Financial Issues of Consolidation @ LCBOE 1 November 2011

Video of the open forum Tuesday night at Lowndes High School where the Lowndes County Board of Education thoroughly addressed new evidence found by both them and CUEE. Partly through the information they presented at their previous forum of 4 October, they provoked dialog with CUEE in the form of several email messages from consolidation proponents distributed by the Chamber of Commerce. At Tuesday’s forum the Lowndes board and staff took CUEE’s messages as questions, looked up the answers (for example, how much did taxes rise in places where there was school consolidation recently?) and worked the result into their own computations. The general answer is still that consolidation wouldn’t improve education and would raise property taxes to near the state-mandated cap, yet that wouldn’t be enough to preserve all the existing school programs, and teachers and staff would also have to be let go.

So the Lowndes Board and the Valdosta board (several VBOE members plus Supt. Cason were present, and one repeated point was that the two school boards and staff talk to each other all the time) used CUEE’s questions to improve the case against consolidation while promoting community dialog. They even managed to criticize specific named individuals for specific messages they had posted, while not disparaging them personally. One board member even mentioned that a lawyer involved with CUEE was his lawyer and he expected that not to change after November 8th. Sam Allen of FVCS and several others asked excellent questions, which the Lowndes Board and staff actually answered as much as that was possible without predicting the future, occassionally calling on Dr. Cason for confirmation. Bravo, Lowndes and Valdosta Schools!

Also, bravo to Lowndes Schools Technical dept. for getting video of the event onto YouTube rapidly. I was there and took video, some of which I may post later so as to refer to particular segments. But this is a very good example of how local governmental bodies can make their own meetings available to the public themselves, thoroughly, completely, and with their own commentary. Bravo, indeed!

Here’s the video. Add it to all the other forums about school consolidation.

Financial Issues of Consolidation,
Community Forum, Lowndes County Board of Education (LCBOE),
Valdosta, Lowndes County, Georgia, 1 November 2011.
Videos by lowndestech for LCBOE, the Lowndes County Board of Education.