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If you want taxpayers to look at the "big picture", don't pick and choose. I believe the purchase order documents over $2000, which are publicly available, give an indication that many additional millions of taxpayer money was spent on renovations, "decorating", furnishing, and equipping the ISC during that time period. Also, should not the additional salaries and benefits for the other non-teaching ISC staff be considered in the cost? Also, as for the 3 elementary schools, what about funds from ESPLOST II and the 2006 increase in taxes (I believe there was a 2005 finding that GCPS had overtaxed because of "miscalculations"). It seems clear that GCPS knows that taxpayers, for the most part, willingly pay for education of their communities children. We pay in money, time, promotion, etc. But when we see our money spent on chamber salaries, coaches that make more than other teachers, self-"investigation", personal offices, etc. should we not expect proof of fiduciary duty from our elected representatives? My youngest just graduated from GCPS. In the last 15 years, I've seen the focus shift from the students and the local school to a completely unresponsive board that is based on cronyism. Class size increases, support staff decreases, and teacher furlough days all have meant less education for students. Look at the other central office buildings across the state and in true world class school districts across the country. We are at the top of the list for luxury accommodations for our superintendent (that are rather inaccessible to constituents that park at the bottom of the hill and walk up the staircases to the main desk) but not in educating our children. A little creative thinking would go a long way. How many billions of dollars could have been better spent?
GCPS salaries are public record. Last time I checked, it appeared that the AP and principal salaries seemed reasonable to me. What raised my blood pressure was how much more some of the high school coaches were paid (many are in ISS (In School Suspension)) compared to other teachers, principals and APs. Also, the chamber salaries, GCPS teacher "recruiters" and other "marketing" personnel are still be retained even when there are far more qualified applicants than GCPS can even interview much less hire. There are many true "education" staff at the ISC that are doing the work of several positions but receive the same or less compensation than 5 years ago.
If the administrative costs were cut to the state level, or even better the Cobb County level as was suggested by constituents the previous furlough years, there would be money to reduce class size to previous level AND eliminate furlough days.
Do you think maybe the school board did not want the two topics combined into one article? Maybe it's better that Increasing taxes is sent down the taxpayer throats with a spoon of sugar (Just $100 a year to support education!) instead of the soured cronyism of astronomical administrative costs, chamber salaries, and in this case a $73Million + $630,000 to "investigate" the alleged land deals for a property sold for $7 Million by the previous owners just one year prior to the original purchase.
In addition to the unanimous vote (0 dissenting votes in the past 5+ years!) to increase the millage rate, the board voted (unamimously) to buy back the ISC (main office) for $52 million. This is the same building that was bought in 2004 for $12.5M, Sold to "investors" for $17M in 2005, lease payments for the past 8-9 years of $26M.
GCPS buys back its headquarters
by Frank Reddy
I am quite angry - with our school board, not Mr. Lane (he does not have a doctorate) nor DHS. I don't believe he has any complaints with Duluth. So, being appointed to the "largest school in the state" is not a promotion?
Duluth constituents complain that no announcement was made at DHS. Neither PTSA officers nor local school council leaders were informed by GCPS or DHS, though PTSA funds are spent on the parent communications system (that GCPS uses for propaganda, lobbying, etc.). Apparently, word spread among staff and constituents when GCPS posted the announcement on facebook at 4:30 Friday afternoon. Because of the timing, there was no DHS nor GCPS personnel available for comment. Many feel that this is a promotion for Mr. Lane because he has shown he can "go along to get along" with Superintendent Wilbanks and Board Member Murphy. It is also seen by many as retaliation against Duluth constituents and city leaders for showing opposition to multiple controversial issues - unfair student reassignments, funding of Chamber of Commerce lobbyists, lack of transparancy/sunshine law violations, athletic recruitment/permissive transfer, teacher leave policy and procedures, land deals, school building locations, etc.
Agreed, but it doesn't look promising does it? Look at the members of the steering committee and their past "contributions" of our taxpayer $. Campaigning and Lobbying for SPLOST, incumbent school board members and paying their own out of the Gwinnett County Schools budget.
"I have always thought that any group of neighbors and friends who come together around a table will resolve political differences and find solutions more efficiently than any room full of career politicians." -Jen Falk, "In My Wildest Dreams" blog.
I love the new homepage at votejenfalk.com! Republicans for Jen Falk!
Last login: Thursday, June 20, 2013