Quick Update

Quick Update

I enjoyed the National School Boards Association Federal Relations Network conference in Washington. I attended with about 20 other school board members from across Georgia. I hope to give a complete rundown of the conference at our February 11th Board Meeting.
It was a great conference, but I’m sorry I missed the January 28th Board Meeting. We are certainly faced with some very difficult decisions.

As a BOE member and parent I am acutely aware of the impact our budget decisions have on our teachers, employees, and students. Cuts to teaching positions and school closings are not decisions that any of us want to make. I understand the possible negative impact that it will have on our system, our students, and our communities. Unfortunately they may be decisions that I feel forced to make by our economic situation. Sadly the situation that we are in is also shared by so many of the school systems across Georgia and the rest of the country.

As we deal with the unfortunate consequences of continued declining revenue – roughly $90 million in state funds over the last decade and over $21 million in local property taxes in the last 4 years – we must figure out ways to offer the best education to all of our students with a lot less money than the citizens of Fayette County are either used to or deserve. We must also continue to make cuts to a budget that has already been cut significantly over the past 5 years.

We must also be aware of the impact on our most important resource – our teachers. Our teachers and other employees have already had a pay cut and have had their health insurance premiums increase greatly. At some point we must deal with our decreasing enrollment without continuing to further place all of the burdens on the backs of those who nurture our children every day.

I know that all of our schools have tremendous support from their families and teachers and that no one wants their school to close or change. Closing a school, especially a wonderful high-performing school like FIS, FMS, Brooks or Tyrone is a measure of last resort, but as our revenues continue to decline, we must examine every option available to us and make hard choices in such a way as to least impact every one of our students. There is no doubt that closing any of these schools would be a huge loss to the community and Fayette County as a whole.

I know as a community we can work together to get through these tough times. I also value your input. Please know that I respond to any emails I get and I am also happy to arrange to meet with individuals or groups.


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