Irony, contradiction, hypocrisy...or a combination of all three?
With what is sure to be a very contentious vote for SPLOST IV, the Board of Ed., the new Superintendent and the Central Office are aggressively promising that the spending for SPLOST will be unassailable.
“One of the central missions of our administration is to assure parents, citizens and taxpayers that we are committed to accountability at all levels,” Dr. Atkinson said. “We will continue to enact policies to ensure oversight, transparency and efficiency. Our schools, parents and, most importantly, our children deserve nothing less.”
“Your dollars are in good hands, believe me,” Womack said, speaking on behalf of Colman’s professionalism and experience.
Yet, the leading advocate group for the passage of SPLOST IV, the nebulously named "Friends of DeKalb Education", doesn't abide by this new focus on transparency. Even though they are soliciting donations.
They have produced the "SPLOST for Schools" website, listing every possible positive for passing SPLOST, while virtually ignoring all of the issues with SPLOST III, and the fact that the last full-time supt. and Chief Operating Officer are under indictment for criminal enterprise related to SPLOST contracts and such.
The "Friends" also have a Facebook page. Nowhere on the website or Facebook page does it list who the "friends" are. No names, when they meet, who appointed them or if they are self-appointed, who funds them, when they meet, etc., etc.
Are they just a group of parents, and if so, why not say who they are? How are they funded? Are they companies who benefit from SPLOST passage, and the half a BILLION dollars that will flow their way because of it? Are they DCSS employees, retirees, consultants, etc.? Heck, are they Board of Ed members, or their friends and family?
SPLOST is supposed to be for the students, except when $2,000 chairs, $400k for lighting their meetings, hundreds of thousands to re-do an adequate parking lot, etc., are spent specifically for the Central Office's and BOE's Mountain Industrial Mega-Complex.
Who really most benefits from the passage (Follow the Money)?
Remember how effective the Citizen's Advisory Committee for SPLOST III was?
Is the construction contractor/former CAC chair, a "friend"?
From the Facebook page, there is little info. Whenever a question is asked on the page, a Fernbank parent/attorney is quick to respond. And another prominent Fernbank parent is the page's only "friend".
The SPLOST for School page promises:
- Builds Better Schools; Renovates and Upgrades Our Existing Schools
- Improves Technology in the Schools Throughout the County
- Benefits All Homeowners by Keeping Property Taxes Down
- Generates More Than 30% of Revenue From Shoppers and Tourists That Live Outside DeKalb County
- Creates Jobs and Increases Economic Activity in DeKalb Neighborhoods
- Reduces the Need for Portable Classrooms, Promoting a Better Learning and Teaching Environment for Our Students and Teachers
And this is almost as troubling as their lack of transparency, a veiled and ominous threat:
"IF SPLOST FOR SCHOOLS DOES NOT PASS, a portion of homestead exemptions for DeKalb County homeowners will automatically be revoked, effectively raising property taxes immediately. However, this will generate only $7.5 million dollars per year for capital improvements to schools. Most of these dollars would be needed just to cover bonds already issued for the replacement of Chamblee High School. Very few, if any, capital expansion or renewal projects on the approved list would be possible."
The "Friends" are actively soliciting donations so they can "persuade" us. Would they various companies who would benefit from SPLOST passage be willing contributors?
DONATE to the School SPLOST campaign so that we can persuade voters to say ‘YES’ to the School SPLOST with mailers, yard signs, and radio. Use the PayPal link at the right of this page or make your checks payable and send them to:
Friends of DeKalb Education
P.O. Box 607
Decatur, GA 30031
Am I wrong here? Does anyone know more about the "Friends" and SPLOST for School website? Why can't they simply state who they are, how they are funded, when the meet, etc.? But don't forget, they want to "persuade" you.