Tuesday evening, going beyond the research it had already published, Dr. Troy Davis took CUEE’s own figures for how much more consolidation would require to be spent per each Valdosta City school student, and demonstrated that not only would that require raising taxes for both Valdosta and Lowndes County residents to near the state-capped maximum of 21 mils, but even then there is no way enough tax revenue would be generated to pay for all the things CUEE proposes to do after consolidation, and probably not even enough taxes to continue employing all the teachers currently employed by the two school systems. Oh, plus consolidation would lose state and federal grant money by increasing the composite school system size, so the local taxpayers would have to make up that slack, too.
Jerome Tucker, on fire as a cheerleader, spelled out his life-long involvement in every facet of local industry plus his involvement in both school systems, including in Community Partners in Education (CPIE) since its inception (remember CUEE’s Walter Hobgood didn’t even know what CPIE was). Then Jerome stated from his personal experience:
Folks, the truth is, I have never, never, been asked whether I’ve got one system or two. Never! I have never asked anyone whether they have one system or two.
Fred Wetherington (my school board member) related how the consolidation idea started at the Chamber when he was there and how it seemed like a good idea at the time, but when he looked at the actual research, it became clear that consolidation would not improve education, would not reduce expenses, and would not bring in more industry, so now he opposes it.
Most of the Valdosta School Board and its superintendent were there. I didn’t see any of the CUEE board, although CUEE supporter Roy Taylor stood up and asked a question. Unlike CUEE’s selection from written questions, LCBOE let people come to the microphone and ask their own questions. Plenty of FVCS and other anti-consolidation people were in there, and some asked questions.
Where was CUEE? Why can’t they hold their own in an open discussion? Maybe because they don’t do their homework and the school boards do?
Those are a few highlights. Videos will follow.