How pleasing to see the Herald's reporting Tuesday, June 15th of the Bulloch County Board of Education's intention to attempt to raise Bulloch County property taxes. In light of the fact that the Board does not publish the minutes of its meetings online on a regular basis, it was beneficial for the citizens of the county to see how the Board views the property owners of the County.
I know I shouldn't criticize the Board for its lack of financial transparency, but if one of our local publicly-held companies was as secretive and uncommunicative about its finances as our Board seems to be, then every hotel room in 50 miles would be filled with investigators, auditors, and regulators digging through company records to see if the investors were properly protected, or if the investor's money was inappropriately used, or if the company executives were improperly compensated.
Now that I think of it, perhaps there is a need for outside auditors to examine the Board's actions as they relate to the ESPLOST revenues and expenditures for the years 2006-2008. Perhaps we should also look at how many assistant superintendents, assistants to the assistant superintendents, and so forth, that the Board employs before determining there is need to raise our property taxes.
And let's not forget the Board's waste of money and resources in their failed lawsuit against the Charter Schools. And exactly what purpose did it serve?
While the tax amount discussed publicly seems rather small, I believe it will be a precursor for larger and more punitive tax increases down the road, probably sooner than later. And don't forget that politicians and bureaucrats are masters at tickling our ears while picking our pockets. A small tax increase always leads to other tax increases, small and large. A tax increase is a tax increase.
It's time for the Board to quit "grading" themselves by comparing our tax rates to other Georgia counties. I don't live in other counties; I live here. The taxpayers in those other counties may be represented by fools, or may be fools themselves. I don't think that's the case in Bulloch County.
It's also time for the Board to quit blaming the taxpayers for the budget woes it created for itself, and quit trying to balance the budget on the backs of teachers and support staff. Great military leaders would not cut their front-line troops in order to serve caviar and champagne at headquarters.
And finally, it's time for a change in administration. The Board entered into agreements with the superintendent and other officers of the school system without any public input or comment. It was one of those "Executive Session" deals that the taxpayers knew nothing about until long after the ink was dry on the contracts. A change in administration will restore a semblance of confidence and purpose in the county's classrooms. It will also go a long way in removing the anxiety that many of our teachers, principals, and support staff may feel regarding this administration.
According to an editorial in the Herald on Wednesday, June 16, test scores are up across the state. This is in light of the fact that revenues for school systems have been declining for the last two or so years. So I guess we could say that money is not the answer to our education deficiencies.
I've read in past articles in the Herald that some of our Board members have felt intimidated when faced with criticism from various citizen's and citizen's groups. I hope that's not the case here. Heaven forbid that a politician or bureaucrat feel intimidated by a lowly, barely literate taxpayer like me.