I haven't stopped laughing since the Bulloch Board of Education announced its intention to raise the property millage rates on our homes, businesses, tools, and vehicles.
We have families and business owners who are hanging on to their property by the slimmest of threads while economizing in every way and yet the Board and administration can't seem to do the same. The number of mortgage and loan defaults in this county is staggering, not to mention declining property values, but it seems the Board and the Central Office administration have segregated and insulated themselves from this reality.
Consider these points, if you will:
While the Board and administration claim they have been looking for ways to cut wasteful expenditures, they stubbornly pursued the lawsuit against the state's charter schools and lost. Do we know the price of that wild adventure yet?
While the Board and administration were willing to challenge the legality of the charter schools, have they ever raised objections, legal or otherwise, to the state and federal "mandates" that the local property owners have to fund through their tax dollars?
How many unnecessary and unproductive positions have been eliminated at the Central Office? While we hear of position cuts in the individual schools, how often do you hear about cuts at headquarters? It would seem that multiple assistant superintendent and staff positions, duplicative clerical positions, and maybe even the public relations position could be eliminated to free up some dough.
Someone commented to me the other day that since they don't own the dwelling they live in, they don't have to worry about property taxes. The truth is, every land parcel and structure, as well as our vehicles, work tools, and other personal property listed on the County digest and not owned by a local, state, or federal entity is taxed by the Board of Education. And just because you rent doesn't mean that you don't pay taxes on the structure. It's calculated into your monthly rent. If the property owner's tax liability increases, so will your rent. So renters have a stake in this game, not just those "rich old property owners".
The Board seems to be under the influence of the current management team and CEO. In the real world, the CEO serves at the pleasure and for the purposes of the Board of Directors. The CEO is charged with maintaining the integrity and profitability of the organization while holding down costs and liabilities. If the CEO cannot or will not adhere to these standards, then he or she should be removed and replaced by an individual with views more in line with the wishes of the Board and its constituents.
It is time to emphatically say "No!" to any tax increase. There is a reserve fund that can be utilized for this shortfall; in the meantime, keep reducing expenses.
The Board seems to have been "who-dooed" by the current management team into believing that every program and education theory has to be kept afloat, even though the returns on investment are dubious at the least.
If the Board is allowed to increase our property taxes by even a small amount this year, then next year they'll be back for more. Politicians, bureaucrats, and taxes are like weeds; if they're not pulled and cut, then they proliferate and choke out what would be an otherwise pretty garden.
It would help if you would let your Board representative know your thoughts about this issue.
But I don't think you can do it within the controlled environment of the Board hearings and meetings. Phone calls, letters, and emails work wonders.