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Local group opposes SPLOST

SUWANEE -- A local woman told school board members at Thursday's meeting she planned to vote 'no' on an upcoming extension of the 1-cent education sales tax.

Laura Vladick talked on behalf of a group that showed up at the month's regular business meeting to speak their piece on the upcoming special purpose local option sales tax. Among other things, Vladick said there was "a lack of transparency of information."

At least one Gwinnett County Public Schools official, however, called the remarks "puzzling.

"In order to do this, we have to lay out everything we're going to do," Board Chairman Robert McClure said.Vladick and McClure went back and forth regarding the upcoming vote on the education SPLOST IV.

Voters will decide Nov. 8 whether to continue a penny-tax that's funded additions and renovations to schools as well as technology and transportation three times running.

The current one-cent sales tax for education expires on June 30. If approved, SPLOST IV would collect from July 1 through June 30, 2017. In total, the tax could collect $876 million.

During the past three iterations of SPLOST, voters have approved the tax by 60- and 70-percent, allowing public schools to collect hundreds of millions of earmarked dollars.

At Thursday's meeting, Vladick said she was concerned that the list of earmarked projects wasn't binding, "meaning it won't change."

McClure responded that the law "is crystal clear on what we can and cannot do. I know of no other tax in my lifetime where an elected official has to give the taxpayers a list like this one ... I don't know how we could be more transparent about this."

Board member Mary Kay Murphy said she hoped to meet with members of Vladick's organization at some point to discuss the upcoming SPLOST.

"Transparency works both ways," Murphy said. "I hope we can work together on this."

Comments

LarryMajor 2 years, 5 months ago

At the risk of affecting the Earth’s orbit, I’m going to publicly agree with Dr. McClure.

It is indeed puzzling how literate adults could be so completely uninformed. When you look through the comments on the previous SPLOST article, you’ll notice half the posters confuse the Board of Education with the Board of Commissioners. Some comments reference state level issues that have no connection to any local issue, let alone a SPLOST referendum. Now we have an entire advocacy group that, after 15 years, doesn’t know the basics of the law and somehow missed volumes of documentation on how it affected our school system.

Folks, is really isn’t all THAT hard to click a few links and be informed (the GCPS web site would be a good start to preview what will be on the ballot). If you simply must comment on things you don’t understand, at least do the rest of us a favor and don’t vote on them.

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OutofMoney 2 years, 5 months ago

This board has never been transparent with anything they do. They say one thing and do another. It is just a play on words. He might not be telling a lie about what the ESPLOST money will be used for, but all that does is allows the board to move money around to do things that the public never gets a say in. I stick a statement I made in another blog. Cut at the top (ISC) as well as other levels throughout the county and I bet the millions they say they need will be found there. This board continues to cut mostly where it will impact the kids and not where it is needed. Please take a look Mr. McClure at the salaries in this county. Look at how many job titles you have approved well over 100K per year and tell us what they do to educate our children. Wilbanks, take a look in the mirror.

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Gwinnettisgreat 2 years, 5 months ago

Every detail on how the SPLOST money has been used is audited and posted. Paste any of these links in your browser. Personally, I want more businesses and jobs to come here. They come because our children are well educated. Thank goodness.

GCPS Stewardship Report

SPLOST III (Year I) Audit Report FY2008

SPLOST III (Year II) Audit Report FY2009

SPLOST III (Year III) Audit Report FY2010

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NewsReader 2 years, 5 months ago

Larry, if it is puzzling to you how so called literate adults could be so completely uninformed, then I submit to you that you aren’t paying attention. Just look at the results of the last few elections, and it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to see just how [il]literate the voter population is. I don’t think people are necessarily confusing the Board of Education with the Board of Commissioners though. I think they, for the most part, are connecting the dots on what appears to be common denominators by which the two entities operate in a very similar fashion (i.e. transparency, ethics violations, etc.). Do you really trust everything you read from GCPS? I don’t see searching for information from the GCPS website any better or worse than information collected elsewhere ~ like Pravda. I’ll review all available information and decide for myself. We’ll both agree on one thing though ~ “…you don’t understand, at least do the rest of us a favor and don’t vote on them.” Amen to that!

And Gwinnettisgreat, please give us your definition of “well educated” children.

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BuzzG 2 years, 5 months ago

It is never enough. Once they get this money, they'll quickly be back to the trough for more. Great education in Gwinnett is a myth. It is a black hole into which we pour money and out comes young adults who, upon entering college, must immediately be sent through remedial English and remedial math. The answer is not more money. The answer is a voucher system where we can send our kids to the best schools available, not be forced to send them to the schools the government demands. Enough!

Power to the people.

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Homeschooler 2 years, 5 months ago

I'm not Gwinnettisgreat, but my definition of "well educated" children would be the homeschooled children who never set foot in government schools.

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jenelaw 2 years, 5 months ago

It is puzzling to me that the voters of this county feel that Gwinnett County Public Schools has not been good stewards of the money entrusted to them by the taxpayers. Gwinnett has the best school system in the state and one of the best in the nation. Gwinnett won the Broad Prize for urban education because it has had the money to do the things necessary for students and teachers to excel. It is the most prestigious prize in public education. What more do you want from your school system? They have been audited and even reviewed by a special commission and no impropriety has been found. I would like for some of you in opposition to give specific examples of when the board has said they would do one thing and then done another. When has money been earmarked for one thing and then used for another? What ethics violations have occurred and by whose standards? We are throwing around all these accusations, but in my world...you need examples. If SPLOST is not passed, then Gwinnett will take a BIG step back in the technology relm of education and the ones who will suffer for that are the students. If there is fat in the system's budget that can be cut...it certainly isn't 876 million dollars worth of fat. I am not willing to wager the education of Gwinnett county's students on the misgivings of a small group of people without some very specific examples of wrong doing and I would encourage others not to wager either.

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OutofMoney 2 years, 5 months ago

jenelaw- you must work in the ISC building

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ssilover1 2 years, 5 months ago

Just because a person agrees with SPLOST does not mean they work for the BOE. And one of these bloggers always blows off negative about the schools, so those comments are worthless anyway. I find it appauling that people don't really investigate the facts. GPCS provides a lot of auditted information for anyone who really wants the truth of the spending of the penny sales tax. Just get it. The building and improvement programs are run so well that at times, an extra school comes out of the extremely well stewarded funds. I guess no one remembers the expose article done by the AJC or WSB several years ago that revealed how GCPS per square foot building cost was well below the metro avg. And look at how well kept the buildings are....who could not help but be proud of what our kids have for schools? But also, keep in mind the SPLOST is going to have improvements for schools in TECHNOLOGY and that cannot be put on the back burner.

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kevin 2 years, 5 months ago

I will vote NO also. This haphazard development is what has gotten us in this position with roads and services. The more you build, the more you have to staff with public workers, pensions, raises, and maintenance. The tax breaks given to companies is at the expense of all the citizens. It is time we all take a break from SPLOST funds for the next four years until the economy turns around, especially for the folks without jobs and who lost their homes. Of course lets not forget, many lost those homes because of the Federal government approving loans they couldn't really afford. Ask Barney Frank about that one.

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ssilover1 2 years, 5 months ago

Kevin, You are confused. The SPLOST on Nov 8 is for schools and school technology. This is NOT the transportation SPLOST,

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jenelaw 2 years, 5 months ago

OutofMoney...I do not work for the ISC and you still have given no examples of anything. Just because someone wants to defend the school system does not mean they work at the ISC. In the real world you cannot convict a company without evidence.

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lerwin 2 years, 5 months ago

On, Tuesday, November 8, I will vote NO for E-Splost because of IE2.....for it IS really about the children! The goals that GCPS have set for our children through the IE2 contracts are discriminatory and frankly appalling....but for you to find any of this out you need to look for yourself to media outside of Gwinnett. Take the time to investigate for yourself, don't just read the local newspapers who share only one side. If I can’t trust GCPS to care about my student’s achievements, then I can’t trust them with my money. I will continue to support my school through the PTA for projects that truly help raise student achievement. Read this link and then vote NO with me! That is, if you really care about the children. http://www.wsbtv.com/news/news/feds-investigate-civil-rights-claim-against-gwinne/nFSPk/

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