Whether Rep. Jay Roberts or the superintendent has the true budget numbers, it still boils down to a misappropriation of funds, perhaps by both parties. However, as a teacher and a parent of Tift County, it is very transparent that there is much frivolous spending in Tift County. Mr. Superintendent is correct in saying that the BOE and his office have held workshops, etc.; however, if the truth be known, the majority of teachers can't speak up for fear of retaliation. We have had our fill of "thanks for all you do" responses. The morale in Tift County Schools is at an all-time low. Student behavior is awful, punishment is minimal, student motivation and work ethic are predominately non-existent, and administration doesn't support teachers. The superintendent wrote that "the BOE can no longer balance the budget on the backs of our staff." Who, Mr. Superintendent, do you think is included in your tax increase......teachers! I believe it is time for new leadership at the BOE. There are very few in Tift County who make six digit salaries, therefore; it is easy for the superintendent to raise taxes.
Mr Atwater was very verbal about his situation (excessively, in my opinion). Improvements come about in changing existing procedures, not throwing more money to maintain flawed ones. Pre-K could be eliminated, and have 1-5, 6-8, 9-12 grade levels to separate schools to cut down on transportation expenses (for economic reasons, not social ones) and a truly professional approach (experts) to HVAC costs which drive up energy costs. Air conditioning, (which I never had in school), could be much better managed and I suspect is 25 percent of the budget. There are many ways to cut costs besides staff. You need an outside view to see this. I believe this is what Mr Atwater is seeking, but I could be wrong.
Now we need for all the teachers in the Tift County school system to step up and add their opinion about the necessity to increase the property taxes of Tift County residents (and their own) to continue the financial policies of the present school board and their superintendent and any improvements to the present shortfall in the budget.