Posts Tagged ‘school taxes’

Yes to School SPLOST, but with Reservations

July 28, 2009

 I’ll probably vote for the SPLOST for Muscogee County School District schools, but not because I am happy with the way things are going in our schools. 

The money is basically going for building new schools and upgrading old ones.  With 4,000 new students expected to put a strain on the system when BRAC is fully deployed,  yes,  it appears, we are going to need more classrooms. 

However, it also appears we are not efficiently using the ones we already have.  For instance, I am told that there are now 900 students attending Jordan High.  At one time,  Jordan had the largest student body of any high school in Georgia, more than 2,300 students.  (It also had the only state STAR student ever produced by a MCSD school. Full disclosure: I graduated from Jordan in 1948. No, I was not that STAR student by a long shot.  Alexander Hunter won that honor in 1965.)   All of that unused space and portable classrooms are having to be added at Hardaway High because of  the students from underachieving schools being transferred there.  The No Child Left Behind federal law made this possible.

I guess we can’t blame parents for wanting their students to go to a school with a better academic record, but you have to ask,  why are the students at some schools doing so poorly?  The answers are myriad, I suppose. However, one of the main ones is the way school districts are set up, and the effects of magnet schools.   You send all of the kids whose parents are at the bottom of the socioeconomic ladder to a few schools and all of the more affluent kids to a few other  schools,  just exactly what do you think is going to happen? Well, it’s happened.

Yes, it appears the Muscogee County School District is a mess, but there are high hopes that new Superintendent Susan Andrews is going to turn that around.  SPLOST supporters are pushing that idea. But, she still has to answer to the school board.  I’m told the board is following her lead, but she really hasn’t been in the saddle long enough to know if that is going to hold up.

Meanwhile, I plan to vote for the penny-per-dollar sales tax for the schools.  BRAC simply means we have to have more classrooms.  That can’t be denied.  Still, I would like to see better use of the space we already have, but I realize that would take some major political changes.

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