There are many forms of harmful addiction: drugs, alcohol, food, television. Some people are even addicted to diet and fitness training, of all things. Education bureaucrats can become addicted to vainly spending tax dollars on failed education policies and staff positions. Like most addicts, they try to hide the effects of their addiction by keeping what they spend cloaked in secrecy, or if they have to reveal their spending, it's done in such a way that the average (or below average, like me) citizen is not sure of what exactly has transpired.
Land deals, employee contracts, litigation costs, and other expenditures are kept away from the prying eyes of the uninitiated and ignorant masses.
Ill-conceived, poorly executed & failed programs are funded year after year because the Board of Education administrators don't want to face the wrath of the school system employees, be criticized by the education mob for not supporting education "progress", or simply because the taxpayers don't know or don't care. Our Board of Education doesn't like to be questioned about its possible addiction.
Our Board of Education has become too big to question. Think about it: the Bulloch Board of Education is the second largest employer in Bulloch County, right behind Georgia Southern University.
Let's break this down using the housing market as an example:
Board of Education employees have steady paychecks. This means they can qualify for home mortgages or refinancing. So the architects, builders, tradesmen, building suppliers, real estate agents, appraisers, lawyers, bankers, mortgage companies, Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, county and city administrators are all obligated to swear allegiance to this flow of cash. Even if it means that the property taxes of these diverse professionals increase, they're not going to raise objections because their livelihoods are dependent on the paychecks of the Board of Education employees. The rest of us be hanged.
The housing industry is just one example; there are numerous other businesses in our community benefitting from these taxpayer generated funds. This newspaper even has ties to the Board of Education because of the advertising and public relations articles supplied by the Board's Public Relations Specialist. I call this the "Principle of Unintended Collusion".
In and of itself, there is nothing wrong with business transactions of the type described above. It's when the aforementioned recipients of direct and indirect Board of Education largess are blinded, intimidated, or manipulated into acquiescing to the demands of Board of Education tax increases because of financial gain, or lack thereof.
One of the issues here is that the Board of Education has raised everyone's property taxes and no one wants to speak up about it because it might be deemed offensive and cause economic loss to their businesses. There are just too many segments of the local economy dependent on the Board of Education's largess. Another issue is that as the economy remains stagnant with little or no growth and unemployment possibly increases past ten per cent, sales tax revenue will continue to drop. There could be even less sales tax money coming back to us from the State level than this year. This means that the Board of Education has 2 choices: cut salaries, positions and unnecessary expenditures (which they seem to be unwilling to do) or raise property taxes again. Which do you think they'll do?
The Board's argument when they raised taxes this summer was that it was only by a "small amount". The danger of this argument is that if they got away with a "small amount" this year with very little political upheaval, next year they'll do it again. This time the increase will be larger, but with nothing to show for it. Pretty soon we'll be called Chatham County's sister.
Someone said in a Wall Street Journal editorial letter October 19th that "the number of bad teachers is small; but the number of bad administrators is very large". This could very well explain why our schools are failing and our taxes are increasing.
It's time to get help for the spending addicts within the school system. It's time to relieve the administration of the temptation to spend other people's money without providing an equitable benefit. It's time to clean house of those individuals who think themselves above question. Perhaps Candler County would be willing to employ them. The drive is not that far.