15, 2006

How much will the school board raise your taxes?

School Superintendents all over the State have been complaining for months about the cuts in Education from the State and how those cuts will affect the local schools. Jasper County residents haven’t heard a peep out of the School Superintendent or the School Board.

Butts County Board of Education just raised their revenues with a 7% tax hike. Newton County BOE has raised theirs 4.8%. Many other counties either have or will follow suit. (A 2 mil increase will raise Jasper County property owner’s taxes by about 7%.)

Jasper County Schools have always been one of the sacred cows in our county. Citizens don’t dare complain about what goes on or how much taxes are raised. Usually the Commissioners get the blame for any tax increases. The School Board sets a budget and the property owners pick up the bill. Has there ever been a year that the School Budget doesn’t increase? Has there ever been a cut? The taxpayers not only pay for the operation of the schools, but also are paying a 1% sales tax to build a new school, and still have old bonds to pay off that are added to our tax bills.

The portion of your property tax bill that goes to the school system is around 55%. (If you live in the City of Monticello that percentage would be less because of the high taxes levied by the City, but the schools still would get over 50%.) Even though they can tax us at any amount they see fit, the School Board won’t hear your voice at any of their meetings unless you go through several “hoops” and are ALLOWED by the Superintendent to be put on the meeting agenda.

It is time the School Board had a more “open government” policy. Citizens should be allowed to address the Board. There should be time for public comment at every School Board meeting –work session and regular meeting.

Qualifying for School Board seats in Districts 1, 3, and 5 start on June 26, 2006 and end June 30, 2006. Three new members could be possible if citizens would get involved and run for these positions. The 3 current members for Districts 1, 3, and 5 do not have children in the Jasper County School System. Citizens we have talked to feel these members are out of touch with what goes on. New blood can bring fresh, new ideas. If you know someone who is willing to get involved and run for a school board seat, please encourage him or her. Voting will be July 18, 2006.

4-28-06 State Mandates causes budget pressures in Jackson County
The Jackson Herald

4-24-06 State mandates causing money crunch for Bibb Schools
The Macon Telegraph

4-16-05 Gwinnett BOE criticizes state mandated education policies
The Gwinnett Daily Post

5-2-06 Hall County Board of Education struggles with taxes and state mandates
The Gainesville Times

5-12-06 School funding and state mandates are a mess in Georgia
Another Voice From Oconee County


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** We advocate more open government, less government spending, and lower property taxes.

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