Walton parents want more SPLOST money
by Lindsay Field
September 21, 2012 01:28 AM | 4594 views | 14 14 comments | 11 11 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Alan Abrams talks about the marching band and color guard's recent awards and their need for upgraded facilities before asking CCSD Board Chair Scott Sweeney a question during Sweeney's town hall that was conducted at Walton High School on Thursday. <br> Photo by Jon-Michael Sullivan
Alan Abrams talks about the marching band and color guard's recent awards and their need for upgraded facilities before asking CCSD Board Chair Scott Sweeney a question during Sweeney's town hall that was conducted at Walton High School on Thursday.
Photo by Jon-Michael Sullivan
slideshow
Sweeney answers questions during his town hall at Walton High School on Thursday. <br> Photo by Jon-Michael Sullivan
Sweeney answers questions during his town hall at Walton High School on Thursday.
Photo by Jon-Michael Sullivan
slideshow
MARIETTA — Walton High School parents told Cobb school board chair Scott Sweeney that their school deserves a bigger portion of the money on the proposed SPLOST IV project list at a Thursday night town hall.

Sweeney conducted the meeting to get feedback about projects in the fourth SPLOST notebook. According to the district, the 1 percent sales tax could bring in $717.8 million between Jan. 1, 2014, and Dec. 31, 2018. Walton is slated to receive $13.9 million of that to build a main gymnasium and choral and orchestra rooms, compared to $19.3 million for Pope and $19.5 million for Harrison. Both of those schools would get a theater and gym.

Sweeney talked about SPLOST for nearly two hours, explaining what it is, how funds are collected, how the notebook was created and the biggest projects in it, including two career academies, a new Osborne High School and three elementary schools.

Sweeney said the current notebook, which can be found on the district’s website, is just a draft.

“It’s critically important that people like yourselves — obviously you’re interested — take a look at what’s going on here and make your opinions known,” he said, adding that he’s checking with district personnel about how residents can voice their opinions.

The comments from the audience that drew the most applause were those arguing for more funds for Walton.

“If you travel this school system and you go to the north and the south and the west … we aren’t looking as good as they are,” one parent said. “They have many things that we don’t have for a school that brings great prestige to this county, for a school that has accolades for just about anything that they do. We shouldn’t go to other schools in the county and say, ‘Oh wow, Walton looks like a pit compared to this school.’ … It’s not right that your highest scoring and most-capable high school is not on the top of your list.”

Another parent said Walton families would not vote for a SPLOST “where we keep passing funding over to other folks when this school contributes so much to this neighborhood.”

Other audience members echoed his comment.

“That’s a message that you as our advocate, our post member, need to take back to the board,” another attendee said. “People are not going to go back and vote again and again, just to be abused.”

Sweeney said the comments were “spot on.”

“I’ve made those specific concerns to (Superintendent) Dr. Michael Hinojosa and to (Deputy Superintendent of Operations) Chris Ragsdale, and I will continue to make those things known, and I encourage you to do the same thing,” he said.

Another attendee, who said she teaches in the east Cobb area, said Walton families have born the cost of improvements at the school.

“We did a lot of fundraising,” she said. “The parents can’t do it anymore. Walton now has parents and families that can’t even afford to put food on their table, so now it’s time for the county to step up and cover what the parents have been covering for years.”

One parent asked what is considered when determining how much each school is allocated from the collections and wanted to know why Pope and Harrison high schools were getting more than Walton.

Sweeney said he could not answer that question because he just received the notebook last week but that he would talk to the district staff about how the allocations are determined.

“It’s about delivering the best to as many schools as possible,” he said.

The board is expected to vote on the notebook of projects in November or December, and residents will vote on the sale tax in March 2013.

The most recent SPLOST, which was approved in September 2008, will run through Dec. 31, 2013. If voters approve SPLOST IV, it would begin Jan. 1, 2014, and run through Dec. 31, 2018.

The last 30 minutes of the meeting was spent on Sweeney’s brief discussion about the calendar.

A 21-member committee recently finished up three meetings in August and made four separate recommendations to Hinojosa.

Sweeney, who said he does not favor an Aug. 1 start date, said utility costs, enrollment, attendance and test scores are not affected by when students are in school.

Hinojosa’s recommendation to the board for a vote on the 2013-14 and 2014-15 school year calendars should come sometime in October.
Comments
(14)
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Walton alum
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September 25, 2012
This is not a surprise to anyone that has gone to Walton. The county for years has stiffed schools like Walton under the guise that "oh they can pay out of their pocket because they live in East Cobb." Go visit the school and you'll see how shockingly run down the facilities are. For years before the expansion in fact, Walton was one of the few high schools left in the county to still have trailers (over 20 of them!).

The next SPLOST needs to include a requirement that EVERY school receive the same share of the funds vs. whatever non-transparent approach the school board is using now.
anonymous
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September 25, 2012
While a noble request, that's unrealistic.

For example, take a brand new school such as East Side Elementary. Your suggestion that that school should receive as much in funds as Walton needs for its improvements is wrong.

What about schools having larger enrollments than others? Should they receive the same or greater funding?

Walton neighbor
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September 24, 2012
Walton does not need to get any largr.

They need to educate their students to respect others. Both personel and property.

Also, they need to respect the community by being quiter with games that sound loud and have the noise quite by 9:00 pm which is bed time for most of the residences. The loud noise is agaist the ordence. Also, speeds are excessive in the area and have been observed by students and adults.

This has to stop. We don't need the SPOSH funds to help the schools. We need to ensure respect and drug free school for our young people.

weknowwhoyouare
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September 25, 2012
Good grief, 'Walton neighbor', learn how to spell. You are obviously the moron who bought a house right next door to the school up by the press box and then complains and harasses everyone while holding your 'Red Solo Cup!!'' We all know what's in that cup and by your horrible grammar, you've started early today. You yell at adults and children and make everyone miserable that you come in contact. Why on earth did you buy that house in the first place?

It's apparent you didn't attend Walton as you'd know how to write. Why don't you do everyone a favor and put a 'For Sale' sign in your yard and move. 9:00 pm and it should be 'quiter' because of an 'ordence.' and we don't need 'SPOSH' funds?
anonymous
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September 23, 2012
Why is this story off the main local page? Who is upset that Sweeney put himself in such a negative light?
VFP42
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September 21, 2012
Walton parents want more of our tax money. What a bunch of welfare queens we have over in East Cobb. Y'all are voting Obama right? Maybe He will pave you some more lanes for your Roads Everywhere too, if you ask real nice!!!
Grandson of Flubber
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September 21, 2012
"Walton High School parents told Cobb school board chair Scott Sweeney that their school deserves a bigger portion of the money on the proposed SPLOST IV project list" and I want a meaningful relationship with Paris Hilton. Let's see who gets what they want first.

G. Flubber III
TCW(TheCobbWay)
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September 21, 2012
Put the money where it does the most good not where it will be wasted.

Make your own conclusions about what that means.
StefLG
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September 21, 2012
So, only getting $13.9 million for your school is abusive? This is why it's hard to take these issues seriously. Gross exaggeration is rarely persuasive to reasonable people.
Kennesaw Resident
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September 21, 2012
I really hope that this SPLOST doesn't pass.
twandsari
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September 21, 2012
Did anyone ask Sweeney why he voted NO for the censuring of Banks? Could it be that the board just wants to move on to try now and get this splost passed and put everything they can on this list? Yeah, we really need two brand new "career academies"... can't we use existing buildings or schools with low enrollment? This school board spending is out of control...and the board members who ignore improper behavior, turn their backs on constituents and trade votes are not any better. Charter schools are now on the horizon for good reason, people see the mismanagement in public schools and hope for much better.
anonymous
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September 21, 2012
I certainly hope the Walton Community will hold Mr. Sweeney to his promises.... there are so many he has broken since becoming board chair. Allowing Mr. Banks to point blank state he would ignore all board policies takes the cake. How will Mr. Sweeney handle the fact that the committee came up with only one option, an early August start date? Will he take leadership in creating a compromise calendar which the committee was supposed to do? Will he allow the other schools in his community and the rest of the district to follow Walton's lead to a traditional schedule? Block scheduling is hurting our students!
necobbmom
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September 21, 2012
Oh here we go...they got this, so we want that... this is what SPLOST has now encouraged...who can build better, bigger and who gets artificial turf on practice fields. I for one, took a look at the splost list and found riduculous items that are on it that should be covered by the budget. The board will continue to spend "OUR" tax dollars on irrelevant things as long as we let them. I understand that "passing the splost" is high on their priority list, and the MDJ will feed into it with articles just like they did with the TPLOST. Time for people to wake up...
Crack2
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September 21, 2012
necobbmom....you have to understand, SPLOST is crack cocaine to politicians and parents.
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