Monday, May 23, 2016

E-SPLOST, Let's Hope Not

DeKalb Schools' track record with education SPLOSTs offers little hope for the upcoming SPLOST but if history tells us anything it is that it will pass anyway.  Some claim that Superintendent Green has not been specific enough regarding what the SPLOST will buy. But can he really say "Just like last time we'll use this SPLOST to finish up our commitments on the last SPLOST." Because then it is turtles all the way down.

There there is the pretty well documented fact that DeKalb Schools, on the whole, consistently underperform against the other systems in Georgia. And it isn't like Georgia is topping the charts in the nation. Add to this research suggesting more money is not the answer and that expenditures per student negatively correlate with positive outcomes and it gets very difficult to entertain the notion of voting them another pile of money. And we're not alone. Strong voices in the community are poised to have the schools forgo future tax rise opportunities to divert money to development suggesting a clear set of priorities. Funding schools isn't at the top.

But how could it be? DeKalb has the highest millage rate of any school in the state. Some claim it is illegally high and that it is a funding hangover from the days Perimeter College was run by DCSD. [Note to self: once you give a government or its agency a funding stream you can never, ever shut it off.] They've not been good stewards of the cash they've gotten, and it is more than just horrible education outcomes. We've been sending school officials to jail. Hell, we're sending more than just a few graduates, and yes, dropouts to jail.

So maybe it would be best if Superintendent Green had only one item on his SPLOST list: DCSD will reduce the millage rate until it is below the legal limit. If we can't make it good can we at least make it cheaper?