On April 18, The News-Times published a letter by Sissy Hobbs regarding the Columbia County school system calendar, administrative costs and charter schools. The information she reports on most topics is inaccurate at best.
Taxpayers should be interested to know that State Department of Education figures indicate that among all school districts in our state, the Columbia County school system expends the least amount of money for Central Office administrators.
Further, Hobbs is the president of the local Transportation Workers Union which, we are informed, has funded five federal lawsuits against the Columbia County school district and several individual employees. To date, the cost to properly and successfully defend these lawsuits is more than $359,761.21.
This amount does not include the costs associated with endless hours required of school district employees who have had to provide a plethora of data and prepare for and participate in depositions.
Of these five lawsuits, one was resolved through compromise solely to avoid unnecessary financial costs that would have been required to litigate to a conclusion. In the other four lawsuits, the assigned federal court judge determined each of the four cases was so lacking in merit that each could be decided by the judge, dismissing the cases without further proceedings or the use of a jury.
On April 24, the four plaintiffs appealed the decisions of the federal court to the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals. This will result in additional costs to Columbia County taxpayers.
While the school district embraces the rights of employees to speak on matters of public concern, we would hope that employees would disclose any viewpoint bias and present accurate information.
Columbia County Schools