I am sure you are aware that the vote of whether or not to consolidate the Valdosta City Schools into the Lowndes County School System will be held November 8, 2011. The City only is being asked to vote on whether to dissolve the Valdosta City School charter. The proponents of the referendum had a choice between putting the referendum in front of the county and city or the city alone. The Lowndes County Board of Education asked
the proponents to allow both the city and the county to vote if they chose to go forward. Instead, the proponents moved forward under a 1926 law that allows the city to vote to revoke its charter. The county is not allowed to vote. If this happens, the county residents will be forced to carry the burden of consolidation without any say so in the matter.
The proponents appear to have chosen the 1926 law and a low turnout election year to seek this referendum under the theory that a minority of voters in favor can become a majority in an off election year, especially if the voters are un-informed, indifferent or mislead.
Accordingly, the proponents of consolidation have embarked on a very expensive campaign of false and misleading information and have invoked race issues in radio and mail-out political advertisement implying that Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s “Dream” would require a vote for consolidation. In addition, they have provided absolutely zero evidence that consolidation will increase academic performance, reduce the expense of education or increase economic performance. In fact, the evidence shows just the opposite.
I have composed a Grassroots Handbook Against School Consolidation: The Truth About School Consolidation in Valdosta/Lowndes County that was issued October 12, 2011 to bring some coherency to the real issues, to expose all of the false and misleading information put forth by the proponents of school consolidation, and to show that consolidation is not in the best interest of the children or community at this time. It will impede the progresses recently experienced by Valdosta City Schools and will produce a tremendous economic hardship on the community all in a time of economic crisis.
Attached is my latest revision (101811) of the Grassroots Handbook that updates the response to the proponents accusation concerning graduation rates at Valdosta High School. I have also updated and added additional information or responses. I am sending this out to as many media who may be interested in setting the record straight on this consolidation issue in Valdosta, Georgia. You may post or distribute this Handbook widely and freely. The purpose is to inform the electorate and help them make a wise choice.
I will continue to update this Handbook as issues arise that need to be examined. If you have any issues that are not addressed but you think should be addressed and added to the handbook, please let me know. If you have any other information or questions, please email me. Thanks.
David E. Mullis