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School board puts off decision on tax increase

Posted: May 15, 2013 - 12:46pm  |  Updated: May 18, 2013 - 11:02pm
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Columbia County's valedictorians and salutatorians were recognized Tuesday by the Columbia County School Board. This year's honorees are salutatorians Emery Holliman, Grovetown High School (from left); Briana Blair, Greenbrier High; Madeline Shepherd, Harlem High; and Emma Blume, Lakeside High; and valedictorians William Snider, Evans High; Laura Shipman, Greenbrier High; Megan Murphy, Grovetown High; Sean Spurlin, Harlem High; and Matthew Jenkins, Lakeside High. Not pictured: Rahul Shaw, Evans High salutatorian.   Photos by Barry Paschal
Photos by Barry Paschal
Columbia County's valedictorians and salutatorians were recognized Tuesday by the Columbia County School Board. This year's honorees are salutatorians Emery Holliman, Grovetown High School (from left); Briana Blair, Greenbrier High; Madeline Shepherd, Harlem High; and Emma Blume, Lakeside High; and valedictorians William Snider, Evans High; Laura Shipman, Greenbrier High; Megan Murphy, Grovetown High; Sean Spurlin, Harlem High; and Matthew Jenkins, Lakeside High. Not pictured: Rahul Shaw, Evans High salutatorian.

Columbia County’s school board members postponed a decision to increase taxes at their Tuesday meeting.

They will revisit the issue May 28, when they are expected to decide whether to raise taxes, approve other ways to balance next school year’s budget, or both.

Superintendent Charles Nagle told board members they need to find $4.6 million to balance the $178 million budget. Nagle recommended a one-mill tax increase that would generate about $4 million. The increase would cost taxpayers about $40 per year per $100,000 in home value, Nagle said.

“We’re at a point that unless we do something different to bring in revenue, we’re not going to be able to continue,” Nagle said.

Nagle presented several other options to make up small parts of the budget deficit, including contracting out custodial services, reducing paraprofessionals and contingency positions, increasing class sizes and eliminating middle and high school extracurricular activities.

School Board Chair­woman Regina Buccafusco said she supports the tax increase because the public demands a good education system.

Board member Mike Sleeper suggested the board consider furloughing employees, which would save about $750,000 per day while schools close. He also recommended the board revisit the issue of outsourcing janitorial services.

“It’s something I think that has to be considered,” Sleeper said, adding that before he votes to raise taxes, “I want to say we’ve done everything and then some.”

Board members Roxanne Whitaker didn’t like the idea of furloughs, stating that teachers have endured enough cuts and most haven’t seen a raise in years.

“They probably do the most important job in this country,” Whitaker said.

The board cancelled a budget meeting slated for May 21, and instead will meet at 4 p.m. on May 28 before the regularly scheduled school board meeting. They are expected to take action at that session.

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Comments (11)

Little Lamb

Tue — Fri

A four-day school week, Tuesday through Friday, would save a lot of money and would not affect teacher salaries.

It would affect the wages of hourly workers such as bus drivers and lunchroom workers.

scoobynews

So Mike Sleeper would rather

So Mike Sleeper would rather the teachers of Columbia county shoulder the burden of limited funds even though many already work way past three and use their own money for supplies. The old saying is "you get what you pay for" and if Columbia county citizens want a quality education for their children then what is an extra $40 per $100,000. I can assure you most teachers don't live in a house over $200,000 yet I am willing to bet Mike Sleeper does! Thanks to Regina for supporting the hard working teachers in this county!!!

Just My Opinion

This is a classic case of

This is a classic case of Sleeper going after votes....if he is the lone member who wants to take the burden of increased taxes off the voter's shoulders, then he looks all the better for it, at least he thinks he does. The teachers have been hit more times than a punching bag! How can he say he wants them to have more furloughed days? How many times can he expect them to take it and not have quality suffer? It's already happening! The teachers have too much on them as it is.
Case in point...it's great that new schools are being built, but did y'all realize that the monies spent on these buildings do NOT include incidentals that are needed in every classroom? I'm talking copy paper, bulletin board materials, pencils, erasers, tissues, markers, crayons, new desks to replace old and broken ones, staples, tape, paints, and I could go on. Guess who is faced with paying for THOSE things? Yup, the same teachers who Mike Sleeper wants to continue to beat up!
No, I don't "appreciate" Mike Sleeper....ever since his Witch Hunt Days when innocent people were fired. That incident only uncovered to me how selfish and self-serving Mike Sleeper is. Here's yet another reason to vote this dude out.
To the other members who inclined that the tax should be increased by a mill, thank you. It's time.

Tax2Death

Increase Class Size/ Lay off Teachers or Assess Student Fees

My taxes went up $500 on my home in 2012 in Columbia County. I pay for my kids to get a quality education at a private school. So if you want a quality education, then you pay for it. When I say " You", I mean those who use the school system. Also, my salary is less than a lot of those that teach school. That maybe another place to start, reduce salaries! It is time for those that use a service to pay your way, and stop free loading off of those who are paying their way.

Barry Paschal

Response

Tax2Death: First, if your taxes increased last year - after a tax cut by the county commission - it is because your home's value increased. Second, people who use the public schools pay for them through THEIR taxes, and are no more "freeloaders" than you are for not sending a check to the sheriff's office for police protection. Third, it is illegal in Georgia to assess student fees for public schools that are guaranteed by the state constitution.

You are, of course, well within your rights as a citizen to forego access to Columbia County's public schools and instead spend your money on private schools. But it's unlikely the majority of taxpaying citizens whose 24,500 students use that system in Columbia County will agree to cripple it by "laying off teachers" and further increasing class sizes.

Tax2Death

Barry Paschal

Thanks Barry for enlightenment. I see you either work for this experimental social engineering failure, or benefit financially from this over paid county institution in some way. Thanks again for letting me know my house value increased.

Tax2Death

Barry Paschal

Thanks Barry for enlightenment. I see you either work for this experimental social engineering failure, or benefit financially from this over paid county institution in some way. Thanks again for letting me know my house value increased.

Barry Paschal

Response to Tax2Death

If you're seeking some external reason for the refutation of your comments, I'm sorry to disappoint. I merely gave you the facts. If you would like to attempt to counter those facts, by all means feel free to do so. Unfortunately, in this case the facts do not support your comments.

lcsw

Furlough

Hurray for Mike Sleeper who doesn't think Columbia taxpayers should pay for quality education; they should already have that. We know Nagle didn't want furloughs that would have impacted him but why should Columbia County's education system be the "untouchables". Most every education system has furloughs it doesn't mean the quality is gone. I am sorry, if we can "accommodate" Master's week patrons with having students come back a day late or those "teachers" who are renting their houses, well I say use that day as a furlough day. It's their choice to rent and work. Quite taxing our properties most of us have had furloughs and looking towards more why should Columbia County teachers be exempt if it helps balance the budget?

aunox

Must it be all or nothing?

My understanding is that Nagle is recommending a one-mill tax increase to cover $4 million. What about a smaller tax increase coupled with small furloughs? I truly believe that our school system is the county's greatest asset, and I think that teachers should be treated as well as our society can afford to do so. However, although the staff has not received raises in years, there is a large segment of the community that has watched their income steadily drop in recent times. Cutbacks at Ft. Gordon and SRS as well as others have deflated many family's pocketbooks, which in turn puts less money into the private sector that feeds off of those dollars. Is it fair to raise taxes more than absolutely necessary during these toughest of times? As someone with kids at multiple levels of Columbia County schools, I can tell you that a large part of their school days last week was mostly parties, movies and field trips and I cannot even fathom what they will be doing this final Monday and Tuesday. Can we truly not afford to cut these last few days off the calendar? Will the children's collegiate prospects really suffer if they miss cupcakes and watching movies at the end of school? All I'm saying is the answer may not be black and white. Our county deserves to have our leaders at least make the effort of open discussion before name calling and selfish motives rule the day, and I think watching adults have that discussion would do more to educate our kids than another movie in the lunch room.

Spelunkerman

When did public education become a public enemy

It is amazing that we are at a point where we are letting talk radio and the Republican Party drive public education. Article VIII, Section I, Paragraph 1 of the Constitution of Georgia reads "Public education; free public education prior to college or postsecondary level; support by taxation."
I am a Republican and will not vote for any politician who places less emphasis on either the United States Constitution or that of Georgia. You simply cannot have it both ways! The long term ramifications of allowing the future of our children's education to diminish over a few dollars is a ridiculous thought. To aunox, for some kids in the county, the one or two movies, parties, and field trip may be all they get. Nathan Deal is not getting my vote when the next election comes around or any other politician who does not have the forethought to realize they are damaging the future of our state and country with cuts to public education.

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