Tag Archives: industry

School consolidation as disaster capitalism

School consolidation would set up an artificial fiscal disaster that could force the “unified” public school system to turn to private foundations for funding, at the price of control of public education by private entities. This is disaster capitalism, or the shock doctrine, right here in Valdosta and Lowndes County.

What’s the Shock Doctrine? It’s been around for a long time, but Naomi Klein researched it for her book of the same name. It’s

“the rapid-fire corporate reengineering of societies still reeling from shock”
She was writing mostly about wars, terrorist attacks, and natural disasters. Locally here we haven’t had any of those. But we may be about to create a disaster, a shock, at the ballot box in November, if voters fall for the school “unification” snake oil.

What’s the next step after CUEE has accidentally revealed that Continue reading

LCBOE did its homework about consolidation, 5 October 2011

Unlike consolidation proponents, the Lowndes County Board of Education did its homework, showed it to us all, and could answer questions, all demonstrating that school consolidation would not improve education, would increase expenses and taxes, and far from bringing in more industry would probably drive some away by reducing the quality of education.

Tuesday evening, going beyond the research it had already published, Dr. Troy Davis took CUEE’s own figures for how much more consolidation would require to be spent per each Valdosta City school student, and demonstrated that not only would that require raising taxes for both Valdosta and Lowndes County residents to near the state-capped maximum of 21 mils, but even then there is no way enough tax revenue would be generated to pay for all the things CUEE proposes to do after consolidation, and probably not even enough taxes to continue employing all the teachers currently employed by the two school systems. Oh, plus consolidation would lose state and federal grant money by increasing the composite school system size, so the local taxpayers would have to make up that slack, too.

Jerome Tucker, on fire as a cheerleader, spelled out his life-long Continue reading

How did we get here? —JC Cunningham

Received Friday. -jsq
Things really have not changed have they? There are still people out there who believe they can force their will on the people regardless of the circumstances. I still cannot believe that we are here. Consolidation, Unification, where did this come from? What mind first came up with this idea and what is the real motive behind it?

Eight months ago when I heard that Rusty Griffin and his merry band of followers were once again trying to force unification down peoples throats, I never thought it would catch on and would just fizzle away. Oh, how wrong.

Over the months this consolidation issue that I thought would never gain steam is now on the ballot and could possible pass this Nov. 8th.

I have seen this thing divide friends, families, co-workers and even

Continue reading

The end game is …. —Karen Noll

Received yesterday on “the qualified voters voting thereon in each separate school system proposed to be consolidated”. -jsq
Questions abound: Why is it that Lowndes County residents will not be voting on the most important issue to face their school system since its inception in 1950?

If I lived in the county I’d be mad that CUEE and the Chamber of Commerce chose to leave my vote out of such a very important decision.

Quick fact: Consolidation alone will not save money & Consolidation alone will not improve academic success, according to the Vinson Institute report commissioned by CUEE and the Chamber.

Further Query: Why would CUEE and the Chamber of Commerce spend $50 grand to collect the signatures for the petition causing the City of Valdosta to spend thousands of tax dollars (2 staff dedicated to task & 4 temps hired) to verify the signatures on the petition?

Continue reading

Three things to actually improve education —John S. Quarterman

People ask me why I oppose CUEE. It’s because I’d rather actually improve education instead.

It seems to me the burden of proof is on the people proposing to make massive changes in the local education system. And CUEE has not provided any evidence for their position. Sam Allen of Friends of Valdosta City Schools (FVCS) pithily sums up CUEE:

“It’s not about the children. It’s about somebody’s ego.”
I don’t think the children should have to suffer for somebody’s ego.

CUEE’s unification push isn’t about education. It’s about a “unified platform” to attract industry. That alone is enough reason to oppose “unification”. It’s not about education!

As former Industrial Authority Chair Jerome Tucker has been heard to remark on numerous occassions, “nobody ever asked me how many school systems we had!” The only example in Georgia CUEE points to for this is the Kia plant that came to Troup County, Georgia. It’s funny how none of the locals seem to have mentioned any such connection in the numerous articles published about the Kia plant. Instead, the mayor of the town with the Kia plant complains that his town doesn’t have a high school. That’s right: he’s complaining that the school system is too consolidated! The only actual education between Kia and education in Troup County is with West Georgia Tech, the local technical college.

CUEE has finally cobbled together an education committee, but it won’t even report back before the proposed ballot referendum vote. CUEE has no plan to improve education.

If CUEE actually did want to help the disadvantaged in the Valdosta City schools, Continue reading

Lowndes County has to pay Industrial Authority’s bond debts

According to the Intergovernmental Contract between VLCIA and Lowndes County:
WHEREAS, the Authority and the County propose to enter into this Contract, pursuant to which the Authority will agree, among other things, to issue the Bonds, and the County will agree, among other things, to pay to the Authority amounts sufficient to pay the debt service on the Bonds.
So it seems the Lowndes County Commission committed the county, that is, we the taxpayers, to pay the debt service on $15,000,000 in bonds issued by VLCIA.

Still, what did VLCIA want $15 million in bonds for when it already gets $3 million a year in its own tax millage?

WHEREAS, the Authority proposes to acquire and develop one or more parcels of land located in the County for potential economic development purposes (the “Project”);
To buy land to trade to new industries as they come in. A variation on what Brad Lofton got fired for doing in Effingham County. Continue reading

I’m all for openness —Tom Call

The member who hardly ever speaks at board meetings makes a strong case for openness.

Tom Call called me back about the biomass plant, and we talked about a number of other matters. He remarked that he was not an appointed spokesperson for the Industrial Authority, so this is just him talking.

I asked him about Ashley Paulk’s remarks in the 26 April 2011 Lowndes County Commission meeting. Tom Call said VLCIA was not standing behind any other body, and he clarified what had happened.

He said the biomass plant had been brought to the Industrial Authority by Continue reading

Talk to my chairman —VLCIA board members

Yesterday I wrote that we were left with hearsay through Ashley Paulk and people he talked to about what the Industrial Authority is up to, and I had left telephone messages with all five VLCIA board members. So far, three out of five have called me back.

Roy Copeland referred me to VLCIA Chairman Jerry Jennett for an update about the present status of the biomass plant.

He also had many good things to say about the activism in the community, including this:

Because people in the community are concerned, that makes us better. And sometimes there are good things that come out of disagreement.
This opinion is not new from him: he told me many of the same positive things about activism months ago after a VLCIA board meeting. We discussed that there were other things VLCIA does that were worth supporting.

He also said he is in favor of putting the minutes online, Continue reading

Biomass is a bad idea —Matt Flumerfelt @ VLCIA 19 April 2011

Matt Flumerfelt says he’s a musician, writer, and poet, and doesn’t usually go in for speaking about politics. But he’s come to the conclusion that the biomass plant is a bad idea.

Here’s the video:

Biomass is a bad idea —Matt Flumerfelt @ VLCIA 19 April 2011
Regular monthly meeting, Valdosta-Lowndes County Industrial Authority, VLCIA,
Norman Bennett, Roy Copeland, Tom Call, Mary Gooding, Jerry Jennett chairman,
J. Stephen Gupton attorney, Allan Ricketts Acting Executive Director, 19 April 2011,
Videos by Gretchen Quarterman and John S. Quarterman
for LAKE, the Lowndes Area Knowledge Exchange.


Wiregrass Solar is connected to the grid —Col. Ricketts @ VLCIA 19 April 2011

Acting Executive Director Allan Ricketts reported to the VLCIA board that the Wiregrass Solar plant is connected to the grid now. He gave a bit of detail about the commissioning ceremony that was cancelled due to weather; apparently dignitaries from across the state were expected to attend. No new date has been set. He’s still supposed to let me know when the new date is set.

Here’s the video:

Wiregrass Solar is connected to the grid —Col. Ricketts @ VLCIA 19 April 2011
Biomass protesters,
Regular monthly meeting, Valdosta-Lowndes County Industrial Authority, VLCIA,
Norman Bennett, Roy Copeland, Tom Call, Mary Gooding, Jerry Jennett chairman,
J. Stephen Gupton attorney, Allan Ricketts Acting Executive Director, 19 April 2011,
Videos by Gretchen Quarterman and John S. Quarterman
for LAKE, the Lowndes Area Knowledge Exchange.