The Real Truth About School Consolidation by Supt. Smith to Lowndes County Schools

Received today. -jsq
Sent: Tue, October 25, 2011 7:55:07 AM
Subject: Letter to the Staff
Attached is a copy a document that was sent to all Lowndes County teachers and staff from Dr. Steve Smith.
Sam Allen
Samuel Allen, Superintendent Emeritus [Valdosta City Schools]
The letter is on the LAKE website. Here are a few excerpts:
REAL TRUTH: Continuing all of the current programs the Valdosta City School System and the Lowndes County School System have would require a millage rate of approximately 24 mills. Considering state law limits us to 21 mills, some programs will be eliminated. The decision to eliminate such programs will be recommended by the Lowndes County Superintendent, subject to final approval by the Lowndes County Board of Education. There will be winners and losers in consolidation and several current successful programs will likely have to go.
REAL TRUTH: One of the primary goals of CUEE is to increase diversity in the consolidated school system; therefore, you cannot increase diversity and leave what CUEE calls segregated schools. As a result, many students will be transported to other schools in order to achieve a school population that is representative of the demographics of our community. This will not only mean a shift of attendance zones of schools in the city and county, it will also mean a drastic increase in the cost of transportation of students. Dr. Terry Jenkins (the consolidation authority that CUEE brought in as their featured speaker at their forum) stated in his presentation at the CUEE forum that the morning after the consolidation in Troup County, he received a call from the Department of Justice mandating that he achieve a racial diversity within the school system that reflects the demographics of their community.
REAL TRUTH: Option 1 was not a bill introduced by the Georgia General Assembly; it was a revision to the State Constitution in 1983. Option 2 was a statute established in 1926. The Chamber of Commerce and CUEE NEVER proposed option 1 to either school board or superintendent. However, they did state that option 1 was not feasible because they knew the county would defeat any consolidation effort. It is ironic that CUEE uses the terminology unification. If they truly desired unification, they would have both the city and county voters engaged in the decision for or against consolidation. CUEE’s failure to allow the county voters a voice in consolidation has disenfranchised over half of the people affected by consolidation. If consolidation is approved and taxes increase, the county taxpayers will be a victim of taxation without representation. This is all part of CUEE’s plan to force consolidation regardless of the consequences. When one analyzes the number of organized groups who have publically opposed consolidation and compare that number to the mere two groups who promote consolidation, one would naturally question why we are even having this conversation at this time. For the Chamber leadership and CUEE, a private entity, to so forcefully promote such a divisive issue, one must question their motive.
Indeed, one must question their motive. Here are some thoughts on that.