Chair Randy Scamihorn: Cobb County school system is broke
by Hannah Morgan
December 04, 2013 11:26 PM | 19171 views | 64 64 comments | 29 29 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Parents from around the county listen as Superintendent Michael Hinojosa and school board members detail next year’s anticipated budget shortfall. Hinojosa and board members asked parents to contact their legislators and demand more money for the school system. <br> Staff/Hannah Morgan
Parents from around the county listen as Superintendent Michael Hinojosa and school board members detail next year’s anticipated budget shortfall. Hinojosa and board members asked parents to contact their legislators and demand more money for the school system.
Staff/Hannah Morgan
slideshow
Cobb school board member Scott Sweeney called on parents at a Wednesday town hall meeting to deprive Gov. Nathan Deal of another term in office if he doesn’t give the school system more money. 

“Gov. Deal needs to feel uncomfortable,” Sweeney said to about 100 parents gathered at East Side Elementary School. “He needs to think the people of Cobb County will not support him unless he writes in additional funding for education. It’s a fight for dollars.”

Board Chairman Randy Scamihorn and member David Banks, who were also at the meeting, agreed with Sweeney.

“The second largest school system in the state of Georgia is broke. That’s alarming,” Scamihorn said. 

Instead of pointing fingers at the board members for failing to balance the budget, Sweeney told parents they should be on their phones with their elected officials, asking for state funding. 

Sweeney said if constituents make enough of a stink in the coming year — an election year — the district might see some of those funds this year. 

Superintendent Michael Hinojosa is projecting a $79 million shortfall for the 2014-15 school year, which begins in July.

Reserves, teacher furloughs, staff cuts?

The district has a reserve fund of about $75 million, said Brad Johnson, the district’s chief financial officer. Johnson said dipping into the fund again would be less than optimal, as he would like the district to maintain at least enough money in the fund to run the school district for a month, $71 million. 

“We keep using one-time sources for solutions to recurring problems,” Johnson said. 

Other options the board has to reduce the budget shortfall are to increase furlough days or cut teaching staff, which would increase class sizes. Both options, Hinojosa said, are bad decisions to make, but might be necessary to balance the budget this year. 

Each furlough day saves the district about $3 million, Hinojosa said, but reduces the time students are in the classroom. 

He did not address the possibility of cutting staff at the central office.

The state has offered the district less money each year since 2003, shorting the school district a total of about $500 million, Johnson claims. 

Two years ago, the state withheld $72 million, and this year it has withheld $66 million, he said. 

Board members say if the district can get that money from the state, they would be able to cover most of their expected shortfall for next year. 

Parents agree to tax hike 

Banks has been advocating for a change to the Georgia Constitution that would allow for individual counties to vote to tax themselves for extra school money, on top of county-wide SPLOST. 

The Local Education Sales Tax, or LEST, would be an additional 1-cent tax school districts could adopt to fund salaries of teachers and reducing class sizes, Banks said. 

Another option would be to increase the millage rate, which is now set at 18.9 mills. The state maximum millage rate is 20 mills. By increasing the millage rate to the maximum of 20 mills, the school district would see an increase of $20 million in revenue, Johnson estimated. 

Board members have been staunchly against any increase to the millage rate, Scamihorn said, because they are fiscal conservatives. However, when he asked parents Wednesday if they would be in favor of increasing the millage rate, almost every hand in the room went up. 

“If truly raising the millage rate is the answer, then I would do it,” said Mark Aston, parent of a second-grader at East Side Elementary and a sixth-grader at Dodgen Middle. 

He said education was the most important place to spend money, and was upset that not everybody in the General Assembly felt that way. 

“Nothing is more important than educating children,” he said. 

Sandy Glidewell and Jenny Peterson both moved to the county to be in the Cobb County School District, they said. They were impressed with the quality of the schools in the district, and were worried the quality would eventually decline as the finances of the district became less stable. Both women said they would be in support of increasing their taxes if it meant they could maintain the quality of the school system.

“I think it’s unreasonable to expect great schools and not pay more for them. …We can’t get a Rolls Royce for a Chevy price,” said Jenny Peterson, who has a daughter at East Side Elementary.

Both women would be in support of Bank’s proposed LEST tax as well, they said. 

If enough parents support raising taxes, as the parents at East Side did, then the board might consider raising the millage rate, Scamihorn said. 

Although it would not solve the proposed budget shortfall, it certainly would help, he said. 

Still, he was unsure if the board, mostly made up of fiscal conservatives, would be willing to increase taxes this year, he said. 

“We might consider that,” he said. 

Do you support the Cobb School Board in their quest for more state money?


Comments
(64)
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TeacherInCobbCounty
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December 12, 2013
Does anybody else find it interesting that Hinojosa said, "It may be necessary to cut staff to balance the budget..." but yet did not address the possibility of cutting staff at the central office.

Cobb County is extremely top heavy. Do we really need as many central office people as we have?

ParentInCobb
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January 15, 2014
Get your facts straight - you're crazy! There is NOTHING top heavy about central office...Glover St amounts to less than 1% of the staff in Cobb. By comparison with other comparable districts, the people at central office are underpaid and overworked. I have worked with them and frankly, I feel sorry for them.
BoredofEducation
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December 11, 2013
Can't you people see that this is all just a shell game?

They(CCSD) have continued to have the money to do anything they want to do.

If they had really cut spending, by the amounts that they claim to have over the last five years, what would the 2014/2015 budget be? Maybe around $650,000,000?
Patrick Thompson
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December 08, 2013
What they've done in other states and recently in Dublin, GA is put their buildings to work generating solar power. We've been cutting education investments for years while giving away corporate welfare. We cannot balance priorities this way. We can, however, start to generate our own energy and reduce that part of our operating costs for lighting, electrical devices and air conditioning. Dublin has found a way to keep key education programs alive and stop furloughs...this is one thing which hasn't been tried here. Projects like this could be done in partnership with tech programs and local tech schools who need to learn how to do this along with their construction skills. Also provides a great education platform for students and inspires more independence. Cobb EMC and local solar companies could help as well. Cobb public schools are the largest electrical consumer in the area. Slow the cutting and try something positive. Projects like this would demonstrate good use of the taxpayers dollars.
VickiAnnMarie
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December 08, 2013
I am so glad I am not a part of this farce anymore...4 years later and still bitter over having my position cut because I was part time...after teaching for 24 years. They don't care...now they're talking more cuts? Furloughs and raising taxes? Why don't the big guys who don't really know a thing about REAL teaching take some cuts in their pay??
inkoho charcoal
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December 09, 2013
Same story in the private sector for over 11 years. Quit your griping. Teachers are not immune. Sob. Sob.
pwc1011
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December 06, 2013
Anyone living in Cobb County needs to understand the county property values are high because of our education. But our education will not continue to be the top in the state or nation if it is not funded.

1. Other counties spend significantly more on education and are catching up to Cobb

2. Cobb is losing the best and brightest teachers and administrators to other counties that pay more ... significantly more.

3. Educating our children is a priority! While my kids have already graduated, I know the future of our nation depends on quality education.

How many of you would stay in the same job if you were paid less each year? That's exactly what's happening to most of the Cobb county educators. For example, principals have not received any cost of living increase in 6 years, and have lost pay to furlough days and increases in health care costs. You can also look at the county pay comparison and see that a Cobb principal can go to a next door county and make as much as $20k more.

The senior exemption is foolish! Seniors are benefiting from the increased property values that result from quality education and should not have a free ride when it comes to paying for that increase.

If Cobb paid more than other counties or even the same, you would have an argument that maybe budgeting was an issue. But time and time again, the board has cut, and they CANNOT cut further without serious consequences to the education of our youth!

ParentInCobb
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January 15, 2014
I agree with most of your comments. But the property values are NOT high because of education - and that is a huge part of the problem with our education budget. The senior exemption is indeed foolish! You are right on points 1-3 ... the lack of funds will continue to deteriorate the quality of education in Cobb and with it will go property values, etc.
Susan Stover
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December 05, 2013
Save some money! Allow only legal residents to attend school and teach classes in English language.
Jimmy Smith
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December 08, 2013
That would definitely help. All of those people whose parents don't have permission to stay or work in the US pay taxes anyway, so that would allow us to use the taxes they pay to support schools for everyone else. That sounds plenty just. And then the kids can grow up ignorant and do manual labor. Sounds like a deal!
ParentInCobb
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January 15, 2014
That is one of the big reasons that we need SPLOST ... sales tax vs property tax means that people who live her but don't own property or pay income tax to the state will still end up paying their fair share (more or less).
dustoff
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December 05, 2013
Seems the BOE always has money to build Taj Mah schools. So cut back on building monuments. Look into dumping the ESL program, if these illegals want a free education then they can learn English on their own. Then take a serious look at the free lunch program.

Look at each school and then make the parents prove they cannot afford their kids lunch, but they sure can have a 60 inch TV, internet, gold jewelery, a fancy cell phone and a Escapade.

And then take a serious look at the top heavy main office.

Jimmy Smith
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December 08, 2013
There are legal immigrants, you know, and they want to learn English. Most immigrants to the United States are legal, including those who do not know how to speak English well.

Just sayin'.
Just Wait
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December 05, 2013
It is amazing that so many people want the state to stay out of Cobb' school business, but demands that they send them more money. And then every time there is talk about the pit CCSD has dug for themselves, people complain about the senior exemption. Please stop beating up on these old folks! They really have paid their due. If you are so read to have a tax increase, why don't you just send CCSD a check! If CCSD is so broke, why do you see CCSD school buses at the Georgia Aquarium? At some point, someone has to realize that throwing more money at education does not fix it. This county and state has been doing it for years and where are we today?
Kennesaw Voter
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December 05, 2013
OMG - we give the schools 1% in sales taxes every year plus heavy taxes on our property ....

and still we hear this nonsense..."Give us another 1% in sales taxes and raise the millage rate"

That is your PROOF right there...Give us more, more, more...and when you can't give any more...

GIVE THEM EVEN MORE!

Ridiculous...I will vote against every BoE who even sniffs at a tax increase.
ParentInCobb
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January 15, 2014


You are way off base. Our property taxes are NOT what they could be if everyone paid their share to support education. Seniors should NOT be exempt from helping to carry the load and enjoy decent property values. The 1% SPLOST means that everybody here illegally will still pay a part of the budget. Also, travelers on I-75 will help. Cut out SPLOST and you will have an enormous problem that will have to result in higher property tax and no senior exemptions. Seriously? Do your homework!
Kennesaw Voter
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December 05, 2013
This is a JOKE!! Cobb County Schools are actually over funded. We property owners pay high property taxes plus we have pitched in over $2 Billion dollars in capital spending with the sales taxes over the last 15 plus years....but what do we hear??? We need MORE MONEY! Ridiculous!! The school board should be FIRED and a special election held to get some folks who know how to cut spending. The administration in every school is way over populated and the central office has 50% more people than they need.

Once again, good education is not about MORE and MORE money...IT IS ABOUT Teaching and PARENTING. IF parents don't care about their children learning then we get kids who test out at the AVERAGE level. Money will NOT make it better. When people say, you got to pay more for a top education system, I say...You got to re-organize your management structure and eliminate the waste. Get teachers focused on teaching. Parents have to inspire their children. STOP crying for taxpayers to keep forking over all their hard earned dollars.

What really gets me is the school folks at all levels (teachers, administrators, and even parents) will cry for more tax dollars but NOBODY details who to spend what you have wisely. The easy answer is not...hey, just throw more money at the schools and they will be SUPER. WRONG! Just look across the Chattahoochee River at the Atlanta Public Schools or even DeKalb County Schools....Both spend more per student than Cobb and BOTH ARE THE WORST school systems in GEORGIA. That proves right there that it is not about MORE MONEY. It is about better management and PARENTS CARING.

STOP OVER TAXATION.
anonymous
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December 05, 2013
I have a solution to the problem without bringing in another penny. Spend within the budget and stop overspending. It really is that simple, people. It really, really is that simple. Problem solved.

@anonymous
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December 05, 2013
Your not so bright are you. What part of funding cuts from the state do you not understand. $500 million since 2003 while our student population continues to go up. Please tell us where the overspending is?

Come on my simple minded anonymous blow hard please tell me how CCSD can balance a the budget if the state refuses to follow the QBE funding law? I await your enlightened answer oh great and knowing anonymous....................... Before you answer you might want to take a look at the CCSD budget explanation on the Cobbk12 website hopefully your simple mind can understand the pie charts.

Cobb Parent of 2 CCSD students.
Cobb Mom of Two
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December 06, 2013
You are really, really stupid if you think it is that simple. Every year the state has cut the funding for education, over the past decade to a tune of more than $3 billion.

The senior exemption needs to go, if they want to come to the board meetings and express their feelings regarding the adopted standards and have a say so in the running of the school system they need to pay.

If any businesses received a tax break for locating in Cobb County, it needs to go. If you want your employees' familys to benefit from an excellent school system then help pay for it.

The milage rate needs to be increased, not considering it is stupid.

Banks' idea regarding a special sales tax for the general fund is a great idea.

Then restrict the board from giving bonuses and raises to county personnel for test scores. They didn't have anything to do with teaching those classrooms of children, why are we giving them cash bonuses?

Freeze central office hiring. We have enough chiefs but could us more indians (teachers) in the schools.
pwc1011
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December 06, 2013
You are an idiot. Education is a priority, and funds need to be prioritized accordingly.
David D.
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December 07, 2013
I have never understood why CCSD (and many other states) begin school in August. And for the 2014-2015 school-year teachers are now required to return to school the last week in July. Can you imagine how much money the district could save by NOT air-conditioning all of the buildings (Central Office, elementary schools, middle schools, high schools, etc.) if they just started school in the fall? Imagine the electrical cost of just one building. Now imagine hundreds of buildings. It might not be much, but it's an option. And it's something that doesn't even affect teacher jobs, furloughs, or property taxes.
cannot rosaise
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December 08, 2013
Ain't it great how a poster with the name @anonymous calls another poster "oh great and knowing anonymous." "Come on my simple minded anonymous blow hard." Life in the USA. I say the first thing we teach children coming into the school system is that all people are to be respected and that nobody has the right to call anyone else names or to put them down. All are free to express their opinions without verbal abuse in return.

anonymous
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December 08, 2013
@Cobb Mom of Two. I actually deplore stooping to your level where you called people stupid, but I will call you out as stupid. The Board of Education has absolutely nothing to do with senior exemptions. Can I call you stupid again? Forgive me.
I Am Not An Idiot
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December 08, 2013
@pwc1011. I know who this person is. This person calls everyone an idi

ot that does not agree with their beliefs, like they are Jesus Christ Superstar, Supreme Being, and everyone that doesn't agree with them is an idiot. Disregard anything said by this person.
ParentInCobb
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January 15, 2014
Okay in the real world of Cobb education there is no overspending. I don't know how you think that could be possible but I'm guessing that is why so many responses have suggested you are an idiot. The state has cut funding for education so hard it is sending Cobb schools back into the dark ages. Anyone who lives in Cobb should be scared to death - we're about to end up like DeKalb with poor performance and falling property values.
Santa Clause
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December 05, 2013
People seem to think because it comes from the state, it is "free".Notwithstanding the season...there is NO Santa Clause, it comes from the tax payers..If you want your school system to get more money They will take your checks over on Glover Street..Go give them your money directly..and take the middleman out..IT is coming from our pockets either way..I never thought we as a citizenry could become this stupid. Just send your request for Money to the North Pole.
@Santa Clause
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December 05, 2013
Dear Santa or should I say Scrooge,

Just like anonymous above you need to get you simple mind enlightened to some budget facts on the CCSD website. The budget list the revenue sources and the expenses. Per the Georgia Constitution the State aka Taxpayer is responsible for Public School funding. Per QBE Law the state is to fund Georgia public school districts via a set formula. Right now the Governor and the Gold Dome reps are ignoring QBE thus causing CCSD's budget shortfall.

Currently the Extreme Right Wing Zealots - Gov. Deal, Cobb Reps. Ed Setzler, Earl Ehrhart, Judson Hill plus the other extremist under the Gold Dome are intentionally defunding Georgia's Public Schools per their ALEC mantra. Defund public schools, keeping changing the curriculum and testing goals to make them look bad then close them and open up for Profit Private Schools. All for their corporate puppeteers.

I don't give a darn about either party our children's education should be non partisan. 98% of Georgia's children attend public schools. Let's stop the extremist from destroying our children's future. Call or email your representative and Governor to let them know to stop messing with our schools. Tell them to fully fund QBE per the law.

Cobb Parent of 2 CCSD Students
augerzin
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December 05, 2013
Here we go again, politicians crying for more money. "It's for da chilrens, ya know?" Fact: give a politician 1 dollar and they will spend 2 and complain they don't have enough. Wake up folks, it's time we put administrators in office that can operate within a set budget.
MSJKinder
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December 05, 2013
You obviously do not have the first clue about what the schools are going through at the moment. You say we need to operate on a "budget". Try no copy paper, or ink for our printers. Try large class sizes etc. How much MORE can we possibly cut. If you are a property owner within Cobb County ISD you should be VERY concerned.

anonymous
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December 05, 2013
The schools are not going through anything the rest of companies in America have not gone through. I work for a major corporation and I buy my own supplies. We have had our printers and copiers cut out so much that we have found ways to work around it. Our workload has almost doubled. It is funny how little one can get by on when one is forced to. And do a much better job. Lord, how did teachers ever teach without printers, copiers, etc. I think you are getting ready to learn how they did it. And it can be done, especially in this age of technology.
pwc1011
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December 06, 2013
Do you realized how much less Cobb spends on education than other counties? Do you realize most staff has not received so much as a cost off living adjustment in OVER 6 YEARS!

It is people like you who have no clue that lessen the quality of education for our kids.
Cobb School Advocate
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December 05, 2013
This budget shortfall is real and the problem is at the State Level - we need to oust any Cobb legislator who does not commit to full funding per the Georgia Law - Deal and our legislators "claim" to support NEIGHBORHOOD Schools but are only destroying them by withholding funding ! Boot the Bums out starting with Deal and including the entire Cobb delegation !
MSJKinder
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December 05, 2013
You are exactly correct. I do not believe that my state congressman has our best interest at heart. Ed Setzler, it's past time to restore funding at the state level. We are all watching.

Very worried parent
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December 05, 2013
Can we please talk solutions to problems instead of pointing fingers? Our children need a strong education and we all need to help solve the problems. Pay more taxes, volunteer more, do whatever it takes to keep Cobb County schools strong.
Wendy Kalman
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December 05, 2013
Raise the millage rate. Our taxes are low. If we ant an educated population, we have to be willing to pay for it. I would be willing to guess that if you put it to referendum to the county, it wouldn't be just parents willing to pay more.

Get rid of the blanket homestead exemption, like the other commenter said, and find a way for low-income seniors to keep.

Banks recently put forth a hairbrained motion to dip into the reserves to take $7 million to give out 1% bonuses. That's more than twice the cost of returning two furlough days. Reserves shouldn't be dipped into (and he's proposed that before too!), but found money should first and foremost go to reducing furlough days. Students need 180 instructional days, and not a day less...

augerzin
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December 05, 2013
Wendy- nobody is stopping you from sending the BoE a check since you think they need more money. I'm sure they would spend it very quickly. I, like many others, think the BoE has a spending problem, not a revenue problem. Higher tax rates do not equal higher tax revenue.
ParentInCobb
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January 15, 2014
Wendy your comments are dead on and we need to be scared to death about the declining education in Cobb. It needs to be a priority and if Cobb residents want good schools and valuable property then they need to pay for it. Well said Wendy!
Michelle Sollicito
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December 05, 2013
I went to this meeting yesterday and there were some points that stood out for me.

OUR SCHOOL SYSTEM (COBB COUNTY) IS BROKE - that means it is nearly BANKRUPT - and believe me you do NOT want your school system to go bankrupt!!!!!!

Y'all need to:

1) Call Governor Deal (not email - CALL!!!!) and tell him we need more funding in Cobb County or we will not re-elect him

2) Call your School board members and tell them you will support them if they try to RAISE THE MILLAGE RATE to 20 (it is around 18 right now).

3) REALIZE that our SCHOOL SYSTEM MAY NOT SURVIVE if we do not do this!!! We have already cut expenses as much as possible - Cobb County School Board is the most efficient in Georgia, has the least overhead and expenses, and the highest proportion that goes directly to teachers salaries - THERE IS NO MORE WE CAN DO WITHOUT MORE MONEY!!!!!!!

I also think David Banks ideas might be "pie in the sky" but nothing should be taken off of the table.

His idea of a referendum on a 1% school tax (LEST) is a GOOD IDEA in my opinion (and I often do NOT see eye to eye with David Banks, so coming from me that is BIG!)

I also think his ideas to change the way Georgia state calculates our income (and hence the way we get less and less money from the State all the time despite our dire need) are great ideas, though I share the Board's concern that other counties are unlikely to vote themselves out of revenue coming from Cobb County.

Anything is worth a try, and David Banks is at least coming up with ideas to try!
OVER TAXED TAXPAYER
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December 05, 2013
Instead of your hysterics...just home school your kids...PROBLEM SOLVED. Or maybe privatize the entire school system and eliminate all taxes for schools...then FORCE home schooling.
Hanna Brand
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December 06, 2013
I am just asking an honest question. I would love an honest answer. When I hear we have cut expenses as much as possible, I feel confused. Why at times I see ways money could be saved just by stepping in the doors at my children's school? Perhaps the things I see would not by any means resolve the situation, but it does seem hard to convince someone there is a dire need for more $ when we can see ways to save money on the surface. Perhaps we do in fact NEED more $, but from where I am I see a bigger problem. I don't like seeing a hand extended asking for more, while the other hand is wasting what it has been given.
Cary Bennett
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December 08, 2013
Hey, Overtaxed Taxpayer.....sure, let's just privatize the schools, or better yet, close them down and everyone home school. Please, explain to me, how are parents supposed to go to work and afford to take care of their family if they need to stay at home and provide home schooling for their kids? That's nice, if you can afford it. And what about our Special Needs kids? Where are they to go? Are you qualified and certified to provide a therapeutic education to a Special Needs child? My daughter and I were recently given custody of 3 grandchildren, and all 3 of them are Special Needs. Do you think there is any way we could manage to provide all of the therapeutic interventions these children need? Not to mention there are two other children (of their own) in the household as well. Do you realize that 1 in every 88 kids in this country is on the Autistic Spectrum? The Cobb County Special Education System is so overwhelmed with the sheer numbers of Special Needs kids that it is taking several months for us to even get an appointment for an Evaluation to get the youngest started in the Early Intervention Program. Meanwhile, he languishes at home and every single day lost for one of our kids is like losing a week for a normal child. No, we do not have the financial wherewithal to afford private teachers and therapists for these kids. The public school system is an absolute necessity.

Furthermore, Not every parent is qualified to home school their children. What about kids from lower income families, whose parents may not even have a high school degree, yet, these kids futures are dependent on being able to obtain a quality education and perhaps be the first in their family to attend college and start to break the cycle of poverty? We need to fully fund our schools, and we also need to take a look at other countries who far outflank us in education and figure out what they are doing and start doing it in schools here.

anonymous
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December 09, 2013
I hate to say it in response to poster Cary, but the first thing your family needs an education in is morals and birth control if that course fails. While I was trying to follow your family tree, rabbits came to mind. Tax burden rabbits. Has anyone ever had "the talk" with any of these children?

Jeff A. Taylor
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December 05, 2013
Sent this is David Banks as a starting point, never heard back.

David --

Here is a common-sense way forward to deal with Cobb's financial and political realities going forward.

-- Put the Senior Exemption on the table. It is simply a fiction that ALL homeowners do not benefit from quality public schools. Perhaps do not eliminate it completely, but this special interest lobby must be confronted.

-- Change state law to allow the current local option sales tax to be spent on capital OR operational needs. Certainly easier than trying to create an entirely new class of sales tax. The building lobby will not like this, but presumably we care about kids not concrete.

-- Contract out ALL non-educational functions. Cherokee made steps in this direction and did not fall off the edge of the earth. As it is right now, Cobb values janitors as much as teachers. Does that make sense?

-- Embrace online learning and teachers. This is very threatening to classroom teachers. Too bad. It is the wave of the future. That Cobb backtracked on this under pressure from classroom teachers recently is very disappointing to anyone who understands technology.

You'll notice a theme: Confront special interests to serve the common good. Not terribly revolutionary. Or perhaps entirely too much so.

Thanks for listening.
Michelle Sollicito
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December 05, 2013
I would like the Senior Exemption to be on the table too - but in order to put that on the table, all candidates would have to agree to phase it out. No single candidate is going to stick their necks out and offer that as a solution if no other candidates also agree, because it would be like Election Suicide.

I understand your idea of changing state law on SPLOST expenditure but the problem is we NEED all the SPLOST money too in buildings etc. because our buildings are quite literally falling apart. If you do not believe that, go see the MountainView pictures and videos (and Brumby and Powers Ferry have a problem which is at least as bad) http://www.rebuildmtnview.com/videos--pictures.html

Online learning is an interesting way to go (I work in IT writing websites so I am keen on that idea too) but its a long-term thing - not something that could be implemented this year and solve this year's budget crisis and there are all kinds of societal and interpersonal obstacles to overcome - kids do not have pcs at home, there are not enough pcs at school etc. etc.

While I can't speak
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December 05, 2013
to his not returning your email, I can respond to the points you brought up.

Senior Exemption is not within the power of the school board. It would have to be done through the legislature and they have said they won't bring it to vote.

I am not sure how you would expect that the CCSB could ensure that state tax structure could be changed. As an option Banks has already introduced and supports and additional 1% LEST. However, this will be voted upon by the voters.

Both major efforts of farming out non-educational functions (IT and SPLOST) have resulted in increased costs and reduced services for the district.

Classroom teachers are not the threat to online classes. I've worked with online courses for the past decade in various settings (I support them very much if used appropriately) but each time found that the disadvantages of attempting a wide spread online environment creates additional issues. It is not the money savings that it seems to be on the surface.

Hwy 57
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December 05, 2013
Hey Jeff A. Taylor

How would you like to have Convicted felons around your kids in school? Cherokee county did cut ( custodians) not janitors!! Most of the contracted out folks are illegals and you would be very Lucky if the same illegal showed up at the school every night! So custodians are a very big part of a school!! We are the first ones to school and the last ones to leave at night!!
Pay Up Seniors
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December 05, 2013
@Michelle, I too would like to see the Senior Exemption on the table.
Kennesaw Resident
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December 05, 2013
@Jeff, I am a classroom teacher and am not opposed to online learning. The issue is that online learning really only works for the most motivated students.

I teach advanced computer applications and students coming to my class from the alternative school (where all learning is online) are not performing at the same level as my regular classroom students. This causes the students a great deal of anxiety and stress when they come into the classroom and see what is expected. I do everything I can to lessen their anxiety and bring their skills up to par, but I am not sure that online learning is necessarily the best solution.

I use it as a supplement to regular classroom learning where I am available to help students with problems.
Kennesaw Voter
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December 05, 2013
Leave the seniors alone...they have PAID enough. I bet most of them have paid property taxes at least 20 years after their kids graduated from school. Leave them SENIORS ALONE.
@Jeff
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December 05, 2013
The CCSD Board has nothing to do with the Senior Exemption. Only the Cobb State Delegation can ask to change it. Like that's going to happen.

I agree with most of what you said except the 'Contract All Non Educational Functions and embrace Online Learning.'

CCSD tried outsourcing the Janitorial and Technology Services a few years ago. Our former Super from a few years back I believe may have steered Technology Services to some Defense Contractors. Funny how the Super used to be in the military and the two Defense Dept. Contractors were awarded contracts for the Student Info System and Tech Services. The outsourcing was a disaster and now all are back in house. I don't believe you will see a significant cost savings with outsourcing. The janitorial staff pay rate is around $11 per hour but they ARE CCSD employees and they are important to our schools. I really do not want 'contractor' minimum wage workers around my children.

Online learning has it's place but do you really believe a child who most likely will be left unsupervised at home while the parents are working will have the discipline to participate in online classes. College kids yes but not K-12 kids.

Just my 2 cents.
Perplexed III
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December 05, 2013
COBB TEACHERS cannot afford more furloughs. When will parents and stakeholders begin to realize that morale is low which affects teaching? Many of us are married to educators and we simply cannot afford groceries, mortgage, rising gas prices and a simple life. Please give us back the American Dream.
I agree
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December 06, 2013
Enough of furlough days. How about the superintendent take a furlough day and also the higher paid staff? Do we really need assistant to the assistant superintendents. I think some of the problem came with all of the overpaid garbage that was working at the BoE before and we are still paying! But quit hurting the teachers and DO NOT increase the class size or you will see your prized schools drop their test scores and then you will be in trouble. I would like to hear first before adding another tax, details on what they have done besides furlough days, to make cuts. Also are we not getting money from the state because the state is throwing good money after bad schools? What is entailed with the money we would get? Show me why a tax is the only option and I will support it, but I need proof!
Common Sense
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December 05, 2013
I say we cut high school athletic programs and strictly focus on academics. You can still have club sports in the same fashion, but privatize funding for each sport. Travel teams in their respective sports are the number one priority to families anyways. Schools are the reflection of the community and parents. Do away with high school athletics and balance the budget. You will be very sorry to balance the budget on the backs of teachers. And for the life of me, stop funding the illegals. All they are there for is free food, free English tutoring and free internet. The money they earn goes back to their motherland country depleting our economy while they undercut min wage jobs.
anonymous
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December 05, 2013
Are you really this ignorant?! Athletic programs run solely on fundraising and booster clubs. At least do a millisecond of research before spouting off. And to 'Just Sayin', give it a rest on the turf. That came out of SPLOST dollars for the one gozillionth time. Again, please try and do some research. Just because you hated PE as a kid and are probably an inactive person, doesn't mean that others think an active lifestyle is important. The turf fields were one of the most brilliant purchases done with tax dollars and the maintenance now is practically non-existent. And now you're hating on auditoriums for fine arts?! Geez, you sure are a crabby person. Good for Lassiter to get such a beautiful facility. In case you didn't know, there was only one other in the county and it's at McEachern. They generously share it with all the schools in Cobb. Well, now Lassiter is sharing it with other schools on this side of the county. And I'm talking elementary, middle AND high school. A well-rounded student excels in academics, athletics and fine arts. Give it a rest.

PS to Common Sense. TOTALLY agree with you on the illegal situation. Blows my mind they are able to continue sucking the life out of our resources.
Just Sayin'....
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December 05, 2013
Dear Anonymous - Please re-read my comments. You should be able to understand that only the original cost of the turf came from SPLOST. You should be able to understand that SPLOST only paid for the building of the theater at Lassister. You should be able to understand that SPLOST is only good for CAPITAL projects and NOT maintaining all of these things that we are building or have built. That money comes out of the general fund which is what we also pay our teachers out of, and pay the utilities with. What part of BROKE do you not understand? We cannot pay to maintain ANY of it. Build the Taj Mahal if you like, but if you can't pay to keep it heated or cooled or staffed DO NOT come running with your hand out for more.

With regards to Lassiter, please ask the nice folks over there how many other schools have asked to use the "regional" facility only to be told NO, because Lassiter has first dibs. With regards to the sports programs, not all are totally reliant on boosters or parents. Football, basketball and baseball all receive stipends and support in the form of salaries for the coaches and maintenance of the fields. No other sports enjoy that perk.

And YES, I am cranky and crabby because I think our kids should have a world class education, and I am sick of the CCSB singing the same song year after year and NO ONE stepping up to do a thing about it. And, for the record, I am active in supporting Cobb County schools and if you would like to help, most of our schools have foundations now so that you can give.
To Anon
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December 05, 2013
Hey brother, if I was ignorant, I wouldn't have posted...desperate times call for desperate measures. I love sports and agree a well rounded person excels in academics and sports. But what percentage make up the athletes walking the halls compared to the rest of the student body? And of those athletes, male and female, which ones play sports that cost the most due to lack of attendance at the events? While many boosters do foot the brunt of many costs, there are still many costs that the county has to account for such as utilities, transportation, gas, facility maintenance, insurance and salaries for all the head coaches and assistants that aren't paid by the booster club. What should we really focus on if everyone is concerned about the state of the union of education in Cobb, let alone the state of Georgia. If we are heading to bankruptcy, then something has to be done. Raising sales and property taxes is not the answer to people who haven't seen raises in 5 years.
letstrythisagain
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December 05, 2013
Just sayin', I do understand the meaning of broke. We have a REVENUE problem right now. This budget that everyone thinks is the fault of too much spending, was set up when the housing market was doing well. You and I both know that it went into a tailspin and will never, EVER reach that plateau again. They need to raise the mill and do something about the senior exemption. Gov Deal needs to give Cobb County our fair share!

I dare you to show proof that the basketball, football and baseball programs receive monies from CCSD. Quite the opposite. It's those 3 sports that receive gate monies that then operate all of the sports programs at the schools. Soccer and lacrosse make a little bit of money but the other 3 keep things running, namely football. Those other sports get to reap the benefits if the Big 3 are successful. The county decreased the number of coaching stipends you're talking about. I'd also like to know your source and facts to show how much is being spent thus far on the maintenance of the turf. Just one example.

I decided to challenge you that Lassiter doesn't share their theater. I went to their website and here is the calendar for November and December. Out of 21 events during those 2 months, Lassiter is mentioned in SIX of them. Sure looks generous to me! Now what were you sayin' again?!



LASSITER CONCERT HALL

2601 Shallowford Road, Marietta, GA 30066

Phone: 678-494-7863

Fax: 678-494-7865

EVENT SCHEDULE

Date Time Group

November 2013

Nov 6

7:00 pm Shallowford Falls ES Veteran’s Day Concert

Nov 7

7:00 pm Simpson MS Orchestra Concert

Nov 10

3:00 pm Cobb Wind Symphony Concert

Nov 13

6-9 PM Lassiter HS Financial Aid Night

Nov 16

8 am-4 pm Atlanta Symphony Orch. and CCSD

Middle Schools

Nov 17

8 am-2 pm JEG Ministries

Nov 21

7:00 pm Lassiter HS Tri-M Concert

December 2013

Dec 3

6:30 pm Murdock ES Chorus Concert

Dec 5

7:00 pm Mabry MS Band Concert

Dec 7

7:00 pm Lassiter HS Ms. Odyssey Pageant

Dec 8

3:00 pm Cobb Wind Symphony Concert

Dec 9

7:30 pm Walton HS Chorus Concert

Dec 10

7:00 pm Lassiter HS Orchestra Concert

Dec 11

7:00 pm Mabry MS Chorus

Dec 12

7:30 pm Lassiter HS Band Concert

Dec 13

7:30 pm Pope HS “Showcase of the Arts”

Dec 14

2:30/4:00 pm Wheeler HS Band/Chorus/Orchestra

Dec 15

8:00 pm Atlanta Youth Wind Symphony Concert

Dec 16

7:30 pm Lassiter HS Chorus Concert

Dec 17

7:00 pm Simpson MS Band Concert

Dec 18

7:00 pm Mabry MS Orchestra Concert
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