The culprit? Deep, cumulative cuts in state spending, he said, that started back in 2003. The $9.01 million in cuts that year have ballooned to $72.17 million for fiscal 2013, he said. And, cumulatively speaking, they add up to $425.39 million in state money that the Cobb system didn’t get — even as enrollment grew from 98,819 in 2003 to 108,496 this year.
This year’s austerity cuts per Full Time Equivalent student come to $665, or a cumulative $3,921 over that period, he explained.
Worse, there probably are more such cuts to come from the state.
“This is ‘the new normal,’” said Hinojosa. “After ten years of it we need to quit complaining about it because it’s not going to change. I figure if the state gets any new money they’re either going to give it to transportation, health care or charter schools. I don’t think they’re going to give it to us. They haven’t in the last ten years. So we’ve got to find solutions with our own resources. After ten years austerity cuts are not going away, so we’ve got to find new ways to deal with this.”
HINOJOSA also boasted that the Cobb system has lower “overhead” costs than its local peers.
“We spend the least — $83 per student. The next closest is Fulton, and they spend double what we did ($181). And then Gwinnett spends three times what we do ($240). So everybody talks about ‘cut the Central Office.’ Well, there’s not many people there, I promise you. I’ve been in other systems where we had a lot of central office staff, but what we have is the legacy of prior administrations and prior boards to make sure you’re very lean.”
THE SUPERINTENDENT praised local voters for passing the recent Ed-SPLOST extension, and noted that only two of the largest school districts in the country are debt free, and that Cobb is one of them. (The other is the City of Memphis, he said.)
“It’s not because I did anything,” he added. “I just got here and inherited this wonderful situation.”
CHIEF DEPUTY Cobb Sheriff Lynda Coker, a mainstay of the department since 1986, will retire as of June 1. Coker was part of the early wave of women entering law enforcement and was appointed chief investigator in 1996 by then-Sheriff Bill Hutson. Current Sheriff Neil Warren promoted her to Chief Deputy in 2004.
“Lynda has served the citizens of Cobb County and the public safety community for many years and now has decided to spend time with her family and husband, Gene,” Warren told Around Town.
“When I appointed Lynda as my Chief Deputy, I wanted to surround myself with the best management team and people I could trust. Lynda has been a tremendous asset to our agency and her no-nonsense style of management is one of the reasons the Cobb County Sheriff’s Office is one of the most respected agencies in the state. I have always valued her friendship and support.”
Coker (R-east Cobb) also served three terms in the Georgia House of Representatives, starting in 1990.
POLITICS: Among those who shelled out at least $10,000 each to serve as “sponsors” at Sunday’s Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee fundraiser with President Barack Obama were former Gov. Roy Barnes and former U.S. Rep. Buddy Darden of Marietta.
The event took place at the Arthur M. Blank family office on Howell Mill Road in Atlanta. The event invitation suggested contributions of $10,000 per couple or $32,400 per person.
WORLD WAR II hero Dutch Van Kirk, who served as navigator on the “Enola Gay” on its fateful flight over Hiroshima and is the final surviving crewman of that B-29, will be signing copies of his book “My True Course” from 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Saturday at the Acworth Bookstore on Main Street and will present a talk about his book at 3:30 p.m., reports bookstore owner Guy Condra. …
The Enola Gay is now in the Smithsonian. A partially restored B-29 named “Sweet Eloise” is on display at the main gate to Dobbins Air Reserve Base in Marietta. And the last B-29 Superfortress still in flyable condition — named “Fifi” — is at Peachtree-DeKalb Airport through Wednesday of this week from 9 a.m.-6:30 p.m. each day. Admission is $10 per person and free for those under 18. There will be free cockpit tours with paid admission, and the plane will fly at 9 a.m. and 10:30 a.m. on Wednesday, courtesy of the Commemorative Air Force.
For more, go online to www.AirPowerTour.org. More than 600 B-29s were assembled during the war at the old Bell bomber plant in Marietta, now operated by Lockheed Martin.
RUNNING: Marietta Planning and Zoning Commissioner Jason Waters tells Around Town he plans to run for the Ward 2 seat on the Marietta School Board in this fall’s election. Waters, 37, is former chair of the Marietta Division of the Cobb Chamber and past president of the Leadership Cobb Alumni Association.
A native of Douglasville, he has lived in Marietta since graduating from UGA in 2001 with a finance degree. He is a commercial banker with SunTrust and lives in Lee’s Crossing subdivision with his wife Katie (a former teacher at Hickory Hills and A.L. Burruss elementaries) and their two young children.
His top priorities are supporting community schools, the city’s school choice program and dealing with the impact of the city’s redevelopment initiatives.
“That is, how can we support it and how can we actively manage it when it potentially will cause changes in the city’s tax base and in the number of children in the system?” he said.
And as for the city’s popular choice program, Waters adds, “We can have strong neighborhood schools and choice programs. These are not mutually exclusive choices.”
COBB Solicitor General Barry Morgan has been elected vice president of the Georgia Association of Solicitors General, putting him in line to serve as president next year.
MARIETTA ATTORNEY Clem Doyle of Gregory, Doyle, Calhoun & Rogers LLC was inducted into the Athens Hall of Fame Monday at a banquet in Athens.
Doyle was the leading receiver on Clarke Central’s 1990 football State Runner-Up team. His end zone catch in Valdosta, which was ruled out-of-bounds, is a controversy which still stings Athenians some 23 years later.
Doyle’s coach was the legendary Billy Henderson, and Marietta banker Chad Whittemore of Keyworth Bank was the quarterback who threw Doyle the pass. Doyle also played on Princeton’s 1992 Ivy League Championship team.
These days Doyle is better known as attorney for the Cobb County School District.
SICK BAY: Financial planner and longtime Boys & Girls Club board member Jamie Vann of Marietta is recovering at home from head injuries suffered when his car was rear-ended by a dump truck and knocked into a tree.
DON’T FORGET Thursday’s 3 p.m. dedication ceremony for Joe Mack Wilson Park at 190 Roswell St. in downtown Marietta. Wilson served as Marietta mayor from 1989-93 and before that had a long career in the state Legislature. Speaker for the event (which is sponsored by the Business & Public Affairs Committee of The Marietta Kiwanis Club) will be former Gov. Roy Barnes.