Things really have not changed have they? There are still people out there who believe they can force their will on the people regardless of the circumstances. I still cannot believe that we are here. Consolidation, Unification, where did this come from? What mind first came up with this idea and what is the real motive behind it?
Eight months ago when I heard that Rusty Griffin and his merry band of followers were once again trying to force unification down peoples throats, I never thought it would catch on and would just fizzle away. Oh, how wrong.
Over the months this consolidation issue that I thought would never gain steam is now on the ballot and could possible pass this Nov. 8th.
I have seen this thing divide friends, families, co-workers and even
churches. Why? Why would anyone wish something so divisive on our community? What is so important that we could not have had some open dialog within our normally tight knit community first?
How did we get here? The words Greed, Power, Control, Spoiled, and Selfish come to my mind.
Last night CUEE held a public forum and paraded several speakers who tried to explain why School Consolidation/Unification was vital to education and economic growth. The educational component they claim is the reason for this referendum was nothing more than a smoke screen trying to cover up their real motive.
If I had not known any better I would have thought that Valdosta/Lowndes was in dire straits when it came to recruiting and then retaining industry.
Greg Justice and James Bridges were almost convincing with the propaganda they were spitting out. I guess they forgot about some of the companies that have recently made Valdosta/Lowndes there home with the past 5 – 7 years.Steeda – Home Depot Distribution – Martin’s Bakery – John Deere PCA Expansion – SAFT ExpansionDoes CUEE really want the intelligent citizens of Valdosta/Lowndes to believe that we are not getting our fair share of the pie because of the Valdosta City School system? Did CUEE and the Chamber brain trust not read that Valdosta/Lowndes was recognized as the third best metropolitan area for industrial recruitment and expansion by Expansion Solutions Magazine in 2008? According to the article that I read we are getting way more than most other metropolitans in the US.… The board is off to a great start with the recent announcement that Steeda Autosports is joining companies like True Flight, manufacturers of Tiger Aircaft, and Martin’s Famous Pastry Shoppe in moving its corporate headquarters, distribution and manufacturing facilities to Valdosta. These projects combine to bring in 407 jobs and $43.8 million dollars in capital investment over the next three years.I look at the names of these companies, the employees they have hired and the revenue that they have generated in this community and I wonder what were talking about? Is CUEE trying to make us all believe that none of these companies use work force from the Valdosta City Schools?
How did we go here? Not because of education. If the Chamber of Commerce and CUEE were so concerned about the Valdosta City Schools why did they not use some of that money to bring their concerns to the people first? Why keep it such a secret, as if they had something to hide. Why it was that no one from the Chamber or CUEE come before the Valdosta School Board during a scheduled board meeting and publicly state their concerns about the type of education our children were receiving?
How did we get here? Not because of education. I have been volunteering and mentoring children in the Valdosta City system for over 19 years and with the lone exception being Dr. Mathis and Greg Justice I don’t remember seeing any of CUEE’S Board or referendum supporters on any rolls. Where was the Chamber and CUEE when we needed mentors for our children on the south side of town? Where was the Chamber and CUEE when the system faced cost cuts and had to lay off teachers and teacher aids? (They sure could have used some that money)
How did we get here? Not because of education. Last night in a most arrogant tone Mr. Walter Hobgood had the nerve to say when asked about his company volunteering for Community Partners In Education (CPIE) that he never heard of it. He then went on to say no came to him to participate. You’re really about education aren’t you Mr. Hobgood?
How did we get here? Since we now know that it is clearly not because of education, I must now go back to the buzz words I used earlier. Greed, Power, Control, Spoiled and Selfish.
Bottom line is that since the early to mid 90’s, the Chamber of Commerce, its Board and others have been consumed with consolidating the City and County Governments. They have had their lawyers looking into this for years. They have written letters to the Attorney General, the Assistant to the Attorney General, State Reps and even had a former mayor (not John Fretti) to give their opinion on the matter. And the one thing that kept coming from everyone was that it would be difficult if the Valdosta City Schools did not agree to in fact consolidate. This is how we got here!! Creed, Power, Control.
The sad part about what they are doing is that they are using education and their concern for our African American Children as their disguise. The Chamber or its Board and CUEE have not shown any concern for the African American community in the past. They have not invested any real money of any kind on programs that would insure success in the African American community. But now they have the nerve to act like they all of a sudden care. And if CUEE and the Chamber were really concerned about the African American Children being left behind why did they not come into our communities and speak was us directly? Leroy Butler, Dr. Ronnie Mathis, Ruth Council are not the voices for the African American community.
In closing, I have lived in this community for 20 years. I raised my children here and they have all attended Valdosta City Schools. I will be the first to say that the system is not perfect, and I have had my share of concerns and had no problem voicing them. But I voiced them to the Board and when allowed I worked with the board. Even though I did not always agree with their decisions I felt it was my duty as a parent and as a citizen to continue to support our most vital resource our children. I can personally attest that there have been some gains and I believe there are more to come. Consolidation/Unification is not the way to go at this time. Don’t allow Greed, Power and Control to prevail.
Please Vote No!! On Nov. the 8th.