Tag Archives: Community Forum

Taxation without Representation —John S. Quarterman @ LCBOE 4 Oct 2011

As my mother, who used to teach at Pine Grove Elementary School (not a High School at that time), used to say, it takes a big man to admit it when he’s wrong, and Fred Wetherington is a big man
because he thought it was a good idea. He looked at the evidence; he looked at the research; and determined it was not a good idea.

I look forward to the members of CUEE standing up and being big men and women because the research, their own research, and the research that we’ve heard tonight, the research from Tennessee, and the research from Troup County: consolidation is not a good idea.

And I’m still waiting for some CUEE big men or women….

Anyway, my question: Continue reading

What will happen to programs and SPLOST? —Sam Allen @ LCBOE 4 October 2011

Sam Allen offered his head as a crystal ball. Dr. Smith replied it wasn’t clear enough. Everybody laughed at that as this video started, in which Allen, president of Friends of Valdosta City Schools (FVCS), and former superintendent of Valdosta City Schools, asked several questions, most of which Dr. Smith would have had to have had a crystal ball to answer. The questions included what will happen to certain programs, and what will happen to Valdosta School SPLOST funds.

Lowndes County School System Attorney Warren Turner did clarify a bit of what would happen if consolidation passes:

If consolidation occurs, there is no such thing as the Valdosta City School System, from the date the Georgia Secretary of State approves it.

Once they certify the election, there is no central office of the Valdosta City School System. There is a property located on William Street that is part of the Lowndes County School System….

The real question is where would the funds desginated for those facilities go, and can you even spend it? Tax Commissioner doesn’t know; Attorney General doesn’t know; and we don’t know.

Sam Allen joked:
CUEE, they probably know.
Everybody thought that was pretty funny.

Here’s the video:

What will happen to programs and SPLOST? —Sam Allen @ LCBOE 4 October 2011
Why we oppose consolidation,
Community Forum, Lowndes County Board of Education (LCBOE),
Valdosta, Lowndes County, Georgia, 4 October 2011.
Videos by Gretchen Quarterman for LAKE, the Lowndes Area Knowledge Exchange.


Is consolidation inevitable? —David Mullis @ LCBOE 4 Oct 2011

David Mullis, author of the most basic and comprehensive resource on school consolidation, the Grassroots Handbook Against School Consolidation, noted that the Chamber and CUEE had tried to paint Valdosta School Supt. Dr. Cason and Lowndes School Supt. Dr. Smith as saying school consolidation was inevitable.

Dr. Smith replied:

I use the word “may”. It may occur. I’m not like CUEE; I don’t have a crystal ball to predict the future.
David Mullis asked for further clarification based on the data we have today.

Supt. Smith’s answer:

Now is the worst possible time to even consider consolidation or any other education innovation that’s going to cost more money that has possibly little or no return.

Here’s the video: Continue reading

What effect will this have on teachers’ jobs and salary? @ LCBOE 4 Oct 2011

Someone (didn’t get her name; sorry) wanted to know how CUEE could say, on their glossy flyer they mailed out, that no teachers would lose their jobs. Supt. Smith responded that there would be winners and losers, and unfortunately more winners than losers. Yes, teachers have contracts. However, due to the economy, Lowndes County Schools already have a Reduction in Force (RIF) policy, through which they have offered retirement and about 80 teachers have already taken advantage of it.

Here’s the video:

What effect will this have on teachers’ jobs and salary? @ LCBOE 4 Oct 2011
Why we oppose consolidation,
Community Forum, Lowndes County Board of Education (LCBOE),
Valdosta, Lowndes County, Georgia, 4 October 2011.
Videos by Gretchen Quarterman for LAKE, the Lowndes Area Knowledge Exchange.


Has CUEE compared parental involvement between school systems? —a parent @ LCBOE 4 October 2011

A parent (didn’t get her name; sorry) who said her children were in Lowndes County schools and she had gone to Valdosta City schools wanted to know if CUEE had collected any data to compare parental involvement between the two school systems.
Parental involvement is not as high as it should be… and the first step will be to start in everyone’s home….
(Oh, and I can hear Continue reading

Bussing is a natural consequence of consolidation —Warren Turner to Roy Copeland @ LCBOE 4 Oct 2011

Two attorneys brought a point into the light that CUEE doesn’t like to talk about: bussing is a natural consequence of consolidation. That was stated by the attorney for the Lowndes County School System, Warren Turner, 4 October 2011.

Roy Copeland brought up some names from the past: Mrs. Copeland or Mrs. Adams, and the newscasters Huntley and Brinkley. He then asked about the consent decree on desegregation from back in that era:

Has anyone given any thoughts to the issues relative to the consentdecreee, desegregation, and the realignment of school districts relative to the Voting Rights Act 1965 preclearance, and all those other issues.
Lowndes County Schools Attorney Warren Turner answered the question, after Roy Copeland mentioned they were neighbors. The answer was basically that there would be a hearing before November 8th. Hm, I wonder what happened with that? As far as what happens if consolidation is approved by the Valdosta voters, he said, among other things:
So the concept of a neighborhood school, where everybody stays where they are, is not going to happen in my opinion, because the federal government is not going to allow that to happen.

Finally, Roy Copeland asked: Continue reading

Are you gonna get the parents involved? —Roy Taylor @ LCBOE 4 October 2011

Roy Taylor said his grandson graduated from Lowndes County High. He must be a lot older than he seems, since LCHS closed about 1968 when it was combined with Hahira High School to create Lowndes High School.

He did have a good point, though (paraphrasing): 80% of prisoners are less than 30 years old.

  • $60,000 a year to keep a person in prison.
  • $30,000 a year to keep them in college.
His question:
Are you gonna get the parents involved?
Lowndes County Schools Supt. Smith responded that they are working diligently through Community Partners in Education to do that. He also talked about Valdosta and Lowndes schools already improving their graduation rates. And school, home, and community as three legs of a stool.
We’re striving to do better every day.

Here’s the video: Continue reading

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 Continue reading

Consolidation was about economic development —Fred Wetherington @ LCBOE 4 Oct 2011

Current LCBOE member Fred Wetherington said he was on the Chamber of Commerce Board and is still a member. Remembering how consolidation started at the Chamber:
The whole idea was could it help us with economic development in our community. At the same time could we increase student achievement. And could we save the taxpayers money.

Well, I’m here to tell you tonight that I was one of the board members… that if that theory and those ideas had held up after research and study, I would be supporting this idea.

But he doesn’t. Because that theory and those ideas did not hold up.

He might have settled for something less than that: Continue reading

We did talk to the consolidators —Philip Poole @ LCBOE 4 Oct 2011

Current Lowndes County Board of Education (LCBOE) member Philip Poole said various members of both school boards have met with consolidation proponents, and had asked them to involve the whole community in any decisions. Since that didn’t happen, there’s been less involvement lately. And the referendum is solely about dissolving the Valdosta School System, which would trigger the Lowndes system having to take over. Which would result in losing federal and state funding due to the resulting school system being larger.

Here’s the video:

Referendum is to dissolve Valdosta School District —Philip Poole @ LCBOE 4 Oct 2011
Why we oppose consolidation,
Community Forum, Lowndes County Board of Education (LCBOE),
Valdosta, Lowndes County, Georgia, 4 October 2011.
Videos by Gretchen Quarterman for LAKE, the Lowndes Area Knowledge Exchange.