Give them permission

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Close observers of the Washington scene say Congress and the president may never tackle the nation's impending entitlement-spending crisis until they feel the American people have given them permission.

We urge you to give your senator and congressman permission.

Likewise, local government officials won't take on inefficiencies in their own bailiwicks if they think voters will baste them for it.

Nowhere is that more certain than in the schools.

Americans love to complain about the size and reach and cost of government, but when push comes to shove are we willing to make any sacrifices to trim it back?

Richmond County school officials have begun a methodical, long-term look at the district to determine what must be done to make it more efficient. An audit last March indicated the district is operating some 6,000 students short of capacity.

That's horribly inefficient. It's like turning the lights and air on in an 80,000-seat dome for a middle school football game.

One of the efficiencies the district has to consider is what an outside audit recommended last March: closing some schools.

The audit, by MGT of America, said that, at a minimum, the district should close five schools: three elementary, one middle and one high school. The district could save close to $12 million by doing so.

Those savings could be shifted to improve the remaining schools or -- gasp! -- returned to taxpayers.

So far, the school system has brought in not only the outside auditors -- which we don't disagree with -- but also hired a consultant for $57,000 to aid in the current "rightsizing" discussions. Couldn't the district have brought in someone from the University of Georgia, the state Department of Education, the school boards association?

For the most part, though, the school district is going about this the right way -- slowly, with input from a community focus group that is helping officials look at all the alternatives to make the district more efficient.

The key will be whether the community will buy into the eventual recommendations -- and whether school board members have the guts to find out.

Fortunately, the process should last beyond the November elections, in which five school board members are up for re-election. Hopefully that will give them a little added gumption to do what's necessary, including closing schools if need be.

By the end of this painstaking process we'll know what needs to be done.

It remains to be seen whether we'll want to do it.

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Pay What U Owe
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Pay What U Owe 07/28/08 - 08:49 am
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"Capacity" is relative, nicht

"Capacity" is relative, nicht wahr? Americans can get to town and back in a small vehicle that needs about a gallon of gas or they can ride in a large truck that needs three. Most choose the latter because it's more "comfortable". Likewise, most parents define good education by the amount of attention their kid gets and how much access to stuff he has, which like the SUV, goes the same distance for a lot more money. Gray Davis, former governor of California who has become something of elder statesman since Arnold has proven no better at solving the state's problems that Davis did, was asked how to deal with such issues. He said one core problem exists that plagues every states goverment and the bigger the state, the bigger the problem: Taxpayers want services in abundance but they expect them for free. Solve that problem and all the tribulations of education, infrastructure and day to day living vanish in a puff of electoral smoke.

patricia.thomas
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patricia.thomas 07/28/08 - 11:06 am
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What we need is more federal

What we need is more federal government control of the schools. Local officials won't do a thing. If this means higher taxes, well, that's too bad. We have to pay now or we will pay in the future. Sometimes big government is good government.

jack
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jack 07/28/08 - 11:23 am
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PWUO, I don't believe tax

PWUO, I don't believe tax payers want something for free and don't mind paying the taxes it takes to run government or government schools. What they do not like is pure waste of the tax payers money such as unnecessary trips (boondoggles) by public officials when only ONE is needed to go and pass along what they hear/learn. Why a "consultant" at $57,000 when there are experts that work for the state that could do the same job? Why NOT close schools that are under populated and why hang on to empty, boarded up former school property? Your analogy about driving a small car or SUV, that is MY choice and not some public officiaI and if I drive an SUV, I pay for it, not the tax payers. I could go on, but I am sure you get my point. Don't get me wrong, I believe Dr Bedden has done a great job to date and wants only the best solutions to the problems he inherited from Larke (I wont dignify Larke by addressing him as Dr).

grouse
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grouse 07/28/08 - 11:41 am
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I'm willing to sacrifice the
Unpublished

I'm willing to sacrifice the on-going invasion of Iraq.

DeborahElliott2
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DeborahElliott2 07/28/08 - 01:14 pm
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Give them permission? Huh?

Give them permission? Huh? You mean they didn't get that kind of permission when we voted them into office? You mean they didn't just take money and spend it like there was no tomorrow and borrowed more to do a bad job on things that didn't get done while in office anyway? Get real, we will be taxed either way you look at it, with or without permission from American People! They are looking to the illegal immigrants to vote for us this election anyway, forget you!

Pay What U Owe
5
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Pay What U Owe 07/28/08 - 01:17 pm
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Actually, jack, you miss the

Actually, jack, you miss the point (big surprise). Most people think what they are paying, regardless of whether it meets the bills or not, is enough. Take for example your declaration that driving an SUV is your right since you paid for it and the gas. That is not precisely true. You are paying taxes to drive something heavy on the road and yet you pay the same as someone who drives something much lighter and causes less wear and tear. You claim you pay for gas yet by driving a gas guzzler, you force us to engage evil empires for fuel by consuming more than needed to move your lazy [filtered word] in the style to which you think you are entitled. Not only is that a tax burden, a lot of our boys are paying in blood so you feel like a real cowboy in that SUV. Congratulations on being a great American. The problem RBOE and GA and the USA have is that we have morons screaming about raising taxes and morons screaming about cutting benefits. If they consultants they hire can actually give us an intelligent cost-benefit analysis, they may well be worth $57K.

Pay What U Owe
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Pay What U Owe 07/28/08 - 01:20 pm
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P.S. UGA faculty are not

P.S. UGA faculty are not exactly at your beck and call and get a team of them to organize an analysis team would probably cost more than $57K. They evidently have told the blessed admins at the Athens campus that is we, not they, that will be covering teh course load at two school. But take heart! RBOE might actually listen to the $57K. Read back in the AC when MCG paid about $300K to do an analysis on something they had already decided to do anyway (move to Athens).

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