Posts Tagged ‘MCSD SPLOST’


March 9, 2015

As I said before. I am going to vote for the Muscogee County School District SPLOST.

The school district does have its problems, but not providing adequate facilities and today’s technological learning tools is not going to solve them.

What will?

At the top of  my priority list is greatly reducing poverty.


A lot of people  believe education is the answer.

It can’t be, though, if the kids don’t learn.

Why don’t they?

Bad teachers?

Are the best teachers assigned to top performing Columbus High and Britt David Magnets?

One teacher said, “Put those same teachers at Columbus High and Britt David in failing schools that are full of Title 1 kids and see how well they do.”

Kids with affluent, interested parents who read to them when they are pre-school, and support them intellectually and emotionally to help them meet high expectations when they go to school, for the most part,  perform much better than kids who don’t have that.  There are, of course, exceptions.

Public schools reflect society.

Anyway, public schools are the hope of  the future, and I’m going to support them. Hope you do, too.



Why I Am Voting for the Education SPLOST

September 10, 2009

Some of the complaints about the Muscogee County school system are, in my view, justified. That doesn’t change the fact that the system is going to get about 4,000 additional students over the next few years as Fort Benning’s troop strength increases.  New schools will simply have to be built to accommodate the influx, and old schools have to be renovated and maintained. 

Most people realize that education goes beyond core classroom courses.  Art, music, and sports play a key role in overall education. I have no problem with $17 million of the SPLOST money going to building new and upgrading old sports facilities.  I certainly have no complaint about the creation of an Arts Academy.  Being in the great Bob Barr Jordan High band was an extremely important learning experience for me, one that included music, but was by no means limited to that. It taught self-discipline, team work, and the desire to achieve. 

Our new superintendent, Dr. Susan Andrews, promises to work diligently to correct the problems facing the schools that are, in my view, being left behind because so many of the kids in them are from poor families. She recognizes that poverty is a great handicap for children, but she believes they can still learn, and she will intensify an effort to see that they do.  We need to give her that chance.  

Yes, it is for our kids.  Yes, it is for the future of our city. I am voting for the education Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax.  I hope you will join me.

$17,750,000 of E-SPLOST Money Will Go to Athletic Facilities Improvements

August 10, 2009


When I was growing up in Columbus, all of the school football games were played at Memorial Stadium.  Now,  seven are played there, and 40 at Kinnett Stadium, which is much smaller.   Seven games is all the system can get at Memorial because of other events there.  The City of Columbus owns the stadium,  but the school district owns Kinnett.

Dr. Gary Gibson, Director of Athletics, MCSD, at Kinnett Stadium, Columbus, GA

Dr. Gary Gibson, Director of Athletics, MCSD, at Kinnett Stadium, Columbus, GA

Dr, Gary Gibson, Director of  Athletics for the MCSD says Kinnett is used so much that it needs artificial turf for the football, soccer, lacrosse field,  and a new 9-lane track, plus a new scoreboard, and sound system.  He wants $17, 750, 000 of the proposed Special Purpose Local Options Sales Tax to pay for improving Kinnett stadium and other projects,  including a small, new stadium at Brewer Elementary. That stadium, plus a track, tennis courts,  and parking will cost $7,500,000. 

Dr. Gibson explained that the new $2.5 million track at Kinnett will be nine lanes, all wider than the lanes on the present track

Dr. Gibson explained that the new $2.5 million track at Kinnett will be nine lanes, all wider than the lanes on the present track

The Brewer Stadium will be small,  but Dr. Gibson says, “There are a number of games that don’t draw very large crowds.    Kinnett will hold about six thousand people,  and Memorial Stadium seats about 16,000.  There are games that just don’t draw crowds that large.”

He says the Brewer stadium, which, like Kinnett,  will be used for football, soccer, and lacrosse,  will take some pressure off Kinnett.

The total cost for Kinnett upgrades is $2,750,000.

Part of the Kinnett expenditure will go for a new scoreboard to replace the broken and obsolete one now in use,  and for a new sound system. The old sound system doesn’t work any more. Portable speakers are brought in and mounted on top of the press box  for games.  Dr. Gibson says, “The new scoreboard will be better, but not in the class with the high-tech ones at schools like Valdosta High, which have digital screens that show instant replays.”

Kinnett Stadium obsolete and broken scoreboard, with stadium sized speakers on top that haven't worked for years

Kinnett Stadium's obsolete and broken scoreboard, with stadium-sized speakers on top that haven't worked for years

Dr. Gibson has greater plans for Kinnett,  but realizes that the SPLOST won’t cover those expenses.  For one thing, he wants to build a new dressing room facility.  “The old one is inadequate,” he says.  “It will only hold about 20 members of each team so the coaches have to talk to them at half time by having the offensive team in for one session, and the defensive for another one.” 

Kinnett Stadium locker room, which has no lockers, or showers,  and is so small teams have to use it in shifts

Kinnett Stadium locker room, which has no lockers, nor showers, and is so small teams have to use it in shifts

Torn training table in Kinnett Stadium locker room

Torn training table in Kinnett Stadium locker room

He hopes  to pay for the new locker room facility and other upgrades with what he calls licensing.  Businesses or individuals can license a facility, which means they will get its name on it  by making a financial contribution.  He said, “You know, maybe the new locker room could be the Aflac Locker Room.  The renovated press box could be the Synovus Press Box, for instance, and so on.”  While explaining that idea, he emphasized how greatful the system is to the Kinnett family for its contributions in getting the stadium built.

But, all of that will have to wait.  The projects that the SPLOST will pay for have the top priority. 

Besides the big ticket items at Kinnett and Brewer,  Fort Middle School will get a new system-wide gymnasium that will have four locker rooms, and seat 2,500 people for $5,000,000.

Spencer will get $650,000 improvements, including track and baseball field upgrades, and a new softball field.

Northside, Jordan, and Kendrick will get track upgrades, costing $200,00 each.  

Columbus High will get $200,000 for an upgrade of the softball field at Lakebottom.

And the new Carver High school will receive $825,000 for its baseball and softball fields, and a warm-up track around the football practice field.

What does he have to say to those who say that academics should come first. Is it a good idea to spend all that money on sports?

“Studies have shown,” he told me, “that students who participate in programs, on average, perform better in academics than those who don’t. Also, schools with good athletic programs have fewer behavioral problems. And programs engender strong school spirit, uniting students and faculty to support he school teams.”

I think he’s right.  Bands do that, too.  I told him about the Bob Barr Alumni Band doing a memorial half-time show at Kinnett a few years ago and the huge crowd that it attracted at a Jordan-Columbus football game. Dr. Gibson said he understood the importance of music programs.  He said,  “While I was a high school athlete, I also played the piano and sang in the chorus.” 

I said, “That’s good. In other words, you were well rounded.” 

He replied, “My mother insisted on it!”