E-SPLOST & ‘Them’: We are the ‘Them’

A lot has been written and discussed regarding the looming shortfall of $15 million facing our excellent Fayette County schools.

Many have claimed our schools have been reckless with our tax money. However, the state of Georgia school district expenditures report for 2011 (last available) indicates that our cost per student of $8,538 is actually less than the state average cost per student of $8,593.

The hard work of our students, teachers, administrators and parents has resulted in an excellent school system with few peers. Each of our schools has always achieved annual yearly progress (AYP) and Fayette student test scores are always among the best in the state.

When we consider the quality versus the cost of our schools, it does not take a Harvard MBA to recognize that our schools provide a good return on our tax money.

To be clear, we do need to close schools and get more efficient; however, we do need to recognize we have a revenue problem also.

The economic downturn has reduced funding from the state to Fayette County for the education of our students.

Although some of this decrease has been driven by a decrease in student population, the state has also not completely funded its own school formula since at least 2005.

At some point these cuts will affect performance. The decision to maintain our E-SPLOST must be part of our comprehensive strategy to preserve the Fayette Advantage.

The E-SPLOST can only be used for purchasing items like textbooks, buses, technology (classroom computer hardware and software), building improvements/remediation, and other tangible goods. The funds may also be used for lowering school bond debt.

State law prohibits E-SPLOST funds from being used for administrative costs, or teacher and employee salaries.

What this amounts to is that 100 percent of the funds are used for either purchasing tangible goods, which directly benefit the education of our children, or reducing the interest paid on school bonds, which directly benefits taxpayers.

Some, including me, question the recent events and wonder if we can trust THEM with this money. Our schools are THEM. Our teachers and students are THEM. We the voters of Fayette County are THEM.

These are our schools and we must continue to provide them with the funding and tools necessary to continue the quality results we have come to expect.

I ask that you vote YES to maintain the Fayette County E-SPLOST and maintain excellence.

Neil Sullivan

Co-Chair, Fayette Citizens for Children

Neilsullivan72@gmail.com

Peachtree City, Ga.

NeilSullivan
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Husband and Father as you requested

Good Morning.

I did answer that on a seperate thread to Ginga1414 but I can answer again. Tracey Goodman is the co-chair, she is on school council at WWMS and former PTO president at Brooks. "mama" Jenny Mccurry is our Sec/ Treasurer (we have no Treasure) and she is a retired Fayette County teacher who I believe still makes the pre-game meal for FCHS.

We worked hard on the last ESPLOST so we stay on that for sure. Other than that we watch school finance and state funding issues. Releasing calls for action through email. Our goal is to get out FACTUAL information and let people make up their own minds.

We have no formal meetings and usually work through email. Our team has too many parents with active kids and people who work with different schedules. I have done about 15 nights out of town since my first letter.

Like you I am a sports coach, having done Spring/ Fall with PTCLL since 2008 although this fall my business has taken off so I am on hiatus as my son plays Upward Flag Football.

I read on one thread you have something to do with Oak Grove. If so, you may know "MB" who did ESPLOST education out of Oak Grove he was paralell to us last time. I do not know how public he was so I will not relese his name on the blogs. Email me and I will give you his email.

Take Care,

Neil

Husband and Fat...
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Neil, can you set me straight.

A couple weeks ago, someone inquired about the name of the other Co-Chair and board members of the FCFC organization. If I recall correctly, someone was going to inquire if the other Co-Chair wanted to be named. I don't recall the other Co-Chair or board members names being provided. Can you provide this information? The website does not list any names.

I inquired about this organization this past weekend at a couple of outings with parents active with the schools. No one I spoke to could provide any information. I went to the wesite to see if there were any scheduled meetings and nothing was listed.

Please set me straight on this group.

g8trgrl
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SAT Scores

Wonder what the scores will be for McIntosh next year after the few hundred kids from Smokerise, Kedron Hills & Stoneybrook are sent to Sandy Creek High.....new map for high schools is crazy!!!

heatjam
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new HS maps

Where are you seeing these new HS maps?

opusman
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Larry ..Larry ...Larry

Larry = naïveté

FCBOE financial Mismanagement

1) Building and operating unnecessary (at least 3 + schools with the purpose of benefiting developers when studies were provided of a declining population well in advance
2) Hiring Districting consultants and then ignoring their findings to suit individual BOE members.
3) Paying for positions (especially Administrative Not recognized as Needed by the state) at a 100% cost to the county.
4) Buying land for speculative purposes.
5) Surplusing land already bought for a High School( that already had power and sewage run) and buying more land on speculation to house this (Not needed )Future High school that does not have utilities run ..which would have to be done at additional expense to the Boe
6) $41,000 for a vocational needs assessment that could have been provided in house.

Would you like me to continue? I deal in cold hard fact.
Once again you really need to do your own research.

As for data on schools we covered that Fayette rating depends on 2 schools and we have covered the factual data behind this disparity between schools in the same system. (though you ignore and fail to recognize that fact).

Larry Sussberg
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Opus

There is not one balance sheet item listed above that I am not aware of.

But thank you for pointing them out. You are clearly focused on past decisions which is fine.
Lets set aside the fact that all purchases were made prior to the 2008 mortgage security backed financial crisis which caught 99% of America by surprise. FCBOE is restructured with intelligent and conservative board members in tune with post financial disaster realities.

You still allude the question on managing revenue/expenses of the school system as to how it operates on a go forward and whether you currently have or ever had children in the school system.

If you revisit the SAT scores you allude to, performance is still better with one exception so comparatively you should find another school system.

I suggest we agree to disagree and I respect your opinion.

Mine is clearly different after reviewing the current situation as it relates to only the ESplost.

Thank you and let's move on.

johenry
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Cute dogs Larry

Those are two cuties!

opusman
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Larry

Read on... I gave you an exact specific course on cuts and adjustments to remedy the situation in a previous post you chose again to ignore.. I can list on if you like current fiscal mismanagement such as the operating cost of those unnecessary schools, burning the fund balance instead of addressing the issues in a timely matter, money spent on studies that could be completed in house , failure to address excess positions not funded by the state attempting to open a new single purpose career academy to be funded by the County. ( 95% of funding for Coweta's career academy is provided by the local BOE) you should have attended their open house.
Your pointless question do have children in the system... Yes , and I am ,as stated earlier ,more of a stake holder in this system than you could ever imagine.

Larry Sussberg
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Opus

I read your email carefully...most of what you identified are the past purchases of the FCBOE which are now assets on the balance sheet that are up for sale. Those sales will provide a 1 time relief to the system.

The consultants were an expense item and the $41,000 for the Fayette Academy is also an expense item.

As the Fayette Academy, I have met with Kim Leonard, reviewed all the documents including the manual to establish. I missed the tour, but have reviewed every document. You might see it as a single purpose, and the true cost factors still need to be determined which is what is it's operating cost compared to the tech programs in 5 locations. Also, what should the tech programs be based upon local industry feedback to train students to fill those needs. There are additional revenue opportunties such as leasing space to Southern Crescent for night classes.

FCBOE could also consider the consolidation of all AP classes to this Academy. Currently Fayette does not offer enough AP and restricts students from AP because there are enough AP trained teachers which is a high cost to the school system. FCBOE could consider consolidating AP to one location and train teachers on more AP subjects, since they may need less per subject trained over 5 schools.

Also, other companies, such as mine could rent space to offer exam prep.

Ultimately, we need to see the financial numbers to see if its a "true" cost or actual savings to the school system when you consolidiate from the 5 High Schools.

Asking if you are stakeholder is not pointless, it shows you are an active participant in the system. .

As for fiscal mis-management, School management is working on a plan to consolidate schools and a plan to re-purpose those schools to be closed. That will be presented at the December meeting. The $20 million deficit will not be closed by closing schools but it contributes. The State has cut funding this year and we know the real estate issues we are facing in Fayette that impacts the operating budget, so other things will need to be cut. Burning the fund balance during a period of harsh restructing is a question you need to ask board members...

The system will balance the budget and it will be very painful. I am not suggesting we "throw money" at the system but when you review the operating budget now and go forward you can see what the impact of the ESPLOST has.

As I said, let's agree to disagree...that's ok. I am not trying to discredit your information or knowledge on the topic, as you should not do to me.

Luckily, we have the opportunity to vote...

NeilSullivan
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Opus comparison as requested

Hi Opus!

It has been a while. First we are going to disagree on sample size. I prefer a larger sample as it normalizes the data. Unfortunately, if we are going to do this right, we would need to compensate for variables such as parapros, special Ed resources, programmatic difference, but since we are paid to do other things I can only take the data at face value. Even though the populations vary, the per FTE remains.

BUT let’s do just focus on our neighbors to the west. First, you would be correct in pointing out that Coweta’s cost per FTE is approximately 9% lower than Fayette. (7803 v. 8538 d =-735) But then we should consider that Fayette pays 631 more per FTE for instruction. Part of that is our investment in smaller class sizes but also, our front line teachers have more experience (15.62 v. 12.49 yrs 2011 QBE report card) which drives higher pay and with approximately the same number of teaching personnel (F 1481 v. C 1472), Fayette has approximately 150 more teachers with advanced degrees than Coweta which again drives pay and some may argue drive our excellent and consistent results. But to your point, 631 x 21,000 is over $13MM which seems to answer how Coweta can do it for $10MM less.

You seem more focused on the revenue side which is fine but help me understand how you think Coweta is doing such a better job than Fayette when in 2012, Fayette County earned $500,000 more in QBE funding than Coweta County before adjustments. After adjustments for the “5Mills” and local equalization grants, Coweta received $9.5Million MORE than Fayette. That difference is half our shortfall. We pay more taxes and get less revenue. To your point we are demographically similar so one must wonder why Coweta gets over $4MM is “equalization”?

You correctly point out that Coweta has a surplus but you failed to note that not only does Coweta have an ESPLOST that they recently renewed, and I am not sure if this is the first or second renewal, but at the very least, while Fayette was paying for computers, books, and school repairs out of our operating budget, our neighbors were using an ESPLOST and saving their operating funds to build a reserve. I do agree we should follow their example and renew our ESPLOST.

As far as performance, I agree that our neighbors in Coweta should be very proud of their progress. While they have had recent success meeting AYP for all schools. No Fayette school has EVER failed to make AYP, an achievement few, if any, other systems in Georgia can claim. Our SAT scores are consistently near the top of the state with over 70% of our students taking the exam. Few if any systems can make that claim. We could talk college placement, number of service academy appointments, but it should suffice to say that UGA actually has a limit for Fayette County students because we can fill it.

Again nice to hear from you. I am pretty busy with work so replies are hit and miss. Take care and enjoy tomorrow’s debates.

Neil

Larry Sussberg
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Husband and Faher of 2-COMPARISON
Letters to the Editor wrote:

...Many have claimed our schools have been reckless with our tax money. However, the state of Georgia school district expenditures report for 2011 (last available) indicates that our cost per student of $8,538 is actually less than the state average cost per student of $8,593...

Here is the answer to the question you were asking earlier

What ever you decide, just do it on the facts and data!

Husband and Fat...
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Comparison

Thank you for the cost per student comparison. This is a starting point. What I would like to see is a comparison with a similar sized system with similar test scores. Then we can analyze and compare, facilities, teacher costs, busing, techknowlogy, extracurricular, ect...

Its really hard to just look at a number and determine if its comparable.

opusman
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Husband and Father info

There is for both revenue and expenditure...
http://app3.doe.k12.ga.us/ows-bin/owa/fin_pack_revenue.entry_form
This will give you an actual picture and an apples to apples comparison of similar systems and not some bogus skewed "average" that some here tout so strongly.
Averages are used to hide or distort fact.

Larry Sussberg
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Opus and Husband & Father of 2-REAL DATA

While you argue and somehow try to disprove that Fayette is not one of the more cost effectively run school systems in the State of GA, let's focus on some "street" data:

GA Dept of Ed released in September 2012 the SAT Score results by school system:

Fayette high schools average SAT Scores as reported in September 2012 was 1542, topping the State average by 90 points and national average by 44 points. MacIntosh and Starrs Mill topped the list at 1633 and 1605.

Coweta high schools average SAT Scores as reported in September 2012 was 1476. Northgate and Newnan HS topped the list at 1528 and 1475. The score range is 600-2400

Do you notice a slight difference?

SAT scores are a predictor of a student's ability to succeed in college because it measures critical thinking skills.

SAT and ACT scores are an important component to college acceptance. If any of you attend the college fairs in Fayette and Coweta, there is a big difference between them and the colleges that come to recruit students in Fayette vs Coweta.

When was the last time you looked at the SAT requirements to get in UGA and GA TECH? UGA, average now 1700 and GA TECH's average is now around 1900. Private colleges which now cost around $60,000 per year are higher (i.e. Emory).

Also, contact the Fayette Board of Realtors to see how important SAT or ACT scores are to home values. Then check with Fayette County Development Authority to see if companies looking to locate to Fayette check this data too.

Look at results too in your analysis.

opusman
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Larry ... Real data

SAT .. ACT scores have nothing to do with the fiscal responsibility or efficiency of a system. But I'll play. Once again you let Fayette SAT Average scores be carried by 2 High schools ... (Starrs Mill and McIntosh)
Those schools perform because of dedicated parents,students and teachers... Not because of the money thrown at the schools . But wait, what about FCHS, WWHS or SCHS..you dont mention those schools...hmmmmm..Does not Fayette have 5 High schools? Yes let's talk about realtors and growth. Coweta county is growing people are moving there. Fayette has a declining population.. No growth to fill those over built schools. Real data Larry and facts.

Oh and by the way I do see the college requirements and student performance on a Daily basis.

PS so if UGA and GT require 1700-1900 SAT .. I guess the average Coweta and Fayette county student won't make it .. Using your logic... SAT and ACT scores are not the only perameters universities or technical colleges , for that matter, use in student selection.

Fayette County has been the epitome of fiscal mismanagement.

suggarfoot
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opusman

You stick to the facts well while Neil and Larry ...well, they are Neil and Larry.

Larry Sussberg
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Opusman-SAT DATA & Fiscal Mis-Mangement?

Ok, let's recap

McIntosh - 1633
Starrs Mill - 1605
Whitewater - 1516
Sandy Creek - 1456
Fayette High - 1423

Northgate High - 1528
Newnan High - 1475
East Coweta High - 1438

As for your "parent's argument"...how many of your kids went to Fayette Schools?

I can tell you its the teachers not only the parents and I assure you it's way more the teachers.

As for UGA and Georgia Tech...I do close to 50% of my business in exam prep and college counseling in Fayette County. I work with Fayette and Coweta families every day. I assure you many more Fayette students are at UGA and Tech and better colleges.

As for fiscal mis-management, can you define fiscal mis-management? Is the problem with the balance sheet or the revenue/expense report?

If 90% of the operating expenses are salaries and benefits what's the problem?

As for the balance sheet, was the purchase of the Rivers and lands the problem?

If operating budgets are balanced every year do you want to see the balance sheet adjusted somehow?

I think from an accounting standpoint we need to drill down and identify if there is a financial operating issue.

Thanks
Larry

PS - In mathematics, an average is a measure of the "middle" or "typical" value of a data set.[citation needed] It is thus a measure of central tendency only.

opusman
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Larry read slowly

Do you struggle with reading? I said" Those schools perform because of dedicated parents,students and teachers... Not because of the money thrown at the schools".... Your reply"As for your "parent's argument"...how many of your kids went to Fayette Schools?
I can tell you its the teachers not only the parents and I assure you it's way more the teachers."
Slow down man relax , read and comprehend.
;-)
Or are you saying it has nothing to do with the parents and students?

Larry Sussberg
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Opus

Funny....but let's stick with facts, not insults...ok?

You not dealing with the data I am providing as someone who works in the field.

Call Wake Forest in NC which was the first top notch college not to take SAT or ACT scores and ask admissions what evaluators they use. You will hear class rank and course rigor BASED upon the High School they are applying from...the school itself matters.

Do you have any children in the schools or graduated from Fayette schools?

If 90% of the Fayette operating budget cover salaries and benefits, what do you suggest the schools cut when they need to budget in the required capital programs, textbooks and technology that the ESPLOST covers. How any children are acceptable in a classroom and will your children particiate in that?

As for Smith and Smola, I am concerned with the ESPLOST issue, not politics. I currently have no children in Fayette Schools and it is to my financial benefit to have lousy school system.

Wonder why I support the ESPLOST - because its right and its needed, do the math...look at the hard operating numbers of this school system. Not the balance sheet, the operating numbers.

These are not my children but they are America's future. I am against any new tax and this is not a new tax and damn if I'm going to turn my back on children and their education for a lousy 1%.

Oh, and Rivers and lands and Smith and Smola are not the appropriate "battle cry" on the ESPLOST.

Thanks
Larry

opusman
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Larry

Just a little friendly prodding... You insulted an entire county ... Not very civil.. And once again I'll ask is reading an issue with You? As you are now referencing the criteria college recruiters use AS I ALREADY STATED... I never mentioned Rivers and Land and I said I was neither for or against your Splost ... Just looking at real facts, your reasoning as to why it would not be better to wait and see how the new board responds fiscally and why you and yours seem to think throwing more money at the board will cure all that ails the system. We all heard this sales pitch before. Now can you understand the citizens hesitancy and not see the prudence in waiting until we see how the new board will handle OUR money?

Larry Sussberg
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Opus

Coweta is aware of their data, as is Fayette. That is not insulting, its the facts supported by data.

Still you do not answer the question about if you have ever had or currently have children in the Fayette schools.

Or, your definition of fiscal mis-management

Or, your understanding of how we should manage the operating budget without the ESPLOST in 2015 and on if 90% of the budget currently supports labor and benefits?

We know we have excellent schools, we know that for 2 years running we are at the top of the state in college entrance exam scores which colleges and universities look at both in the scores themselves AND in determinig the other 2 factors of acceptance AND we know that without the ESPLOST we will most likey have to reduce even more teachers in 2015 bringing class sizes even higher than the restructuring that is about to occur.

Honestly, I do not see that as throwing more money at the board, especially when the State data supports that we operate an efficient system.

Hopefully your decision is to vote YES on ESPLOST after reviewing the facts, if not I respect your decision. Unfortunately based on GA aw it can not pulled off the ballot to re-appear next November, it would have to wait 2 years creating a gap year in necessary funding.

Thank you and if you at the FCBOE Candidate forum on Tuesday, come up and say hi.

Larry

heatjam
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SAT scores

Actually, I believe that our SAT scores were 4th in the metro area this past year with Forsyth, Cherokee and Fulton Counties scoring higher.

SCHOOL SYSTEM
TOTAL SCORE
READING
MATH
WRITING
Cherokee County
1587
532
536
519
Fulton County
1580
522
536
522
Oconee County
1571
527
533
511
Decatur City
1570
539
514
517
Forsyth County
1568
524
532
512
Jefferson City
1564
520
530
514
Trion City
1557
537
515
505
Fayette County
1542
517
524
501
Cobb County
1520
512
514
494
Gwinnett County
1518
503
522
493
Source: College Board data and individual school district information

Quallacherokee
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"I Feel" danger, danger Will Robinson ..

Go back and read comments on this Esplost issue, pay attention to the phrase
"I feel" compared to "I Think". Even a graduate from APD can see the significance of these two phrases. The "I Feel" crowd, whose emotions are tied up in the decision making process are all for throwing more money at the problem, whereas the "I Think" crowd, seem to have been able to disengage their emotions long enough to rationally determine a course of action.

Here's a fun (to me) experiment, next time you're talking or listening to a friend or colleague, see if they say Feel or Think. when Feel is the chosen adjective, rest assured you're dealing with a person who functions from a position of emotions. Liberals almost always say feel, women in the media (even those eye candies at Fox) are far more likely to say "I Feel".

Folks I'm only pointing this out for one simple reason, When it comes to allowing government taking more of our Money, we need to put down our feelings and Think things through.

Larry Sussberg
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Opusman

You left out that Coweta with its lower performing schools has had an ESplost for 10 years.

And, SAT and ACT scores represent 1/3 of the decision making process used by a college admissions officer.
Colleges look at the High School then evaluate the student's class rank and course rigor BASED upon which high school that student is applying from. So actually the school system is heavily weighted in to the overall mix.

Based upon feedback from the college recruiters, Fayette is highly regarded on a regional basis by the top state universities as well as private colleges ranging from Duke to Vanderbilt.Right up there with Marietta, Sandy Springs....etc

When you compare, let's reach up not down. Coweta is a terrible system to compare Fayette to.

Which Fayette schools did your children attend?

suggarfoot
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that was a nasty and uncalled for dig at Coweta

My kid went to school in Fayette county, but I would put the Coweta schools up next to Fayette's any day. And others are right to point out that you can only point to 2 high schools. You keep repeatedly saying you are not a Smith Smola fan but you sure do parrot them

renault314
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Sugarfoot- it would be a mistake

to put Coweta schools up against Fayette Co. You'll lose everytime. Having taught in both school sytems I can tell you first hand there is no comparison you could make that would have Coweta even pulling up even to Fayette. I was personally told by the principal of Newnan HS to discourage the kids i thought were a little slow from taking the SAT, so as not to bring the schools average down. In all my years in Fayette, as a student and a teacher, I've never heard of any nonsense like that here.

opusman
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Renault

Your school scores just came up to par with Coweta's scores this year as did Sandy Creek and Fayette County HS.
So there is an absolute comparison as Starr's mill and Mcintosh are not the norm for Fayette County. The performance disparity between schools in a single county should warrant investigation since everyone basis Fayette standing on the shoulders of 2 of it's 5 high schools.

Obviously you didn't discuss testing with your current schools former administrator if you never heard such in Fayette county.

renault314
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OPUS- no investigation needed

Ill tell you the difference right now. its the parents. Its not the schools, the teachers or the admin. Sure those things can have small, short term influences, but overall, its the how much do the parents care. Thats the difference between us and ClayCo. In the Macintosh, Starrs mill area, there are a much higher percentage of parents who are successful and benefit from education thanthere are in ClayCo. Therefore they impress that upon their children to take education seriously. Also, the children, living in upper middle class homes, directly benefit from their parents education and want that for themselves in the future. I know this because I have kids from both worlds and see it every day. If you took Starrs mill HS with all its facilities, teaches and admin and droped it down into the middle of Riverdale, you would not get anything more out of those kids there. Its the parents. The other 3 high schools in our county have slightly lower percentages of parents who care, thus the slightly lower scores. If you took all 5 high schools in our county and weighted the average SAT scores by average income, they would all come out the same.

heatjam
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Renault - Snob

"The other 3 high schools in our county have slightly lower percentages of parents who care, thus the slightly lower scores"

This must be the SNOBBIEST comment that I have read here in a very long time! I'm glad that my child attends one of the other 3 schools and doesn't have to deal with a snob like you!

renault314
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Heatjam- hate to dissapoint

but I DO teach at one of the "other" three schools. Have for years and I love it. Would'nt move to Mac or SM if you asked. Which is why I can make that assesment, because I see the difference in the kids every day. I am speaking in broad generalizations of course, but my characterizations are driven by the data, both numerical and anecdotal. Snobbery has nothing to do with it. How snobby can I be? I make a teachers salary for chrissakes. Im not judging. just stating facts, something you neglected to do, you just call people names when you disagree with them. I hope you don't teach that to your kids. Instead of just resorting to ad hominem attacks, why dont you give me an alternate explanation of why there is universally a direct relationship between average household income and school achievment, even withing the same school district and same school? I'm sure we'd all like to hear your deep insight into this matter. (see how I responded to you without calling you a name, just explaining the reason for my opinion? Now you try!)

heatjam
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renault

You don't have to be rich to be a snob...manners are learned, not bought.

wildcat
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SAT/snob

Maybe the other schools have higher scores because their teachers aren't blogging all day? hahaha!!

renault314
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Dont worry wildcat

my AP and regular students do just fine!

wildcat
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No worries

As long as Roy is good with his teachers blogging during the school day, then that is all that counts, right?

wildcat
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.

.

Quallacherokee
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heatjam,, I have a question

WHO stay's home? to be with JR?
WHO attend school board meetings? and has input?
WHO decided Government was the BEST educational source with so many Private schools available?
WHO decided in your family that YOU get to use government to MAKE me and my family tend to your offspring?, I mean I know I;m getting screwed, but I don't remember the pleasure of screwing you ....
DO tell, WHY, me and mine have some debt to YOU and yours .....

Quallacherokee
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Renault314

You're a Teacher, in Fayette?

renault314
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Quall-

yep.

Quallacherokee
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Renault the Teacher

I know everyone especially since 9/11 goes out of their way to say Thanks to Cops, Firefighters, and Military folks, and rightly so, BUT
I think the unsung warriors are you Teachers, so let me say 2 things,
THANK YOU for your service !
and Secondly, I PRAY you don't have any "me's" in your class (lol)

renault314
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Quall- appreciate the thanks

I was actually active duty during 9/11 and deployed 3 times during my stint. So youre welcome for that too! LOL. I like my job a lot, I just wish they would stop forcing the "latest and greatest" education fads upon us without our input, and then when it doesnt work out start talking about how there needs to be "better teacher training" and "stricter performance guidlines" and "test scores need to be a factor in evaluations." What a bunch of B.S. If teachers actually got to teach instead of doing all the dippity do hoops we have to jump thru for every tom, dick, and harry lawmaker than thinks he knows whats best in Ed., we'd get a lot more teaching done I'll tell you that for free. Gov't is almost always an impediment. Public school is a prime example. We'd be a lot better off without federal entanglemnts I cant even tell you. And dont even get me started on the unconstitutional monstrosity known as the federal Dept. of Education...........

Quallacherokee
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Teacher,

Based on your recent comment, I really don't think we are "that far part"
I WANT, the BOE to secure fiscal demands, I want the BOE to LISTEN to you the teacher, (while being fiscal responsible) I want the BOE to HEAR the Parents and communicate to those parents what YOU the teacher have to say, I want the the BOE to ensure that the ONLY people in contact with "the children" are of high moral,ethical standards, and as I eluded to earlier that includes Janitors, Kitchen staff,resource officers,bus drivers etc.
and I want the BOE to understand that the END result of their job is the Children, BUT that their job is to answer to the Parents FIRST, (Voters)
this means that if the voters (Parents) are imbeciles,sadly the kids are likely to follow, but here's the rub, IF we do otherwise, we end up with a Federal Dept of Education (That R Reagan SWORE to remove and didn't )and this DOEd lay's out requirements that requires a Ga student to learn the same thing an Idaho student/Farmer must know (vise a versea)

Currently the measly $2 million that Fayette gets from the feds (imo) ought to be sent back with a HUGE FU attached, and maybe even the same message to the State, I think WE (Fayette County Citizens) have a much better idea or at least notion of how to educate OUR kids,, with all of "my" ideas in place OUR BOE Could actually BE a BOE ... I know it's a pipe dream but thankfully not even the Government has outlawed Dreams ....

to add to this line of "i want"
I want Principles ELECTED NOT appointed .....
but that's a whole nuther story...

anyway as stated THANK YOU for ALL of your service.

PS, I write this with the understanding that I will NOT be graded on Punctuation, grammar, or spelling,,,,,

G35 Dude
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Qualla- You may be asking to much

You may be asking too much from a BOE that hires a super (Bearden), then gives him a raise and contract extension only to "agree to a mutual termination" with a generous separation package only a few months later, then thinks that they owe us no explanation for all of these wasted funds. Then asks us to vote for an ESPLOST but won't tell us what they intend to spend most of the money on.

http://www.thecitizen.com/articles/10-10-2012/e-splost-blanks-61-funds-p...

Larry Sussberg
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Renault

All the more reason why we need to maintain excellent schools.
For current parents and to attract new parents to Fayette.

opusman
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Gold star for Renault

Gold Star to you.
If you have been reading my posts from past years to the present this is Exactly the point I have been trying to get across.
Now especially to Mr. Sussberg and Mr. Sullivan.

NUK_1
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renault: 100% agree
renault314 wrote:

Ill tell you the difference right now. its the parents. Its not the schools, the teachers or the admin. Sure those things can have small, short term influences, but overall, its the how much do the parents care. Thats the difference between us and ClayCo.

I've been saying this for years and apparently on deaf ears. Like 25 years or more. It heartens me to see someone within acknowledge this, despite all the work that the teachers and staff do, which all are rightfully deserving of credit themselves.

The BOE has been a train wreck in FC long before now...way before. Dedicated people inside the system and especially the parents made the difference between what was once a not-so-good school system decades ago and now is better than average nationally. Considering the incompetence of the BOE for three decades or so, that deserves commendation.

It's often said of the general electorate that you get the government you voted for, and in this case, the parents in FC have managed to somehow vote for a bunch of clowns many times, but demanded at the school level results, and got them by being very involved and demanding it. I really hope that doesn't change.

renault314
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Opus and Nuk

Well, the truth is that most teachers understand this, even if it may be hard to admit we dont have as much influence as we like to think. All the teachers I'm chummy with know its true anyway. I'm glad to see other people understand it, but I'm not sure how this information helps from a budgetary standpoint. For me personally I get tired of politicians talking about finding better teachers to fix failing schools, or that crappy teachers are the reason public school is terrible and we need charters schools or other nonsense like that. As if a new teacher making more or less than the person before is going to magically make a kids parents suddenly give a crap. Of course a politicain cant say to the parents of their district "hey, the reason our schools fail is 'cause you are bad parents" cause they wouldnt get elected if they did. I just wish others wouldnt buy into the rhetoric they spew. Nonsense like that is what leads to the APS cheating scandal, blaming the teachers and then tying their pay into test scores "to motivate the teachers" to try harder. Of course they are going to cheat. Youre taking money from their pockets over something they have no control of, how hard a kid tries, which is almost always related to their home life. Its not right to cheat, but what did they think was going to happen? Thats my own little ax to grind.

NUK_1
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Coweta schools vs. Fayette

Because of their respective populations, demographics, school enrollment and proximity, it's a good comparison, but are we measuring past results or anticipated future results? As they say in the investing world "past results are no indicator of future performance."

I think definitely overall Fayette Co schools > Coweta schools. In a few years or maybe a couple, it may change. One school system has this: terrible financial shape that several schools will be closed, a lot of personnel eliminated, an elected body that is a disgrace and has no superintendent in a few months vs. another system flush with cash that is about to replace aging facilities with new ones, a BOE and super that are on the same page, and demographics, especially business growth in the county, on the upswing.

By the same token, Forsyth County schools blow away FC in results and that sort of surprises me because the Forsyth Co demographics and "affluence" isn't above FC. I guess it's because in FC there are closer private school options like Woodward, Landmark, Heritage, Our Lady, etc that siphon off some while in Forsyth you have some great private schools not THAT close and the commute/traffic to get to/from isn't pleasant at all, plus they already have a lot of success so the private school option isn't as appealing.

renault314
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NUK - one important consideration you forgot

when comparing Coweta to Fayette. When the school boards management of money is concerned, people are moving into Coweta, while the population of Fayette has declined for the last few years. People move to Fayette becasue of its afluence during good times, but cant aford to saty in the bad times. As a consequence, our property tax revenue and state contribution go down every year, while Coweta's goes up. Its easy to mange money when you always have lots of cash coming in. Managing money when the budget declines every year due to outside factors is a lot harder. Could they have reacted faster to the decline and closed some schools already? sure. But im not sure they deserve all the blame they are getting. And all the people not wanting to renew the ESPLOST over percieved mismangament are just going to make things worse for the new board. Its not going to teach them a lesson.

AtHomeGym
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Sweetfeet & Sussberg

For Pete's sake SF, he's a registered Democrat! Why would he not support Smith?

Larry Sussberg
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Blue Dog Democrat

A Blue Dog Democrat to be specific, which is actually an independent. Core focus is on fiscal conservativism and the current agenda is to push for a bill that withholds Congressional salaries until there is a Federal budget.

Setting that aside, political parties should have 0 involvement in a school board election, it should only be about the candidate and the focus on system and children.

Quallacherokee
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LS

IMO
Spoken like a real independent with liberal leanings,
The BOE's LAST concern should be "the children" Their "job" is to establish an environment that is fiscally sound, free of corruption, criteria established that only permits the best candidates to interact with students
(This goes FAR beyond teachers, unless you think janitors can't influence kids) The BOE is also responsible for securing the best educational materials available, not based on a salesman's pitch but what Teachers are requesting, meaning the BOE should heed request from Teachers and understand the ultimate "system" is a two way communication system, rather than the "we're the Board, and you will do it this way" that has plagued FC for decades.

The BOE are not EDUCATORS, their job is NOT "the children", their sole reason to be is setting up a system that allows for the seamless transference of knowledge, which surprisingly doesn't involve money

Larry Sussberg
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Quall

Thank you for your input

Quallacherokee
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Larry

You are quite welcome, where do I send my Bill? ps I only except precious metals as payment

renault314
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Quall- youre assesment of the board

is appallingly wrong. No matter what entity you are involved in, (govt, buisiness, school boards) you need to keep the ultimate customer and end product in mind. The customer and product here being helthy, educated ready for success CHILDREN. If you cant keep this in mind, how good can you be at your job? I think too often board memenrs forget its "for the children" which is what leads to political infighting, delays and posturing. The previous boards lack of proper focus is what lead to them interfering with the superintendasnt trying to fix things. Instead they were worried abouttheir jobs, instead of the kids. My advice would be for the new board to keep their focus on the kids a little more often, not less.

renault314
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Quall- youre assesment of the board

is appalingly wrong. No matter what entity you are involved in, (govt, buisiness, school boards) you need to keep the ultimate customer and end product in mind. The customer and product here being helthy, educated ready for success CHILDREN. If you cant keep this in mind, how good can you be at your job? I think too often board memenrs forget its "for the children" which is what leads to political infighting, delays and posturing. The previous boards lack of proper focus is what lead to them interfering with the superintendasnt trying to fix things. Instead they were worried abouttheir jobs, instead of the kids. My advice would be for the new board to keep their focus on the kids a little more often, not less.

Quallacherokee
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Renault

If as you say the BOE focus is the CHILDREN why have a board at all? let's just hire them as Principles, or head of department teachers?

As I suggested, obviously appalling to yourself, a successful BOE does in fact consider the kids, but is their LAST consideration.
the role of education rest first and foremost at home, with parents.
The BOE is responsible to whom? students (the children) or Parents (voters)
thus the leading role of the BOE is as I contended ensuring a Fiscally Sound, Corrupt Free educational system (which I would point out ultimately helps the children) Clayton Co and APD vs Forsyth and Coweta bear this out.

My suggestion to the New Board is to FIX that which is broken, otherwise there will be NO system "For the Children"

Larry Sussberg
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Suggarfoot

I am only a fan of Fayette Schools and my interest is in making sure OUR schools remain top schools in the region. The ESPLOST and our school system is my only focus.

Never met Ms. Smola, and have had limited contact with Ms. Smith who I sent a personal donation to because I do not like PACS. Have also spoken with Mary Kay as well. Will be at Tuesday's forum to listen to both candidates carefully and will decide who I will vote for at that time.

Thanks

opusman
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Sussberg very suspect info

And Fayette had a Splost for 4 ... And your point?? Oh since Coweta schools performance is lower than Fayette and they have had a Splost for 10 years then a Splost has no direct correlation to improved school performance. Kind of shot yourself in the foot there didn't ya. By the By Coweta scores on par and higher than Fayette HS, Whitewater and Sandy Creek (those schools you and Neil forget to mention in order to get your AVERAGES) you just prove my point that Fayette relies heavily on 2 schools scores. ( Now I will say Roy is turning WW around) Why such a disparity if all this funding is spread through the county? Shouldn't all the schools should be roughly equal across the system? All three Coweta High schools scores are on the same level . Citizens are choosing Coweta over Fayette everyday. Coweta is building new schools , people and businesses are moving in and they are financially solvent. College recruiters are now putting more weight on High School GPA , course taken and the school the student graduated from than SAT scores. As a matter of fact 32 of the top 100 colleges on the U.S. News & World Report liberal arts college list no longer require every applicant to submit an SAT or ACT score. You and Neil make me laugh. Call Terri or Janet and try again.

Larry Sussberg
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Opusman

You haven't defined fiscal mis- management as it relates to balance sheet or revenue/expense reporting?

And you haven't answered if your children are currently in Fayette Schools or attended Fayette schools?

Lets focus on the ESplost, not the politics of candidates.

I have never met Ms Smith or Ms Smola and I am only interested in the school system itself?

That's the real issue.... You really believe we should not continue the ESplost and if so how would you cover the 2015 deficit when E Splost disappears when 90% of the current budget covers salaries and benefits.

How many kids in the classroom do you want? And how many children do you have in the Fayette schools do you have? Are you a stakeholder willing to have your children in a stripped down school system?

opusman
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Larry it's really not difficult

I am a logical realist.
As for the E-Splost I am not for or against . I just don't see the rush until we know how the new board will handle the money. I am more of a stake holder in this system than you will ever be or know. As for how I would handle this shortfall ... Easy close under capacity schools(4-5 we have the capacity),lose 14 surplus AP positions and if need be implement a 4.5% to 5% across the board pay cut for EVERY Position top to bottom and lose positions through attrition etc. It's a tough decision but it has to be done. Not to hard at all. Every option should be on the table. As for class sizes I have seen extremely successful classes run with 30 + students. It was done in the past and can be accomplished now. Given the calibre students, parents and teachers we have class size is not an issue.
Tough decisions but not impossible. This is the mistake Dr.Bearden made .It's much easier to come in and be the A#* #*#% on day one and not put it off and have to start pandering.

renault314
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OPUS- from a logical realist perspective

something needs to change. I totally agree. I am all for charging for busses, consolidating schools, not buying new books, selling off assets, 4 day school weeks, all kinds of things. But we have already had our pay and benefits cut 4 years in a row man. Everyone needs to do their part, and I think we have chipped in more than our fair share, especially since the problem is not our doing. Famielies are moving out of FayCo. So revenues from property taxes and the state contribution are down. We have also been trimming the budget every year for the last 5 years. Any waste and pork that might have been in the system before is now long gone. It was the first to go. If you want to make the case that the school board was wasteful before, fine. I wont argue. But all of your suggestion and mine together still may not cut the budget by $20mil. How can voting down the ESPLOST help things in any way? Unless you are going to tell me that teachers get paid to much, even after 4 years of pay and benefit cuts, then i think weve done our part. Find another way. Fayette teachers are already the lowest paid in the metro area. I already know of several teachers who will be leaving this year to go to other schools sytems(COWETA< HENRY) and will be getting a 5-8K bump to do so. Eventually we will all get past this financial problem. But if you keep cutting teachers already low pay, that will have effects on this counties schols that last much, much longer.

Quallacherokee
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Esplost and Obama

I haven't seen this brought up (maybe I missed the post)
But THE flat out A#1 reason Esplost needs to FAIL this year
is really quite simple, There is a VERY real chance Obama gets 4 more years
are you folks REALLY REALLY sure you want to continue a tax with this nightmare on the horizon?
If he does get re-elected SAT's ACT's are going to be the LEAST of concerns to graduating High Schoolers, They'd be better off studying Guerilla Camp Construction, Blackpowder Recipies, and Mushroom'n 101
I STRONGLY suggest we all take a breath vote NO this time as it EFFECTS NOTHING until 2014, which gives us a chance to see whom is going to be in the White House and how congress will be partied up

NUK_1
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Fiscal mismanagement? DUH!

The BOE budget is balanced every year as it's required to be by law. When the budget's expenditures are higher than revenues, the difference is made up by using the fund balance of the system. The fund balance is about to be nothing. Nothing left to tap into.

What do you call building a new school that is barely used presently? Buying a lot of land in some kind of real estate speculation that sits unused and worth much less than the purchase price? What do you call having to suddenly in one year close 3-5 existing schools? What do you call a 2011-2012 budget that is balanced by using 16mil+ of the fund balance(BOE doesn't have a reserve account as the Smith/Smola/Bearden were against anything resembling basic accounting)and an upcoming shortfall of around 15million or more next year?

The above to me screams of fiscal mismanagement and everyone is going to suffer due to it.

Larry Sussberg
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Nuk_1

Can you identify where and how FCBOE gets to the $15 million operating shortfall?
And what % of the liabilities are contributing to that shortfall?

NUK_1
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Larry

http://www.thecitizen.com/articles/06-06-2012/fayette-boe-splits-3-2-budget

Here is the audited financial report from 2011...2012 hasn't been posted online:
http://www.fcboe.org/files/finance/2011cafr.pdf

Quallacherokee
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Opusman

: ) You can't be serious, Throwing money at problems ALWAYS solves the problem
Just like every one knows Money Can buy Happiness, and not having money is the root of all evil....

Husband and Fat...
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Thank you

I will have to print this out and compare a few differnt counties to start this comparison. This will take some time. However, I think we need to dig deeper.

NeilSullivan
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Husband and Father Comparisons

We will have 10 year comparison on www.yesfayetteesplost.org by Friday. Putting up

State as a whole.

Systems 10 -30k students

Metro ATL

It SHOULD by all in Excel if the Webmistress can do it. However, if you grab the sheet from the website, you can drop it into Excel is you use regular paste.

Take Care,

Neil

opusman
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You are Welcome

To any info I can provide...
Dougherty
Newton
Coweta
Columbia
Bibb
Douglas
are the closest to Fayette county in system size, and finance ( Coweta being the most similar).
Happy hunting!

NeilSullivan
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Opus - Comparisons

Hi Opusman

I use 10 - 30 k students for one view and Metro for another.

Systems 10 -30 k are:
Clarke County
Glynn County
Rockdale County
Troup County
Bibb County
Fayette County
Dougherty County
Douglas County
Bartow County
Catoosa County
Carroll County
Walton County
Houston County
Effingham County
Barrow County
Coweta County
Newton County
Hall County
Columbia County
Whitfield County
Paulding County

In total costs we are higher than the average 8538 v. 8389 d=150 unfav. However in Instruction per FTE we are higher 5839 v. 5704 d= 135 unfav which is 90% of our difference.

Take Care,

Neil

opusman
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Neil ... Real comparisons

Try to focus Neil.
Apples to apples .. Not apples to oranges as you propose.
We had this discussion per your last Splost .. foray... Try and make an apples to apples comparison. 28,606 systems to compare to Fayette roughly 21,290 ! (11,864 to 21,290 also pitiful) Neil you are still weak in your rationale. Once again I am not for or against your splost. I'm here for factual comparisons.

Bye the bye...Coweta is the most similar system to Fayette (demographically ,financially and student population) and works with roughly 10 million LESS revenue. Yet all their High Schools are above national average on testing. (Not so in big Fayette) Coweta has a reserve and are building new schools...also no furlough days ,RIF etc. For a Finance guy your numbers / comparisons are weak.

Newton 18,950 students… Revenue=154,963,024.84

Coweta 22,004 students… Revenues=183,330,999.47

Columbia 23,429 students… Revenues=185,045,572.09

Bibb 24,242 students… Revenues=224,674,534.03

Douglas 24,661 students… Revenues=199,932,278.45

Fayette 21,190 students… Revenue=193,936,493.03

Fiscal responsibility is the key!
(Something Fayette county has been sorely lacking)

http://app3.doe.k12.ga.us/ows-bin/owa/fin_pack_revenue.entry_form

Now everyone can go to the link I provided and get the actual expense and revenue numbers along with FTE for COMPARABLE systems.
Just remember averages are for hiding and distorting fact!
Happy hunting!

G35 Dude
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Cost per student

I'm not at all surprised that our cost per student is below the state average. It's a known fact that Fayette County is one of the lowest paying in the metro Atlanta area. And I guess you could argue that is a good thing at this point in time. I also know that you want us to forget the unneeded land and schools that wasted millions because that was the old board. But if you want to claim cost per student as evidence that the old board didn't waste our tax money I'm afraid that I have to call you on that one.

Quallacherokee
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$ per Student

I should know this, and with a little research I could figure it out, but...
1) since the esplost isn't to be spent of salaries(etc) is esplost calculated into this $er student?
2) Are building cost of new schools calculated?
3) Are the expenses of security (paying "school resource officers")
4) Are Sports programs calculated?

NeilSullivan
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Quallacherokee - $ per student

Hope you are well some quick answers.

1) no. It would be an interesting study. Looking for state certified data.

2) Fayette County has not used ESPLOST to build new buildings. Bonds were used for Inman and Rivers. Fulton has used ESPLOST for buildings others as well. Not too much data mining as this as we do not need more buildings

3) Payments for resource officers are in the operating budget. I understand (but cannot personally verify) they are in the school admin per FTE.

4 ) System costs for sports are in cost per student.

Take Care.

Quallacherokee
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Neil,

Thank You !
and for what it;s worth, NO I aint THAT stupid whne dealing with
Cost per student,,,
The Dollars Fayette count doesn't mean the same dollars are counted ins Peach County, or Fulton, or Cobb, or Washington...
Comparing dollars in Ga is a FOOLS comparison, I state this for ONE simple reason, "if ya have the best schools in the WORSE state school system"
exactly what are ya Bragging about????

Fayette County is about US and OUR needs/children looking elsewhere is simply a Politicians mis-direction and foolery.

WHEN Fayette County Schools are THE school system sought out by citizens of other states, THEN talk to me about $ short falls,, until then,,,,BITE ME
and count me as a NO vote

NUK_1
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Neil Sullivan: Aren't u a big Smith/Smola backer?

The two architects of complete stupidity that caused most of the financial disaster? Sorry, no soup for you or the BOE.

Quallacherokee
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Esplost

Mr Neil,
Respectfully, you may count on my household (3 voters) all voting NO
and yes I'm (we) are a THEM, and this THEM wants to see fiscal responsibility from the THEM's put in a position of trust. Hard decisions must be made, these decisions are going to require Courage, it's this Courage I demand evidence of before I support continuing with a currently ill conceived tax.

Courage to evaluate NOT continuing with "yesteryears" protocols and methods. Courage to innovate, Courage to tell employees "time are tough all over, and for now there is a pay freeze, with possible layoffs and position modifications.

It requires little to no Honest Courage to tell people "oh look the sky is falling, if we all chip in we can stop it from falling", There is little Courage in using Fear and sympathy to separate citizens from their hard earned rewards of being good citizens.

The people of Fayette County are I believe a generous lot, but that generosity does have a finite limit. All I can suggest and ask for from the BOE and other "YES" voters is this, Let's not reward cowardly behavior, instead let's wait as we DO have time and ensure the BOE and others are going to demonstrate courage, once this is accomplished, Heck yeah ! let's reward THAT.

tonto707
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estimated ESplost will generate

as much as $107,000,000.00 and debt retirement is limited to $10,000,000.00, leaving ninety seven million dollars to be blown on what?

PTC Observer
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tonto707

well, an expansion of Rivers Elementary, what else?

Once they get the money, they can mismanage it.

Here's what I want, I want accountability, I want proof of performance, I want to see results. If we get them, I am voting for the ESPLOST in 2013.

So, FBOE let's get this system in balance. Do what is necessary to put our house in order and get results with the money you have coming into you. If you want more, then raise our property taxes at your own political peril, but do something and show us a backbone.

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