Dear Editor: In past years in Rockdale County, I have voted for County SPLOST’s. I also voted for the County HOST. Heck, I even voted twice for the E-SPLOST. But I have decided not to vote for it this time around. Let me tell you why.
In my working years at the CDC, we often conducted "stakeholder analyses" when considering a new program. We wanted to know which constituent groups had a vested interest in the new program — for it, against it or neutral. Now I am fairly certain that RCPS understands that their stakeholders are students, teachers, parents and their administrators. In my opinion, they have lost sight of another very important constituent group, and that is the ordinary taxpayer in Rockdale County. You know, the ones who pay the majority of the property taxes to support the schools! In fact, I would argue that the only time they really have any interest in ordinary county taxpayers is when they want us to vote for another round of E-SPLOST. That is once every six years or so.
RCPS has been repeatedly asked to televise school board meetings on cable television. I know Chairman Oden offered at least twice to assist RCPS with doing this and it fell on deaf ears. Also, do you know how they refer to you when you go to school board meetings? They call you a "guest." Collectively, ordinary county taxpayers are not guests; they are the bill payers!
Do you know that our property tax millage rate is now 30 percent above the state maximum millage rate for schools? That’s right — we pay 26 mills and the state maximum is 20 mills! In fact, your property tax bill due in November goes almost entirely to RCPS, not local county government. Check it out for yourself. Are our schools 30 percent better than the rest of the schools in the state with millage rates of 20 or lower?
Lastly, why is the Superintendent seemingly opposed to a citizens oversight committee to oversee the best use of all the E-SPLOST monies to be collected? The county has a committee made up largely of ordinary taxpayers who have done a marvelous job in overseeing several County SPLOST’s. Why not do the same thing? And I don’t mean an oversight committee made up of cronies of RCPS; I mean ordinary citizens who would volunteer.
The RCPS administration and the School Board may not like what I am writing, but I would suggest you at least consider what one ordinary taxpayer has to say.