Fayette BoE seeks renewal of sales tax in Nov. vote

The Fayette County Board of Education adopted a resolution Monday night that will let Fayette voters in November have their say on continuing the sales tax for education (ESPLOST).

If approved by voters in November the five-year ESPLOST extension would carry a maximum collection ceiling of $107 million.

The current one-cent education sales tax expires in April 2014 and carries a $115 million collection ceiling, though actual collections are expected to come in considerably lower than initial projections — approximately $95 million — due to the recession.

Uses for the continued ESPLOST include payments of $10 million on bond indebtedness. Per requirement, the maximum bond debt must be stated when the resolution to establish the ESPLOST is adopted.

As for other items covered in the collection, those categories will be announced later. Stated generally in the resolution, those unspecified amounts will be used for areas such as renovating, repairing, improving or equipping schools or school system facilities, equipment and technology, textbooks and instructional material and school buses and maintenance equipment.

what's happening
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budget

it's nice to know that the BOE wants to close 5 schools because of budget but yet they can go and buy 20+ brand new 2012 school buses. How is that fiscally responsible? Citizen you need to find out how much they spent for these buses

Dondol
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Vote NO on ESPLOST extension

Vote NO, make these people live with-in their means like the rest of us. Hell, I can't go get an ESPLOST when I piss away all of my money, why should they.

reddawg44
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Your avatar says it all

Yep, that is extremely bright of you to say not to vote for it. You do realize that the school system is why so many people think highly of Fayette county, right? ESPLOST monies, as described above, do not go towards teacher/school personnel salaries. Every system in the state has had funding cut repeatedly the last four years from federal and state areas. Before this, the system was operating with a multi-million dollar surplus. So, to paint a picture that the school system is a bunch of buffoons who can't manage money or the system is inaccurate. Now, to be fair, did they use every single penny perfectly? Of course not. But to act as if they are poor stewards with the money they are given is folly. Just look at school and student achievement.

Please elaborate on exactly how the school system is not living within their means and is "pissing" away their money.

You do realize that they could RIF tons of teachers and while that might sound all well and good, it would increase class sizes dramatically. That would inevitably impact the quality of education our children receive. You also do know that they have cut teacher's pay, benefits, etc. in an attempt to not go through what DeKalb is going through, right?

WakeUp
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Reddawg has Rose Colored Glasses

Let's see; you stated "You do realize that the school system is why so many people think highly of Fayette County, Right?" I live on the north end of the county and my house is for sale and has been since July 2011. I actually accepted a contract, only to have it withdrawn because of the poor schools. Don't spread your BS about what a great system we have. It is broke and I don't see any effort by our illustrious school board to fix it. So yes, it is pissing away money.

Davids mom
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Wake up!

Wake up - there are many who don't agree with your assessment of Reddawgs quote below.

Quote:

"You do realize that the school system is why so many people think highly of Fayette County, Right?

You may have lost a contract on your house because of the FC schools reputation - or maybe because they found a better house for the money! Fayette County students are still among the most qualified in Georgia. Their high school graduates do well at institutions of higher learning like Georgia Tech; University of GA; the Ivy League Schools, etc. Unfortunately GA is rated #48 out of the 50 states in academic achievement - but Fayette County students usually graduate from the college of their choice within the four years. The educational system in the United States is 'broke'. The strength of the FC school system is the support it receives from the parents and community. Homes are selling in Fayette County - assuredly for less than what was paid for them - but for young people who can afford these homes, they are getting a wonderful 'house' in a reasonably safe community with a sound public educational system for their children. (Living here gives them the opportunity to 'save' for college) Given: not many people are rushing to buy a home ANYWHERE in these United States - many are choosing to 'rent'.
The housing market is still sluggish - and unless one is in their home for the duration - and can afford to remain there - these are very, very difficult times. Don't blame the lack of young people moving into Fayette County on its school system.

WakeUp
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My assessment . .

I stand by my comment. When the prospective buyers say "during our due diligence we discovered the schools in this area do not meet our requirements." I have to accept that is what they meant. You can second guess all you want, but I know what they said.

Quote:

You may have lost a contract on your house because of the FC schools reputation - or maybe because they found a better house for the money!

The school system here may be high for Georgia, but high in almost the last place for states is of no consolation. I don't blame "the lack of young people moving into Fayette County on its school system." I blame the lack of people moving into North Fayette on the schools in that district AND the crappy BOE.

kcchiefandy
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If I may...

I knew what we were moving into 9 years ago and sent the kids to private school until high school; they scored +100-150 to the Nat. avg. on the SATs, doing decent in college. Their same-age cousins from an average public school system in KS scored +200-300; 2 graduated from Notre Dame, 2 currently have straight A's at a KS state college. GA has an education problem, period. You can't expect poorly publicly-educated college grads to teach the next generation any better than what they had, for the most part. Those relocating here best put up the $$ if they want the best education for their children, or home school if an option.

kcchiefandy
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If I may...

I knew what we were moving into 9 years ago and sent the kids to private school until high school; they scored +100-150 to the Nat. avg. on the SATs, doing decent in college. Their same-age cousins from an average public school system in KS scored +200-300; 2 graduated from Notre Dame, 2 currently have straight A's at a KS state college. GA has an education problem, period. You can't expect poorly publicly-educated college grads to teach the next generation any better than what they had, for the most part. Those relocating here best put up the $$ if they want the best education for their children, or home school if an option.

renault314
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Exactly what requirements does our system not meet?

We have one of the highest grad rates in the state. One of the highest college acceptance rates in the state. I believe that they may have given that excuse to you when they decided to pull the offer on your house, but don't believe for a second that it is the actual reason. The numbers just dont support your claim. Like I've said before, there is a reason that people from Coweta, Clayton and Fulton sneak their kids into our schools and not the other way round. Now being in N. FayCo you may have been zoned for Sandy Creek which is the worst performer in our county. But even our "worst" usually puts up better numbers than the "best" from neighboring counties. Everything is relative.

NUK_1
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Actually, that isn't true

Northgate HS, the closest Coweta school to PTC, is a lot higher than Sandy Creek. Also, McIntosh and Starr's Mill are a solid 300-400 points lower in SAT schools than a Woodward Academy. It IS all relative and when you're dealing with a state with an abysmal record in education like GA, being the best of the worst in terms of public schools is a real issue.

I can see people in ClayCo sneaking their kids in, but Coweta not really unless they already have one parent in FC and the other in Coweta and that's a different situation. Yeah, it involves someone without custody lying and saying they really do so their kid(s) can go to FC, but I don't think that's many people in comparison to the influx of Clayco into FC.

The offer could possibly been pulled for a lot of reasons, one being because their children didn't get accepted to Woodward. Most likely, didn't get approved for a loan. Still, Landmark is only very slightly ahead of FC public schools and quite expensive in terms of ROI when compared to what you get in FC already or what you get from Woodward for about 3K more, so who knows?

Spyglass
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Hard to compare the yeo

Woodward to Mcintosh that is. Much less participation at Woodward reg the sat.

McIntosh is still a solid 100 pts ahead of
Northgate though, FYI.

NUK_1
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No knock on FC school system at all

Northgate is higher than SC, and my point was that I don't think Cowetians are trying to sneak their kids into the closest local FCHS at Sandy Creek.

FC has a good school system and their achieving graduates aren't limited by their choices when they apply to college based on where they happened to live and went to school. I've been to 3 FC HS graduations and seen FC grads heading off to Ivy League schools, West Point, etc bon full scholarships. Not bashing on FC schools or saying that private schools are "better" when the reality is that they cost about 15K at Woodward and people are already paying for FC schools here, so......

I stayed here for the FC public education system and haven't been disappointed at all with it and neither has my offspring and their college achievements show it too.

I see a ton of trouble and bad times coming for the FC school system however. Way too little concern about how the BOE mismanaged their funds and now the next generation is going to pay dearly. Despite all the whining about how "the State of GA cut our funding!" that has happened all over the country and is hardly limited to FC or GA for that matter. The cuts that have to happen with the BOE are going to be draconian because they already maxed-out on the millage several years ago.

Meanwhile, Coweta has as many employees and a similar budget and a huge surplus that isn't requiring them to shutter schools or reduce headcount. They are moving forward while FC is moving backwards. Don't be surprised that within 5 years or so Coweta overtakes FC because they have their financial house in order and the BOE of FC has been a total disaster for years, but the quality of parents, students, and teachers have made it easy to ignore. Those days are ending.

mudcat
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When you get a contract from someone in those square states

in the Midwest, most of whose school systems are ranked in the top 10 nationally. They get real queasy when they find out Georgia ranks 48 out of 57 states (just kidding about the 57, but the #48 is sadly true)

Best we can hope for around here is to have a few schools that rank very high in Metro Atlanta, that way people forced to move to Atlanta can choose us over Gwinnett or Cobb. It does look like we are upgrading 2 seats on the school board quite a bit. No, I don't know any of the candidates, but I sure know the 2 incumbents, so from that starting point, it will be quite an improvement.

renault314
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Georgia may be #48th

but FayCo is still one of the best in the metro area, definitely the best on the southside of atlanta. I dont know why that person withdrew their offer on old boys house, but is sure wasnt becasue Ga is 48th in the nation. That would have been true no matter what county he moved too. And anyone who says Fayette schools arent any good hasnt done even the tiniest bit of research. I gurantee Clayton, Fulton and Coweta counties dont have a problem with children from our countiy faking addresses to sneak into their schools.

Dondol
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OK reddawg44

You seem to have a grasp on things here so explain why for the past 3 years they have come up short on funds and asked (took) pay, benefits, etc. then mysteriously at the end of the year find the funds, but then never return them to the teachers. Hmmmm? Trust me I'm for the teachers, just not the boneheads at the home office that can't seem to balance a budget. Ask them why they spent 800,000. on a new kitchen on the school they closed in Fayetteville. The kitchen was completely remodeled the summer before they closed the school, now the maintenance dept. has a very nice kitchen to use. A very good use of our money wouldn't you say. Here's one for this year, they just came out and told all of the Dept. heads (not just the home office) that they would receive a new Ipad this year, that's spending our money wisely.

reddawg44
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Dondol

As I said, the county/board does not use every red cent the best way. Yes, there is waste. Is that frustrating? Of course it is, because we work hard for the moeny we make and then they take a cut of it via taxes and waste it. I do respect your opinion and you have reasons to vote it down. I really just wanted to know what your reasons were.

I'm for the teachers as you are, but more importantly I am for the kids. ESPLOST benefits the kids tremendously. Much of that moeny is used to to invest in technology for our schools. Technology, like it or not, is what kids these days respond to. Your one liner, when you said something to the effect of you want the county to go through what you have to each day, well it's fine to take from teachers, supervisors, etc. but don't take from the kids. Anyway, I am satisifed with your response. Like I said, you provided reasons for your feelings rather than just spouting off as you did in your initial post. Thanks Dondol!

heatjam
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BYOT

How about plans to outfit ALL of the schools this summer with the capabilities for BYOT, yet they are planning on closing at least 3 schools and possibly 5? Great use of money! Oh, not to mention, how many parents are going to let their elementary school students bring lap tops or tablets? Maybe some will have smart phones or Nintendo dsi's but certainly not enough to justify spending the $$$.

renault314
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huge misunderstanding as to where this money goes.

I am a teacher in this county and I specifically work at one of the BYOT protype schools. I really appreciate where Dondols heart is at, but they are missing some important facts. First, the ESPLOST is a sales tax, not the traditional property tax, so this is a perfect way to spread some of the burden of paying for our excellent schools to those outside the county, since a lot of people from other counties shop here. That is also why they didnt collect as much as they had hoped, with the economy down, people shopped less. They did NOT shop in other counties, since all the surrounding counties have ESPLOST's as well. We could end the ESPLOST, but it would be cuting ourselves off from a great revenue source. Also, its nice to note that other people spending money here makes our schools better, which helps keep property values in the county stay high. So, consider it an investment that pays dividends on your home price.
The most critical thing to note about ESPLOST is that the language very specifically spells out what you can spend the money on and what you cant. The biggest example is payroll. No ESPLOST money can be used to pay salaries, by law. So its spent on other things, like BYOT.
Surpluses are found sometimes becasue they ask teachers to conserve resources like copies, for example. We have a budget for copies at my school, but they always ask us to use as little as possible. Sometimes we have money alloted for things like that, that dont end up getting used, so we have a little surplus at the end, that we had no way to calculate before hand. Nothing nefarious or incompetent about it.
As far as BYOT goes, yes it is expensive. But its not like they are cutting teacher salaries in order to put that stuff in. I think it's a little gimmicky, I've certainly managed to teach for years without it. The fact is that payroll is 90% of the budget. That is true of all counties, plus or minus a few%. The money alloted to things like BYOT could'nt be spent anywhere but the other 10% of the budget anyway, and if all those things are covered, why not put it (BYOT) in now?
I'm just saying that while I appreciate everyone being concerned with teacher salaries and benefits being cut, I know your heart is in the right place. I would love to make 100K/yr at this job, but thats not realistic. It's also not realistic to accuse the school board of being incompetent when the worldwide economy has slowed down. If you listen to the news like I do, you'll know that teacher jobs are being slashed by the hundreds all over the metro area. Its not realistic to complain that my benies are being cut. Its realistic for me to be glad that I still have a job in this economy and that if i have to pay a few more dollars for my very low cost health insurance, I know I'm still waaaay better off that a lot of people out there.

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