Over 60 Rockdale County residents attended a School Tax Referendum Forum at Epiphany Lutheran Church on Tuesday to discuss the Rockdale County Public School System's millage rate.
The forum was put together by Sharon Pharr of the Rockdale Watchdogs, Gerald Barger of the GA 29 HOA Coalition and Sam Smiley of BOCwatch.org, who led the presentation with a lecture and Power Point show.
Smiley began the presentation telling the crowd about the history of Rockdale County's millage rate and how it was presented on a Referendum in 1965. The initial Referendum to raise Rockdale County's millage rate was first suggested by Representative Clarence Vaughn on Oct. 21, 1965 and placed on the ballot that Dec. According to Smiley's research the Referendum was passed during a vote from 5.8 percent of the population, which accounted to 614people, which Smiley said was approved by 367 people.
"These 367 people have controlled the fate of the Rockdale County School System for 43 years," Smiley told the crowd.
The point explained was what the people at Epiphany Lutheran, and those the group is trying to get to sign a petition, where trying to reopen - another Referendum on the ballot to reopen voting as it was in 1965.
The rest of the forum was spent showing statistics on how Rockdale's high millage rate, third in Metro Atlanta, didn't generally correlate to an increase in education standards.
Smiley compared Rockdale County to Fayette, Douglas and Henry Counties, which all have similar population densities in showing things such as how much cost is spent per student on education, and how much money is brought in per millage rate and performance standards such as graduation rates and SAT scores.
Smiley told the crowd that they are "asking for he Board of Education to offer a Referendum to vote on whether or not to pay the inflated cost."