In a article in the newest DeKalb Neighbor, "County to close four schools after this year", Crawford Lewis asks for support for SPLOST IV:
Lewis said he would be asking DeKalb County voters to support an extension of the Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax program to help fund capital improvement projects at school facilities. DeKalb County shoppers pay a voter-approved 1 percent sales tax that goes to the school system. The current tax, SPLOST III, expires in 2012. Lewis said he will ask voters to approve SPLOST IV in November 2011. “Our needs are great and we need your support.”
Here is the big question, can taxpayers and parents trust the current Board of Education and Crawford Lewis-led school system administration with another SPLOST that will raise tens of millions of dollars, if not more?
There is no question the needs are great, especially if you have walked the facilities (and rest rooms) at Cross Keys, Lakeside and Sequoyah Middle.
However, this current administration and BOE has had scandal after scandal after mistake with handling our taxes. Whether the Pat Pope debacle, the addition of countless administrators, the incredible increase in pay for administrators over the past five years, nepotism, the Heery Mitchell lawsuit, the bait and switch with Arabia Mountain High, $300,000 for BOE lights, hundreds of thousands to redo the in fine condition parking lot at the Mountain Industrial mega-complex, half a million of dollars for an investigation by a retired judge that wasn't written down (?) but given verbally, millions for America's Choice, millions for the failed eSIS software, tens of millions for MIS with little to show for it in the classrooms, the $400k California trip, millions on instructional coaches/supervisors, Tony Hunter's promotion from director to executive director despite a very bad year from MIS, Executive Director of Corporate Wellness, Crawford's vehicle purchase and gas fillup disgrace, the school system fighting in court stream buffer violations in Dunwoody which cost more than making the fixes, the failure of the school system to share facilities with the county, the insistance by Paul Womack that the tiny Heritage school could fit 600 students and staff, the complete and utter failure by the Lewis administration to thoroughly check residency, etc., etc., etc.
There are so many facility needs in our schools, but this current administration focuses first on the needs of administrators, and the BOE has been their enabler. Ignoring school needs like mold and mildew in HVAC systems, leaking roofs, holes in floors, etc., all a common refrain from our school teachers. The beautiful Arabia Mountain High School was supposed to relieve overcrowding in South DeKalb but was then switched to a magnet school and did not relieve overcrowding.
As parents and taxpayers, do we allow the Lewis administration and current Board of Education to spend millions while we cross our hands, or do we send a message that waste, inefficiency, and administrative bloat will no longer be tolerated? Tough call. Let's hear your take, DCSW-er's!!