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BoE wasting tax money
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Editor,  As an election year approaches, it is time for citizens in Liberty County to be made aware of all the wasteful spending within our county. You know of spending for entrances to industrial parks and putting in a traffic circle that emergency vehicles cannot move around. What you are not told about is the spending within the school system. Rarely are the very most important issues voted on by school board members reported in the newspaper.
In 2001-02, this school system housed as many as 14,500 students during the school year. There were 32 employees assigned to central office positions. Due to the expected increase in population, schools were built to accommodate that number of students. By 2005-06, the student population was 10,903. There were 66 employees assigned to central office positions. As the school year ended for 2008-09, the student population was 10,481. There were 85 employees assigned to central office positions.
There are empty classrooms all over the county. Midway Middle School lost many teacher positions from 2008-09 to 2009-10 due to this drop in student population. When defending the Liberty County School Board’s decision to build a new middle school to open in fall 20l0 on leased government property, Becky Carter stated in the paper last spring that all of our middle schools are over­crowded.
This school year opened with 10,250 students. Snelson-Golden Middle was built to house 1,200 students and now has approximately 750 students to start this school year. They can still house around 500 more students. The current middle school space will house 3,000 students. The 2008-09 school year closed with 2,454 middle school students. The 2009-10 school year opened with 2,299 middle school students. When Midway Middle opened, the school could not be filled without transporting students from the middle of town (Highway 84 across from Lowe’s) and Fort Stewart. There are currently classrooms at Midway Middle School used as offices because there are not enough students to fill the school, even transporting from the middle of town.
Even after knowing the student population has been declining and knowing that a new brigade was not coming to Fort Stewart, school board members voted to build a new middle school that will house 900 more students. They are budgeting $20,000,000 of our tax money to build a school that likely will either have empty classes or cause an existing middle school to have even more empty classrooms. In 1995, when Lewis Fraser Middle School was built, it was built and wired so that four more classrooms could be added to the end of each wing and could therefore house 300 more students. Why did the school board not use that option for housing more students before building another school?
Maybe teachers would not have to be furloughed if board members could spend money more wisely. After all, the governor left the furlough decision to the local boards.
What can we do as citizens to change the spending behaviors of the central office staff and among the elected school board members? Get angry enough about how your money is spent and elect new representatives.
Next year, four board positions are to be elected. Do not let any of the existing members run unopposed. Find someone in your district where positions are to be elected to run. Maybe new members will be able to do simple math and know when schools are overcrowded enough to justify building and not misuse our tax dollars.
I sure recognize that they clearly have a hidden agenda for building a school on leased property when there are empty classrooms in the county.
We currently are building a new middle school that is clearly not needed. Presently our middle schools are not “overcrowded” and there is no evidence that large number of students will be arriving to the Liberty County School System any time soon. The paper reported recently that a rumor was circulating that a high school was going to be built on Fort Stewart. Dr. Judy Scherer stated in the paper that Fort Stewart representatives assured that there are no plans for a high school on post and that Liberty County has no plans for a third high school at this time because of the declining student population. If a third high school is not being planned, then why has the school board voted to approve a charter petition for the Liberty County College and Career Academy? The proof of that information can be found written in the July 28, 2009, school board minutes on the LCSS Web site. It smells like a third high school to me. Whatever their hidden agenda is, I bet I will pay more taxes to make it happen.

Bucky Keel

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