I have spent the last four months attending the Dawson County Board of Education work sessions, meetings, and retreats in an effort to learn what goes into budgeting for our school system.
I knew there were cuts to the state education budget, but didn't realize how drastic these cuts became when combined with property re-evaluation, the 70 and over exemption, and the 5 mills provision.
Our board of education and administration have been agonizing for 10 years, since Republican Sonny Perdue became Governor and decided that education needed "austerity cuts," over where to cut so as not to hurt our children's future. And of course, the cuts got worse when we fell into recession at the end of George Bush's presidency. Then the pain of cuts to our schools got even worse.
After years of cutting corners and pinching pennies, the board finally said we must raise the millage.
It's not a big raise; it won't reinstate any of the previous 10 years of cuts. It will just make it so we don't have to hurt our children's opportunity for a good education.
At one of the hearings about the proposal, Chip Pearson, Republican Senator (retired) from North Georgia says: "Friends don't let friends raise taxes."
Well I am sorry Mr. Pearson, but communities don't let their children's education suffer because you don't want to pay an extra $50 a year for your schools.
Unfortunately, Mr. Pearson, along with many other Republican politicians, have signed Grover Norquist's no new taxes pledge.
They've pledged no new taxes under any circumstances.
Mr. Norquist says he has these on file and will "tell" on anyone who falls back on the pledge. This is like making a pledge when you are 10 years old with your best friend that you will always be best friends.
That would be nice if it happened, but what most likely happens is you grow up, move away, your values change, and your friends change. So grow up.
Times have changed and circumstances have changed. We need to think about our children's future.