Neil Sullivan

Peachtree City, Ga.

Submitted by PeteSake on Mon, 09/22/2008 - 9:43am.

The BOE UNANIMOUSLY approved the building of two new elementary schools when they UNANIMOUSLY approved placing the bond referendum on the 2004 ballot UNANIMOUSLY. The BOE has UNANIMOUSLY approved every budget and every budget amendment recommendation made to them UNANIMOUSLY. Dr. Todd pushed staff to recommend raising the millage rate to the cap of 20 mills but the three amigos wouldn't allow it. Instead, they insisted that staff keep looking for budget items to cut. However, the board approved the current millage rate UNANIMOUSLY.

But what does the shadow know?

Submitted by The Shadow on Tue, 09/23/2008 - 7:54am.

The Federal governments $700 Billion Dollar bailout of the financial markets doesn’t include the $2.7 Trillion in municipal securities currently outstanding. Municipal securities are reliant on a bond insurance system that is on the brink of collapse. Local governments like Tyrone are running huge monthly deficits. In order for local governments to operate, necessary services such as police, fire, water and road maintenance are priority over education. Municipalities can’t raise revenue from the housing market or from failed businesses and in Tyrone’s case their zoning ordinance is designed to run off practical businesses. Local governments can’t raise revenue from a shaky bond market or from new construction/businesses. The only place for money for necessary services must come from property taxes or splost. Indeed, Tyrone is waiting on property tax receipts at year’s end just to survive and pay back expenses. This will leave them short in 2009 along with other governments. When the bond market collapses as it surely will, local governments will have to bankrupt on the bond obligations. Every cent is needed right now for priority services including a reserve fund for the coming bad times. Therefore, the short-sightedness of Janet Smola and the FCBOE to raise educational taxes was irresponsible. This is what the Shadow knows.

Submitted by Margot on Wed, 09/24/2008 - 1:24pm.

The Board of Ed has the power to raise school taxes without any oversight. They don’t have to get approval from the commissioners or taxpayers. Supt. John Decotis tells the BOE how much money he wants and the board rubber stamps the increase. The education budget is obviously out of control when you see that 75% of your property taxes go for schools and only 25% for all other services. Lack of oversight is what the Federal Gov is currently saying caused the nations’ financial institutions to collapse. Unlike the BOE, Congress doesn’t want the taxpayers to pay for the bailout. Taxpayers need to wake up. You have elected BOE members who don’t have the necessary experience. When Janet Smola was elected without opposition in 2000, outgoing BOE member Debbie Condon said “I didn’t know I’d have to be knowledgeable about sewer systems, roads and construction”, as a BOE member. When the BOE budget is $115 Million, you better be able to comprehend a balance sheet and act responsibly. This Janet Smola has not done. Write-in NICOLE FILE for BOE in November. Citizens must take the power of taxation away from the BOE.

mapleleaf's picture
Submitted by mapleleaf on Wed, 09/24/2008 - 3:44pm.

The current BOE budget is $197 million (not $115 million). SPLOST presentation slide 12 shows that.

Oh heck! What difference does it make?

suggarfoot's picture
Submitted by suggarfoot on Sun, 09/21/2008 - 2:32pm.

To build schools were they are not needed,
buy.. more... land than was needed,
is irresponsible.

To ask us for more money because of irresponsible spending is childish. If my children squandered their allowance, I wouldn't give them more money cause they now decided they needed it for something they should have planned for. How is this any different?

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