Tag Archives: ballot

LibertYOUtbreak @ LO 2012-10-27

Open, non-partisan forum A local group, LibertYOUbreak, met at Valdosta High School Saturday for a series of brief talks of opinion on issues by a variety of local people.

The first talk, Why No on Amendment 1 by J.C. Cunningham for GA House District 175, has already been posted separately. Here’s a video playlist for the rest.

Talks, Liberty Outbreak (LO),
Video by John S. Quarterman for Lowndes Area Knowledge Exchange (LAKE),
VHS PAC, Valdosta, Lowndes County, Georgia, 27 October 2012.

First they showed an animated movie, The American Dream by the Provacateur Network, which is mostly about money as debt. As I remarked to one of the organizers afterwards, that’s also the theme of Debt: The First 5,000 Years, by David Graeber, one of the founders of Occupy Wall Street (here’s a video interview with him, and a text interview). The cartoon movie, while presenting that theme in some depth, only briefly mentions Wall Street and focuses on the Federal Reserve and an octopus-like long-lived financial villain it calls Red Shield, which is English for Rothschild. I find that last a bit far-fetched, not to say outdated, considering that recent research shows that the real current octopus-like set of interconnected corporations looks more like this. But then plenty of things were said in the recent local political forums that I didn’t agree with, either.


Why No on Amendment 1 —J.C. Cunningham for GA House District 175

J.C. Cunningham, running for state representative district 175, reminded us all that the basic purpose of the Georgia state government is to provide public education, according to its constitution, and that local school boards already can and do approve charter schools. He gave five reasons for voting No on Amendment 1:

  1. Because out-of-state corporations are paying for this campaign….
  2. It creates a new Atlanta-based government bureaucracy.
  3. The new commission will be filled by appointments done by politicians, not the citizens.
  4. Georgia already has 200 charter schools, and we’ve already proven the process works.
  5. A Yes vote would… cost us an additional $430 million while most of our schools are not open a full year as it is….

The only reasoning that I can tell you that proponents have been giving us is school choice, and again, they already have school choice; we have school choice. The only new things about Amendment 1 are higher cost and unnecessary state bureaucracy….

Here’s the video, followed by a partial transcript.

Why No on Amendment 1 —J.C. Cunningham for GA House District 175
Talks, Liberty Outbreak (LO),
Video by John S. Quarterman for Lowndes Area Knowledge Exchange (LAKE),
VHS PAC, Valdosta, Lowndes County, Georgia, 27 October 2012.

Partial transcript:

Continue reading

Charter school referendum in New Jersey?

Here’s another potential charter school referendum that BallotPedia doesn’t seem to have caught yet, in New Jersey.

John Mooney wrote for NJ Spotlight 3 February 2012, Assembly Committee Votes to Put Charters Under Local Control: Bill calls for local referendum on any school that wants to be granted a charter in a NJ district,

The Assembly education committee yesterday moved a bill that would give local voters the right to approve new charters in their home districts. If passed by both houses, the law would make New Jersey only the third state to require charter schools to face a local referendum.

First proposed last year, the new bill has been toughened for the new session. Amendments filed with the bill would make those referendums retroactive for as many as 30 urban and suburban schools awaiting their final charters.

The votes would come after the state’s preliminary approval, but often as much as a year can lapse before the final charter is granted and a school can open.

NJ bill A1877 seems to have gotten stuck in the NJ state Senate Education Committee back in May. It has 21 sponsors, starting with Patrick Diegnan (D-Middlesex), shown in the picture above.

Related bill A2147 got as far as a second reading in the Assembly in February.

Charter schools in Georgia already have to be approved by local school boards. Let’s not give up that local control. Vote No on the charter school referendum in November.


Support Public School education! —Karen Noll

Received today. -jsq

Dear Friends,

After learning abut the for-profit charter school issue from and the tax credits for private school tuition, I interpret today’s VDT articles as part of a political agenda to further dismantle a Georgia Constitutional right to Free Public School Education. Here we are again, let’s paint the schools as failing and then try to legitimize further defunding of the schools. And instead of Free Public Education the students from poor families will continue to get what ever is left when the well-to-do take their large piece of the public school education pie.


It is important that we understand that Free Public Education is clearly being
Continue reading

At the door of the most educational meeting —Karen Noll

Received today on A most educational meeting. -jsq
Thank you, John for that accurate description of the most bizarre meeting that I have ever attended.

Karen Noll and Dean Poling at the door
As I was not invited I remained at the door. Dean Polling came to the door 10 minutes late because he’d been roaming around Rainwater conference center with a few other folks before he found out the meeting was located here. This meeting was held on the date that the CUEE had given when it would unveil its education plan. So many assumed it would be at the conference center and open to the public.(LOL)

The plan put together by the unnamed education task force a sub committee of cuee pushed Levy into having it at VSU, when VSU has clearly stated they are taking NO side!! So CUEE’s educational plan was presented before the vote has been taken to an invited group at a public institution that is staying out of the whole stinking affair. This is all to strange to not ask why and who is behind this mess?

At the end when I told Myrna Ballard about the location

Continue reading

He who has the gold rules —Mike Hill

Finally, some truth from the Chamber! “Unification” has nothing to do with education, and everything to do with “He who has the gold rules.” Not any Realtors’ fault of course, “The Realtor doesn’t drive to showings; she just turns the wheel and hits the gas.” So they’d rather destroy public education through a proven failed “unification” than deal with their claimed perception problem. -jsq

‘No’ Vote May Hit You Where You Live

By Mike Hill
Valdosta resident

I’m not qualified to talk about the quality of school systems in Valdosta or Lowndes County, probably a rare admission these days. I am qualified to talk about the damage done to Valdosta residential real estate by the perception that one system is better than the other. It ain’t pretty and it’s getting worse.

I’ve been a Realtor since 1976, when newcomers couldn’t house hunt until they rolled in with the kids, dogs and all the furniture looking for yard signs and a local newspaper, which led them to agents and property managers, who then sold or rented them a home. Boy, has that changed!

I’ve got friends teaching or retired from both city and county systems who tell me that a good education is available from either system for students who want one. But newcomers concerned about their children’s education have consistently been getting a different message long before they ever see a “sale” or “rent” sign here.

Unlike even 10 years ago, Internet magic now allows newcomers to arrive armed with all the statistical knowledge our two school boards provide, plus state and federal statistics. And right or wrong, the perception those statistics create that one system is better or worse than the other travels like gossip between anybody anywhere in the world with an Internet connection who has or can create the slightest link to anybody in Valdosta/Lowndes County with one.

How do I know this? Because families walking into my real estate office to buy or rent “in the county school district” who have never been here before has been consistently increasing for years. Newcomers concerned about their children’s education will sacrifice a garage or fenced yard from the “wish list” for their new home, plus make higher payments, for a county location. It irks me that retired city school superintendent Sam Allen has publicly accused Realtors of adding to a problem that started well before he retired from the city school system. Realtors, he has publicly stated, avoid showing houses for sale in city school districts.

Space isn’t available to address the absurdity of that statement, except to quote the other side of the Golden Rule: “He who has the gold rules.” The Realtor doesn’t drive to showings; she just turns the wheel and hits the gas. The client started driving the car the minute he got into the passenger seat with his checkbook and knew where he wanted to go before he and his family came to town. Accurate or not, perceptions about differences in our split school system exist, with serious consequences in several different directions that aren’t going away. Industries may avoid us, for instance, and we’ll never know how many jobs we lost. In real estate, “perception” makes the value of a house on the city side of a street worth less than an identical house on the county side of the street.

Neither of those things are good and without change, it’s not going to get any better, either.

A most educational meeting: VSU, Wiregrass Tech, CUEE, FVCS, et al.

Only Lemony Snicket could do justice to the peculiarity of last night’s most educational meeting at VSU’s Continuing Education building, about K-12 education even though neither school superintendent was there, most of the school board members were not present, and it was presided over by two very uneasy college presidents.

Who called it was unclear, who was invited even less, for what purpose there was no consensus, yet there was a decision by the pair of presiding college presidents. It was somehow about the general state of education in Valdosta and Lowndes County, Georgia, although the topic of consolidation was discussed only by the frequent admonitions that it was not to be discussed, and for that matter that nothing else related to educational improvements should be discussed until after the November 8th consolidation referendum. Both school system superintendents were elsewhere at a conference of school superintendents. A few Valdosta City School Board members were in attendance, although none of them said anything. I didn’t recognize any Lowndes County School Board members. There were no introductions to the group, other than self-introductions by the two college presidents. Maybe you can identify some of the attendees.

CUEE Vice-Chair Rusty Griffin near left, Chamber President Myrna Ballard far right, VBOE Member Jeana Beeland and CUEE Board Member Tom Kurrie near corner of the tables, SCLC President Rev. Floyd Rose to Kurrie’s right. FVCS President Sam Allen is near the far end of the left side of the table. CUEE Board Member Walter Hobgood is near the far end of the right side of the table.

There was no agenda. There was a document to be presented, but it was not handed out to the attendees, and the principal presider, VSU interim president Dr. Louis Levy, refused Continue reading

Why CUEE turned shy

So why did the list of community supporters disappear from CUEE’s website? After a most educational meeting this evening so peculiar only Lemony Snicket could really write it up properly (more on that later), I found the answer to that question.

First I asked Lee Henderson, who was on that list. He admitted he knew, but he wouldn’t say. He suggested I talk to CUEE.

Tom Kurrie walked up at that point, and I asked Henderson if Kurrie was CUEE. Henderson said I would know that better than he would, which caused me to refer to Black Crow’s Mr. Henderson as very modest and humble.

Tom Kurrie remarked that he always saw me with a camera, and at a previous event I’d asked him what was in unification for him. He reminded me he’d answered there was nothing in it for him, and I observed that was a good answer. Anyway, I asked CUEE Board Member Mr. Thompson Kurrie, Jr. what went with the list of supporters. He allowed as how he didn’t really visit the web site very often, since he wasn’t good with computers.

So I asked who would know? He said that fellow over there at the table with the sign-in sheet, Daniel Storey. Continue reading

Valdosta graduation rates

In his updated Grassroots Handbook Against School Consolidation David Mullis included as new material a revised response to CUEE statement #2 for graduation rates, which contains these percentages:

He then asks:

Therefore, one must ask, "Why would CUEE say the graduation rate for Valdosta High School is in the low 50% range for all students and below 50% for African Americans? The answer is simple. CUEE wants to mislead the voters into believing that the graduation rate for Valdosta High School is lower than it actually is. Therefore, not only does CUEE make false statements, it also fails to state that the graduation rate has improved significantly over the past 5 years for all students and for African American Students. Again, this is an attempt by CUEE to give the appearance that something other than what is being done must be done. They do not tell us what should be done other than to consolidate the school systems. The logic is frightening to say the least.
Here’s a suggestion on what to do about that.


Update: The Grassroots Handbook Against School Consolidation —David Mullis

Received today. -jsq
Dear Media:

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

Continue reading