I appreciate Rep. Kevin Tanner's commitment to providing a forum for the public to ask questions and express concerns.
As a career-long educator, in public school systems (by choice), I am dismayed and concerned about his response regarding funding for Georgia Public Schools.
When asked to consider a minimal tax increase for public education, Tanner replied that, unlike democrats, he is financially conservative.
Well, perhaps he defines his financial conservatism in relation to the topic at hand, or, his degree of conservatism by the times at hand.
Either way, Dawson County (as several other counties in the state) provides residents over the age of 70 the ability to no longer pay a school tax.
It is a substantial reduction in taxes, and an attractive pull to this population. I understand the rationale, whether I agree with it or not.
I cannot understand how he addresses the question in such an off-handed way given the facts regarding our state and where it stands in: Tax revenue collection (47th of 50), tax rate (fourth lowest in the country), and per public school student expenditure (38th out of 50.)
His response feels like a flippant non answer to me.
He stated that he is writing legislation to be introduced very soon to the House that would attempt to turn around Georgia failing schools.
It is the hope of many that it will not simply be a reworded duplication of what the governor asked us to vote upon in last November's election.
That legislation would have privatized public education and, if dissected for the long-term, helped only the more fortunate and able.
Financial conservatism is an important priority. There are a myriad of areas in Georgia that receive funding from the state.
It is through the decision-making process of who gets what and when that successful, strategic and beneficial long-term planning is achieved.
Perhaps Tanner's new education legislation will provide Georgia with a plan that is all student-centered, and his recommendations will be driven by the desire for strong public schools with strong educators, and involve and are sustained by the families and communities that surround them, all of the children in our state deserve no less.
Gregg Anne Zubay