Educators urged to tell public of school tax benefit

Wednesday, Oct. 2, 2013 10:43 AM
Last updated 7:49 PM
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NEWNAN, Ga. — Republicans serving on the House and Senate education committees are asking educators for ideas on how to convince the public that taxes need to be raised for additional school funding.

The appeal for advice came Tuesday in the first of several meetings planned across the state by the legislative panels that deal with education issues.

The meetings, the first in recent memory, are billed as “listening sessions” in which local superintendents, board members and teachers are invited to comment on any topic. Typical legislative field hearings involve specific agenda items.

The concern raised most often is the desire for more money. Though education has suffered fewer cuts than other parts of state government since the recession, teachers and administrators expressed frustration that they, like most private employees, have expanded duties with a slimmer workforce.

“Every year, it’s, ‘We’ve got to do more with less.’ When do we get to do more with more?” said Levi Young, an East Coweta High School history instructor and former county teacher of the year.

Rep. Randy Nix, R-LaGrange, told each of the three sessions Tuesday with superintendents, board members and teachers that proposing a tax increase is politically difficult when one-third of parents never set foot on a school campus.

“How do we as legislators sell this to people?” he asked. “If we go raise taxes, we’re all out of here.... How do we become the advocates?”

Rep. Tom Dickson, R-Cohutta, said that many of their General Assembly colleagues had gotten elected on a pledge to oppose all tax increases.

“The bottom line becomes there is no new source of revenue without raising taxes,” said Dickson, a former local superintendent and chairman of the House Education Appropriations Subcommittee. “Y’all are going to have to get on the phone and call people if you want to raise taxes.”

Besides funding, the educators also said they support keeping the Common Core standards adopted by the state Board of Education and most other states, warning that a change so close to implementation would be a waste of the time already spent in preparation. However, a few parents and one board member called for the state to reject the Common Core because of expensive online tests and fears that personal data about students would be transmitted outside of Georgia.

Rep. Rick Jasperse, R-Jasper, asked each session about his constitutional amendment that would allow voters in each school district to decide if they want to elect their local superintendent instead of having a board appointee. He said it is a popular idea with people he’s talked to, but there appeared to be little support for it Tuesday.

“Do we need more politics in education or do we need less politics in education?” said Butts County Superintendent Robert Costley.

The committees plan to hold seven or eight more meetings around the state but have only scheduled three so far. The next is Tuesday in Dahlonega followed by Oct. 22 in Eastman and Oct. 29 in Vidalia.

House Education Chairman Brooks Coleman, R-Duluth, said the goal is for the committees to get input from people on the front lines of education.

“This is the first time in my 22 years (in the House) I remember anything like this happening,” he said.

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bright idea
bright idea 10/02/13 - 11:13 am
So politicians want teachers

So politicians want teachers to encourage folks to pay more school tax? Teachers can't even get parents to make sure their kids have a pencil.

dichotomy 10/02/13 - 11:45 am
NO....I do not want a tax

NO....I do not want a tax hike for education. We spend too much money per student on education already.

And YES......I would like the opportunity to ELECT the school superintendent. Our local school board has proven to be totally incompetent at hiring, firing, and retiring superintendents.

Sweet son
Sweet son 10/02/13 - 12:49 pm
Hell no!

Supposed "educators" are not providing quality education with the money that they currently have. We don't need to throw more money into that worthless 'government school' bottomless pit!

Let them prove some real measurable progress and then maybe and I mean maybe give them slight increases.

Young Fred
Young Fred 10/02/13 - 01:30 pm
Sounds like a conflict of

Sounds like a conflict of interest to me.

Let's see. We're paying these people to come up with ideas on how to get us to pay them more.

Here's an idea - why not have “listening sessions” were everyone brainstorms ideas on how to cut waste and unnecessary instruction?

Ooops common sense alert!

avidreader 10/02/13 - 06:04 pm

Most of you that have posted, are spot on; crude, but somewhat near the problem. And to dichotomy, if we allowed the citizens of Richmond County to elect a Superintendent, Marion Williams would be in charge -- unless election day was rainy or freezing cold.

Money is a huge issue with state-wide school boards, including ours. However, the RCBOE has been trimmed and trimmed, and teachers are dealing with less resources and higher expectations. Our leaders are working hard, but we have to deal with huge amounts of poverty-stricken students (and there's a connotation that comes with this). And still, we are expected to perform and produce VIGOROUS instruction that meets the needs of our bureaucrats and the citizens of our various communities. It's tough! Teachers love to complain, just like anyone who works for a big company, but still, they keep going forward and take to heart that the children are our business. We work hard!

No more money for local school boards! Close National Hills El. and other schools and merge the students. Doug Frierson at T. Harry Garrett would love to have the CRCT scores from National Hills. Why the new magnet school? Why continue to re-invest in failing schools? I understand that the powers-that-be are always looking toward the future, but boarded-up schools can be re-opened in the future.

I want my furlough days back, and cost-efficient measures are the only way to achieve this.

We need Tim Spivey as our Superintendent. He is a MANAGER, not a bureaucrat. This guy could open a restaurant and keep it filled to capacity twelve months per year. He knows how to get people to produce and move in the right direction. The RCBOE needs a MANAGER that understands the citizens of Richmond County.


Lee Benedict
Lee Benedict 10/02/13 - 07:02 pm
Shut up

“The bottom line becomes there is no new source of revenue without raising taxes,” said Dickson, a former local superintendent and chairman of the House Education Appropriations Subcommittee. “Y’all are going to have to get on the phone and call people if you want to raise taxes.”

How about:
1) bring jobs to Georgia and the tax revenue generated therefrom, not taxing the current taxpayers even more; CREATE MORE TAXPAYERS
2) allow schools to be know, like back in the day
3) STOP looking at raising taxes...unless you want more Georgians to leave for other states
4) a bunch of other things that I will discuss at length and in person

“The bottom line becomes there is no new source of revenue without raising taxes,” said Dickson, a former local superintendent and chairman of the House Education Appropriations Subcommittee. “Y’all are going to have to get on the phone and call people if you want to raise taxes.” MY BUTT!

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